Atlanta needs to replace Tony Gonzalez with a prototypical tight end. There are few guys out there who fit as well as C.J. Fiedorowicz does. The Falcons have already shown interest in the Iowa product, as reported by Jeff Arnold of ChicagoFootball.com.
Atlanta could just be doing their due diligence on Fiedorowicz. However, in looking at his overall profile, he seems to fit the perfect Falcons player both on and off the field. So let's take a look into how the Hawkeye tight end fits into the NFL.
University of Iowa
Combine/Pro Day Measurements
Height: 6'5-1/2" Weight: 265 pounds
Arm Length: 33" Hand Measurement: 10-1/4"
40-yard dash: 4.76 sec. 10-yard split: 1.64 sec.
20-yard shuttle: 4.26 sec. Three-cone Drill: 7.10 sec. Bench Reps: 25 reps
Vertical Jump: 31.5" Broad Jump: 9'8"
2013: 13 games played, 30 catches, 299 yards, six touchdowns
2012: 12 games played, 45 catches, 433 yards, one touchdown, one tackle
2011: 13 games played, 16 catches, 167 yards, three touchdowns
2010: 12 games played, 1 kick return, four yards, two tackles
Fiedorowicz is a nasty, tough-nosed blocker. He will drag his assignment around the field, opening rushing lanes with ease. He also has very good short-area quickness and can adjust his body very quickly to balls that are thrown errantly.
His hands are very strong, and he has the prototypical length to go up and get any ball thrown too high. He’s also one of the smartest players on the field every time he steps onto it. The Falcons could use him as an inline blocker or as a joker in their offense, too.
Despite a basketball background, he needs to get better at boxing out defenders with his long frames on short routes. On top of that, he doesn’t have the speed to stretch the seam properly. It makes it tough on him when he faces safeties and quicker linebackers.
A big issue that he has is fumbling. While he does catch the ball well, he tries to do too much and will hold the ball away from his body. If he can improve on his ball security, he start for an NFL team as their primary intermediate pass-catching tight end.
How does he fit the Comrade Filter?
Fiedorowicz is a hardworking team leader. He won the 2013 Coaches Appreciation Award at Iowa that’s given to a player for their team-first attitude and contributions on and off the field. He’s also never been arrested nor suspended for anything and should be a positive influence for the Falcons.
Fiedorowicz is someone with starting-level talent at tight end. However, his smaller issues will cause him to go later in the draft. Because he’s not a big-time playmaker, he should be available in the mid-rounds of the draft.
His fit at both inline and joker-style tight end should allow him more interest than most tight ends on the market. He will start at some point in his career, and his red-zone ability will be coveted around the league. Whoever drafts him will be a team that should take advantage of him in multiple offensive formations.
How he would fit into the Falcons' plans
If the Falcons wanted to bring in Fiedorowicz, they would have to spend at least their initial fourth-round pick on him. They could easily work him into the rotation at tight end with Levine Toilolo. However, he and Toilolo are very redundant, as they do a lot of the same things well.
The Falcons could enjoy having two similar guys, as it would allow them to vary their looks more and not telegraph run versus pass as much. If the Iowa product does wind up on the Falcons, Atlanta should have a solid rotation and can at least hold off for a season on getting a big-play guy there early.
Scott Carasik is a Featured Columnist for Bleacher Report. He covers the Atlanta Falcons, College Football, NFL and the NFL draft. He also runs DraftFalcons.com.