Per team insider D. Orlando Ledbetter, Falcons TE Levine Toilolo
is coming off an undisclosed injury. Ledbetter
also passed along word that the young TE hasn’t impressed in training
camp. At 6’8, 265 pounds, Toilolo
profiles as a plus blocker and red zone option. So it’s no surprise that Ledbetter says
30 receptions from him would be "awesome." Our
numbers come out a bit higher, but it’s clear that Toilolo will be a
TD-dependent fantasy option this season.
Falcons QB Matt Ryan likes what he's seen from TE Levine Toilolo this offseason. "Levine's been in here for a couple weeks prior to us starting (voluntary workouts), and that's been a good thing for us," Ryan said. "I think he learned so much from Tony [Gonzalez], though, the past two years — just the way that he prepares, taking care of his body. I think Levine looks as good as he has since he's been here. I think he's put on a little bit of weight and put on weight in the right spot, which is good." With Gonzo (supposedly) retired, Toilolo has a huge opportunity to emerge as Atlanta's lead TE in 2014. He hauled in 11 of 14 targets last year and scored twice. He's not nearly as athletic as Gonzalez but is a big-time red-zone threat at 6'8 and 265 pounds. Toilolo has some sleeper appeal in 2014 fantasy drafts.
With Tony Gonzalez set to retire, the Falcons have a gaping hole at TE. The team isn't yet ready to commit to Levine Toilolo as the one to fill that hole. The 2013 4th-round pick finished his rookie season with 11 catches on 15 targets for 55 yards and 2 TDs. He played just 18% of the offensive snaps and graded out poorly in run-blocking, according to Pro Football Focus. "Levine is going to be a good football player in this league," GM Thomas Dimitroff
said. "Where he ends up in terms of the depth chart will have a lot to
do with how we scheme and play our tight ends in the future." It sounds like Atlanta is only committing to the 6'8, 265-pound Toilolo as a red-zone option. He'll need to earn playing time beyond that. We'll see if the Falcons add a TE this offseason. Guys like Dennis Pitta, Jermichael Finley and Brandon Pettigrew are set to hit the free-agent market, while the draft features a couple elite talents in Eric Ebron and Jace Amaro. Atlanta could also opt to run more 3-WR sets in 2014 with Julio Jones, Roddy White, and Harry Douglas. Gonzalez is leaving behind an average of 121 targets over the past 5 seasons.
Falcons TE Levine Toilolo's role might be set to grow with the team's WR corps in shambles. The rookie has just 5 catches on 6 targets through his first 5 games, but 2 of those have gone for scores. At 6'8 and 265 pounds, he's certainly a capable red-zone target. We'll see if he can develop into more than that. "I think he's coming along like we anticipated," HC Mike Smith said of Toilolo. "I think he's going to be a very good threat, especially in the red zone. But, yes, [more
two-tight-end sets] would be an option for us as well." Toilolo's role will be worth monitoring in Week 7.
The Falcons believe 4th-round rookie TE Levine Toilolo can be a weapon inside the red zone. “Obviously, his efficiency in the redzone is well documented,” HC Mike Smith. “To throw the ball to a guy in the red zone, you want to make sure he’s going to catch the ball. I think that kind of says what kind of hands he has.” 10 of Toilolo's 50 career catches at Stanford went for scores. At 6'8, he's the tallest TE in the NFL. Toilolo is considered a block-first TE, though. And with Tony Gonzalez still hanging around, he won't be a fantasy option in 2013. Dynasty leagues with an open roster spot can stash him as we wait to see if he can develop into Gonzo's heir apparent.