Hayden Hurst/Laquon Treadwell
Both Hayden Hurst and Laquon Treadwell are newcomers to the Atlanta Falcons and will play a key role in 2020. Hurst and Treadwell are both hungry to bring new life into their NFL career. While the two newcomers are former first-round picks, neither player has fully lived up to their first-round expectations – one worse than the other.
Treadwell was viewed as this next great receiver in the NFL but his unreliability has found him a new team. While the expectations weren’t as grand for Hurst, his production really hasn’t been on par to where he was selected.
Not having a preseason for both players will hurt them when it comes to developing chemistry and adjusting to their new roles. Hurst wasn’t the full-time starter in Baltimore and Treadwell will need to climb a steep Atlanta Falcons receivers group in order to have the impact he wants. Each team has different nuances baked into their offense, and the preseason is key to getting into the proper rhythm of the offense.
Hurst, however, has it much easier than Treadwell as he is going to be the starter and has already received praise for his work ethic and is touted to be the Atlanta Falcons number one breakout player in 2020. So while missing preseason games isn’t detrimental to his overall success, it can allow for a much slower start than we’d like.
Russell Gage exceeded expectations when he was asked to take over the role that Mohamed Sanu left. Getting quality reps in actual games during the preseason would have further helped develop his play and help build chemistry with the quarterbacks on the roster. Matt Ryan praised Gage last offseason, claiming he was turning heads and becoming comfortable in the offense. I can only imagine he would have seen the same praise this preseason given the chances to showcase his abilities.
Russell Gage will play a key role with the Atlanta Falcons in 2020 as he can keep fellow young receiver Calvin Ridley honest. Now, this isn’t me saying that Ridley should fear his place on the team – that’s firmly the second spot at the receiver position – but with Gage nipping at his heels, it only adds welcomed pressure for Ridley to make true to his promise of breaking 1,000 yards.