As is every other team in the league, the Atlanta Falcons are looking for a few good men to help their cause. Here are three to keep an eye on.
We are a few weeks away from the start of training camp for the Atlanta Falcons, who get things started on July 26. Like every other NFL squad, there are some things to sort out before the regular season begins in September. Here we have chosen three players that have peaked our interest and bear keeping an eye (for various reasons) this summer.
TE Austin Hooper
This past season, Atlanta Falcons’ quarterback Matt Ryan was the NFL’s MVP thanks to a passing performance which saw him throw 38 TD passes (7 interceptions) to 13 different players. One of those recipients was Hooper, a third-round pick in 2016. The rookie tight end snared only 19 passes but totaled 271 yards (14.3 average) and three touchdowns in 14 games. He added six receptions for 65 yards and a score during the club’s postseason run, snaring a 19-yard TD pass from Ryan in Super Bowl LI. You could see him double his production this upcoming season.
DE Takkarist McKinley
The issues surrounding the Falcons’ pass rush are well-documented. Despite the fact that outside linebacker Vic Beasley led the NFL with 15.5 sacks in his second season in the league, Dan Quinn’s club dropped opposing quarterbacks only 34 times in 16 contests. Atlanta’s front office moved up a few spots in the first round to grab McKinley in April. He’s still on the mend following shoulder surgery earlier this year. Once he gets on the field, it will be interesting to see if he can be an ideal complement to Beasley.
KR/WR Andre Roberts
It’s safe to assume that the Atlanta Falcons are loaded when it comes to the wide receiver spot. With Julio Jones, Mohamed Sanu, Taylor Gabriel and Justin Hardy, the team is stacked. So why add free-agent wideout Andre Roberts this offseason? Yes, he is a capable pass-catcher. But he should fill the punt and kickoff return spots vacated by Eric Weems, who signed with the Tennessee Titans this offseason. He’s a nice offensive insurance policy who can contribute on special teams.
Russell S. Baxter covers the Atlanta Falcons for Pro Football Spot. You can follow him on Twitter at @baxfootballguru. Looking for more Falcons news and features? Like our Falcons Facebook page HERE and also follow @spot_falcons on Twitter.