A look at the stars of the first weekend of 2021 Falcons training camp

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The Falcons are back in training today, and Kevin Knight will provide us with updates from Flowery Branch. Until things get off to a serious start, let’s talk about who impressed watchers at the start.

As always, there are a few things you should keep in mind before you start to congratulate these players:

  • These are padless and contactless workouts so some players are going to stand out now because of their speed or skill which might just struggle in padded workouts and live matches. You shouldn’t give up hope if (or more likely when) this is happening because players who are worth their salt will show progress as August progresses and they have to deal with more contact and an entirely different squad.
  • Standing out now is good for these guys, it’s good even considering that every positive impression on the coaching staff is a plus, but no one gets a job based on what they do. do during the first few days of training camp. They could to lose one if they’re the 90th man on the list and Arthur Smith suddenly craves another tight end, but nonetheless.
  • This year, I’m ready to entertain the idea that it will all matter a little more, as a new coaching staff who champions your place on the roster will have fewer attachments and preferences for them. reserves that Dan Quinn and his company. done after five years. You don’t have to get carried away, but if you want to put a little more weight in some of them and live dangerously, go for it.

Without further ado, the stars are courtesy of Adnan, Kevin and the gang.


RB Javian Hawkins / Qadree Ollison

Mike Davis is perched atop the depth chart as a running back, and Cordarelle Patterson is locked in a roster spot as the team’s kick returner, reserve running back and possibly wide receiver. wide part-time. The depth chart beyond those two is wide open, but there are two obvious candidates for the numbers to be two places on the list.

The first is Javian Hawkins, an undrafted free agent and early fan favorite. The Louisville product is the fastest returning to camp and has shown that speed, bringing him home several times early in practice. Hawkins has game-changing speed in a backfield that mostly features well-balanced bruising, which should help him secure a spot on the roster. I expect him to start the year on the 53-man roster.

Ollison also made his mark, making a few contested captures and showing off his powerful running style, a style that should serve him well as he auditions for a preseason role. One of the most confusing things about the Dirk Koetter 2.0 era in Atlanta was the team that drafted Ollison and then essentially put him on the back burner despite the shaky running game the Falcons bragged about in the past. over the past two years, but he could find his place in a bigger role under Arthur. Smith as Davis’ understudy, especially if he shows good hands in the coming weeks.

WR Olamide Zacchéaus / Austin Trammell

If we were to call up the competition now, I think we would see Zacchéaus as the team’s slots catcher in 2021. That role might not be as big this year as it has been in years past – we’ll see more than two tight ends together and Russell Gage can steal a few slots clichés while a Frank Darby or Tajae Sharpe kicks outside, but his deadly speed makes him an intriguing player there – low. He makes his case from the start and is one of the most experienced candidates for the job.

Trammell is another player Kevin and Adnan have noticed in the camp so far, as he shows off his wheels. Considering he’s been there as a returner and has advantages as a receiver in a year where few players have guaranteed spots, it will be worth watching to see if he can maintain it as the sledge gets more difficult.

Honestly, you can also cast Chris Rowland here for some awesome takes, and he’s right in the mix for the punt comeback gig with Trammell and Avery Williams. The final roles of wide receiver spot and punt return will be decided largely by the action of the preseason game, in all likelihood, so stay tuned for that.

TE Kyle Pitts

Did we expect Pitts to stand out at training camp this year? Yes, I’m sure every fan expects their first player, especially the one who made the Top 5, to perform. It’s still incredibly exciting and a little relieved when that first player lives up to expectations, however.

The expectations for Pitts are very high, and he explained why it is this weekend. On Saturday in particular, he showed how dangerous he was with the ball in his hands when he pulled Duron Harmon out of his shoes in an 11v11 game, and he displayed his catch radius when almost pulled off a ridiculously reverse pass that was completely behind him. His movement is so fluid for someone this tall, and it was even more impressive to see in person.

