Five Atlanta Falcons who could see expanded roles in 2016
1) Justin Hardy – WR
The Atlanta Falcons went into the 2016 offseason with a ton of issues to their rather depleted receiving corps. A once dominant unit that featured Julio Jones, Roddy White and Harry Douglas was scrapped which left a lot to be desired.
The Falcons cut Douglas in Dan Quinn’s first offseason as head coach in 2015 and cut White in this year’s offseason. As a result, the Falcons’ hand was forced to go out and add a receiver to the roster and they did just that by signing Mohamed Sanu to a 5-year deal.
While adding a guy like Sanu is good for depth, the unit is still not as elite as it used to be and that will mean second-year receiver Justin Hardy will likely get a much bigger role in 2016. Hardy was inactive for much of the season which came as a big surprise to many, but finally started to get some playing time towards the end of the season.
Hardy wound up catching just 21 passes for 194 yards and did not find the end zone. Hardy averaged just 9.2 yards per reception and never caught more than four passes in a game. Hardy’s best game came on the road against the Jacksonville Jaguars in which he caught three passes for 36 yards.
Hardy will be used predominantly out of the slot position in 2016 and with a year under his belt in Kyle Shanahan’s offense, Hardy could be in for a very good season in year two.
Next: Five second-round options for the Atlanta Falcons
Stay tuned to Blogging Dirty for all the latest Atlanta Falcons draft news and analysis. Click here to join the conversation on Twitter with the staff.