Atlanta Falcons preseason goals: Determine if rookie DBs can be counted on in a starting role
This goal is more directed at the Falcons rookie draft picks, Darren Hall and Richie Grant.
The secondary has talent, just not proven production. The starter role is going to A.J. Terrell barring any disaster, but could we see a situation where Fabian Moreau gets demoted for Darren Hall?
In the end, odds are that Fabian Moreau will be the de-facto number two corner for the Falcons, but the early reports on Darren Hall have been glowing. He may even have a shot at the nickel corner position if Isaiah Oliver loses it.
The second rookie that will be in the spotlight is Richie Grant. Grant has the ability to take a starter role on the backend of the defense. It will just be about his ability to run the defense and distinguish route combinations. Duron Harmon and Erik Harris have the experience over Richie Grant, but Grant is the future at the position for the Falcons.
In a perfect world, he would take the spot and run with it. The preseason should show if he is ready to be a starter during his rookie season.
Other guys include Avery Williams, who has not been given too many snaps on defense, so his chances are next to nothing for now. Or an undrafted free agent who balls out for the defense.
Hopefully, between Darren Hall or Richie Grant, one can secure a starting spot because they have the highest potential to be stars.
Atlanta Falcons preseason goals: Find the most reliable punter and punt returner on the roster
When the Atlanta Falcons lost Sterling Hofrichter, it opened a huge competition between Cameron Nizialek and Dom Maggio.
It may not be a fun battle to watch, but it is important nonetheless. The competition will be about reliability in their execution. The team does not need the booming leg – though it would not hurt – but instead a reliable executor in making punts. That includes handling the snap, getting the punt off in time, and putting the punt in a good spot.
The depth chart shows Cameron Nizialek as the starter over Dom Maggio, but again it is an open competition with Hofrichter being done for the year.
The part is finding the player on the final roster who will not make mistakes at punt returner. The last thing this team needs is a player who fumbles the football away, losing the opportunity for this talented offense.
For the first preseason game against the Titans, Chris Rowland is listed as the punt returner with Avery Williams as the backup.
Right now the Avery Williams has a better shot at making the roster over Chris Rowland.
This comes down to the fact that the Atlanta Falcons drafted Williams, and that Williams is an extremely versatile, and talented player. He was able to block kicks, return kicks and punts, and play defense for Boise State in college. Arthur Smith has also mentioned how he may use him on offense.
Meanwhile, Chris Rowland finds himself in a battle for probably the last receiver spot on the roster. The team already has Calvin Ridley and Russell Gage who will make the team, while also having Olamide Zaccheaus, Tajae Sharpe, and Christian Blake who have a leg up on Rowland already.
Suffice to say that if Williams shows he can secure the ball on punts, he should end up being the punt returner for the team.