Aug 1, 2015; Atlanta, GA, USA; Atlanta Falcons head coach Dan Quinn works with defensive end Vic Beasley (44) on the field during training camp at the Flowery Branch Training Facility. Mandatory Credit: Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports
Who to watch
It’s hardly surprising that all three of my players to watch are rookies. Each player has a ton of potential and I’m excited to see their development in Atlanta. In the preseason opener, we get to see their first impressions in an NFL game.
Vic Beasley Jr.
This is the big one. The key acquisition the Falcons made this offseason. Beasley is an incredibly gifted athlete and his burst off the snap is incredible. How can he disrupt the Titans’ offensive line and how often will he get to the quarterback?
We won’t see too much from a scheme point of view, but we’ll see the raw ability he has and how he translates his skills into a game.
I’m excited about Justin Hardy. Expectations need to be limited for the rookie, and he will be fighting for playing time in the regular season with experienced guys like Leonard Hankerson and Devin Hester.
This is his time to shine. Hardy could become Matt Ryan’s best friend in the slot, although he’s shown his ability in the deep passing game in camp so far. Hardy isn’t the quickest of receivers, but he’s a sharp route runner and this will be on full display.
Jalen Collins has struggled somewhat in camp, but this can be expected from a rookie cornerback. He’s getting to grips with the scheme, but his execution has been off to this point.
Nonetheless, the rookie has a bright future in Atlanta and this game will give him experience to build from. It’s going to take a huge preseason effort for him to leapfrog Robert Alford on the depth chart, but he can certainly leave a good impression with Dan Quinn.
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