TE Hayden Hurst

Hurst feels like a forgotten man on this attack after the team selected Pitts as the most drafted TE of all time, but I wouldn’t be so quick to overlook Hayden as a contributor. We all know he’ll be on the court thanks to the 2-TE sets Arthur Smith loves to use.

Hurst showed up to camp about 15 pounds lighter on the coaches’ recommendation, weighing in at a brisk 250. He looked absolutely jacked, and it wasn’t just for the show. Hurst got a lot of points with the team’s first attack and did a great job picking up yards after the capture. If he manages to take a step forward, Atlanta’s offensive unit will be all the more dangerous.

OL Matt Hennessy

It’s hard to tell anyone who runs away with competitions along the offensive line except Jake Matthews and Chris Lindstrom, who are clearly well established as starters. Hennessy certainly pleads his case at first, appearing comfortable and moving well while serving as a clear first-team cross at the start. Since his main competitor, Drew Dalman, seems to have some work to do, I will continue to draw Hennessy as a starter. A year spent being Alex Mack’s understudy and facing the Chiefs in particular probably helped him get here.

Again, offensive and defensive linemen in particular will be worth a closer watch once the pads are activated and contact is cleared, but Hennessy is the obvious favorite for the job right now.

CB Darren Room

If you break a few passes meant for Kyle Pitts, it will likely grab attention, given that many eyes at camp will be on Kyle Pitts.

As Kevin noted, these were Hall’s biggest plays, but they underscore the kind of aggressiveness and fearlessness he plays with, two things that obviously attracted the Falcons. If you’re going to challenge Pitts in practice, you’ll have no trouble challenging smaller, less physical players in play situations, which are the kind of Hall catcher figures to face regularly if he hits a shot. and ends up playing. a lot in the slot this year. Even though he’s just a reserve, the team’s hopes for him are obviously high and Hall shows early on he’s ready to compete.

CB Chris Williamson

Lots of cornerbacks on this list which hopefully bodes well for the season ahead. Williamson was a 2020 Giants seventh-round pick and spent most of the season on the team’s practice squad, getting cut in December and signing a reserve / future contract with the Falcons in January 2021. He has arrived strong at training camp so far, attracting the attention of coaches.

As Arthur Smith said, per Scott Bair at AtlantaFalcons.com:

“Chris keeps showing up,” Smith said, “and still does today.”

There won’t be many free spots at the cornerback, not with AJ Terrell stranded, rookies Hall and Avery Williams very likely to stay and Isaiah Oliver, Fabian Moreau and Kendall Sheffield all pushing for spots, but if Williamson continues to impress it I’ll have at least one track inside a practice squad location.

CB AJ Terrell

AJ Terrell has had a pretty good rookie season and looks set for a second breakout campaign. I (Adnan) came away impressed with his technique, his defensive instinct and his ability as a ball peddler this weekend. On Saturday, he had textbook cover against Russell Gage one-on-one in an 11-on-11 drill where he cut the court for the receiver, used the sideline as an assist defender, then came in for. push back the pass at the last moment.

On Sunday, Terrell used the sideline again to help him break another pass before undermining and aggressively attacking the ball in an interception that would have been a score in a live game. I am excited about Terrell’s prospects of becoming a closing corner.

Head Coach Arthur Smith

This is Smith’s first rodeo as a head coach and I (Adnan) was heartened by the vibe I (again Adnan) felt at the very first training camp he hosted. The players seemed energetic and inspired, there was a lot more 11v11 drills than I had seen when Dan Quinn was in charge and Smith (along with Terry Fontenot) even took the time to address the fans who showed up on Saturday morning for what was a very classy and endearing gesture.

It also appears that the emphasis is much more on discipline than under the previous regime. On several occasions, players were sent out to run a round after committing penalties, and the entire offensive unit was even sent out for a round at the start of Saturday’s practice following a mistake. of pre-snap they made. Each player was lined up to run sprints at the end of training on Sunday, as conditioning is also emphasized.


If you were at Flowery Branch this weekend, let us know who else made your list!


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