Atlanta Falcons preseason guide: What to watch
Aug 1, 2015; Atlanta, GA, USA; Atlanta Falcons wide receiver Justin Hardy (16) protects the ball from linebacker Nate Stupar (54) on the field during training camp at the Flowery Branch Training Facility. Mandatory Credit: Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports
For the Falcons to bounce back to the playoffs, they will need help from the rookie class. While expectations must be capped for first-year players, early selections will need to step up and adjust quickly.
Vic Beasley will be a key cog in the pass rush, and Jalen Collins could find himself in an important role in the defensive backfield.
This man is key to the Falcons’ success moving forward. His burst off the snap looks equally impressive at training camp as it does on college tape, and he will be looking to make an impact on every preseason snap he faces.
Beasley’s position on the roster isn’t under threat as a lot is invested in the Clemson all-time sack leader, but he no doubt be a player to watch when he suits up in preseason.
Jalen Collins will have a chance to shine in preseason. It can take a while for cornerbacks to adjust to the NFL, so patience is the key for the man out of LSU, but he will have opportunities in these games.
Right now it looks like Robert Alford will be the starter outside with Desmond Trufant in Week 1 of the regular season, but Collins will be hoping to become a starter at some point down the line.
He will have a chance to leave a good impression with Dan Quinn that he can not only make plays in practice, but also against NFL opposition in game situations.
Tevin Coleman has looked good so far in any first-team reps he has taken, and he will surely get an opportunity to replicate this in a preseason game situation.
We will get a feel for how comfortable Coleman is in the Falcons offense in preseason, and how close he is to overtaking Devonta Freeman as the starter. His performances in these games could be the difference between him being the lead back in Atlanta and sitting behind Freeman.
How much time will Justin Hardy see on the field? Where will he sit on the depth chart? Where is he most comfortable – in the slot? Outside? These questions will get some answers in the preseason contests.
Another player to watch out for is fifth-rounder Grady Jarrett. Jarrett was considered a steal by many when he was selected by the Falcons and he will get his first real opportunity on the field in preseason.
He will likely be on the defensive line rotation in 2015, but he will an opportunity to make an impact right away in front of Quinn.
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