Hooper said Wednesday that he looks forward to working with new tight ends coach Mike Mularkey in 2019, D. Orlando Ledbetter of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports.
Fresh off his first career Pro Bowl season, Hooper's prospects remain bright heading into 2019 with Mularkey stepping in as the position group coach. Now studying under a former NFL tight end and coach with 14 combined years of head coach and offensive coordinator experience, Hooper is primed to excel under Mularkey in his fourth pro campaign. The 24-year-old Hooper finds his career traveling along an upward trajectory, coming off a 71-reception, 660-yard year after averaging 34 catches and 398.5 yards per season between 2016 and 2017.
Hooper recorded the only touchdown for the NFC during Sunday's Pro Bowl, hauling in a 20-yard Dak Prescott touchdown pass in a 26-7 loss to the AFC.
Hooper capped his breakout 2018 campaign with a shutout-preventing touchdown catch around the nine-minute mark of the fourth quarter Sunday. Despite a plethora of options in the Falcons' passing attack, the third-year tight end obliterated previous career highs in targets, receptions and receiving yards by counts of 23, 22 and 134, respectively. Perhaps the most impressive aspect of Hooper's improvement this season was his efficiency, as he hauled in 80.7 percent of his targets, best of all qualified NFL tight ends.
Hooper was named to the NFC Pro Bowl roster Tuesday after Zach Ertz withdrew from the event, Vaughn McClure of ESPN.com reports.
Hooper enjoyed his best pro campaign by a mile in 2018, establishing new career highs in receptions (71), receiving yards (660) and touchdowns (four) en route to his first career Pro Bowl nod. As a reliable middle-of-the-field target for Matt Ryan, Hooper found himself well inside starting range among fantasy tight ends, but a plethora of options in the Falcons' passing attack prevented him from breaking into elite territory at the position. With top wideouts Julio Jones, Calvin Ridley and Mohamed Sanu all set to return, Hooper appears poised to once again provide starting value, but it remains unlikely that he'll break into the Travis Kelce, George Kittle, Ertz tier of fantasy tight ends.
Hooper caught five of six targets, accounting for 67 receiving yards during Sunday's 34-32 win against the Buccaneers.
Hooper concluded his breakout 2018 campaign on a high note against Tampa Bay's porous secondary, producing his seventh five-plus reception performance of the year, and accounting for his greatest receiving output over his past 10 outings. Now entering the final season of his rookie contract, Hooper has proven capable of delivering low-end TE1 production, having finished fourth among tight ends in receptions (71) and obliterating career highs in receiving yards and touchdowns while operating as a reliable middle of the field target for quarterback Matt Ryan.
Hooper caught both of his targets for 36 total yards during Sunday's 24-10 win over the Panthers.
Hooper helped tie up the game in the second quarter with a 32-yard reception, setting up a Matt Bryan field goal. It was an otherwise quiet outing for Hooper who has just three games this season with fewer than three receptions, but two of them have come over the past two weeks. He'll have a chance to rebound in a big way in the season finale against a weak Tampa Bay pass defense against which Hooper collected nine catches for 71 yards and a touchdown in a Week-6 win.