D. Orlando Ledbetter of the AJC reports that the Falcons have conducted interviews already at the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis with two top tight end prospects and an offensive lineman. The two tight ends are Oklahoma State’s Brandon Pettigrew and South Carolina’s Jared Cook. The offensive lineman is Georgia Tech tackle Andrew Gardner.
The Falcons have been looking to upgrade their tight end position for some time, even making an attempt to acquire Kansas City Chiefs tight end Tony Gonzalez back in October according to the Wisconsin State Journal. Combined last year, the team’s top two tight ends Justin Peelle and Ben Hartsock combined for 18 catches. Peelle is a free agent and both players are known primarily as blockers.
Pettigrew caught 42 passes last year at Oklahoma State. He is widely considered the top tight end in this year’s draft class and is billed as a first round pick, making him a possibility for the Falcons with their top selection (24th overall).
Cook is one of the better tight ends in the class as well and most indicate him as a potential second round target. He caught 37 passes this past year with the Gamecocks.
Scott Wright of DraftCountdown.com has Pettigrew and Cook billed as the No. 1 and No. 2 tight end prospects, respectively, in this year’s draft.
Gardner was a four-year starter at left tackle for the Yellow Jackets. He suffered a shoulder injury this past October, and missed the rest of the season. He is rated as the 19th best offensive tackle in the class by Scott Wright of DraftCountdown.com.