Player News - Falcons

Date: Team: Pos:

Falcons signed South Carolina DT Gerald Dixon.

Dixon (6'3/327) made 27 starts on the interior line, managing 6.5 career tackles for loss, 1.5 sacks, and two blocked kicks. Purely a two-gap nose tackle, Dixon has a very limited ceiling without any hint of pass-rush ability as purely a one-dimensional run stuffer. Dixon's point-holding ability will earn him a place in the NFL, but his upside is basically Kyle Love.
Apr 30 - 9:11 PM

Falcons selected UCLA WR Devin Fuller with the No. 238 overall pick of the 2016 NFL draft.

Fuller (6'0/194) book ended Jordan Payton in the Bruins' receiver corps, parlaying 147 career catches into 1,327 yards (9.03 YPR) and ten touchdowns. After a disappointing senior season plagued by ankle woes and a concussion, Fuller helped himself by blazing 4.39 with a 10-foot-4 broad jump at UCLA's Pro Day. Fuller's college track record underwhelms, but he's been likened to Nate Washington by Rookie Scouting Portfolio's Matt Waldman for his professional playing style and speed to win downfield. He's worth a look in camp and will get it with this late selection.
Apr 30 - 6:09 PM

Falcons selected San Jose State OG Wes Schweitzer with the No. 195 overall pick of the 2016 NFL draft.

Aside from the fact that he's listed at 6-foot-4, 300 pounds, we know very little about this Mountain West prospect. Schweitzer posted decent numbers at this Pro Day, and earned second-team All Mountain West honors as a senior. His best-case scenario for 2016 is probably the practice squad.
Apr 30 - 4:30 PM

Falcons selected Minnesota OLB De'Vondre Campbell with the No. 115 overall pick in the 2016 NFL draft.

Campbell (6'4/232) spent three seasons with the Gophers after a JUCO transfer, amassing 16 career tackles for loss across 27 starts. Muscle bound and body beautiful, Campbell had an excellent Combine with a 4.58 forty, 34-inch vertical and 9-foot-8 broad jump. While Campbell looks the part, his play recognition and instincts are severely lacking on game tape. He's a talented, high-ceiling special teams/outside linebacker prospect with a lot to learn.
Apr 30 - 1:05 PM

Falcons selected Stanford TE Austin Hooper with the No. 81 overall pick of the 2016 NFL draft.

Hooper (6'4/254) left Stanford as a redshirt sophomore, finishing his career with 74 catches for 937 yards (12.7 YPR) and eight TDs. He was a first-team All-Pac 12 pick in 2015 and impressed further at the Combine, clocking 4.72 with a 33-inch vertical and running back-like 7.00 three-cone time. Although Hooper played only two college seasons, he knows how to block and is aided by long arms (33 3/4") and huge hands (10 5/8"). He has the potential to grow into a long-term every-down tight end, and Hooper has a clear path to playing time with the Falcons.
Apr 29 - 10:31 PM

Falcons selected LSU LB Deion Jones with the No. 52 overall pick in the 2016 NFL draft.

Jones (6'1/222) spent his first three college seasons as a reserve and special teamer before taking over as a starter in his senior year and leading the Tigers in tackles (100). Although he made only 12 career starts, Jones amassed 21 tackles for loss and five sacks. After running 4.59 in Indy, Jones made NFL mouths water with a 4.38 at LSU's Pro Day. Jones is undersized and relatively inexperienced, but he should earn early snaps on special teams and could eventually push to start after adding good weight. Jones is a high-floor prospect with sneaky upside. He adds speed to a Falcons defense that was among the slowest in football last year.
Apr 29 - 8:52 PM

Falcons selected Florida SS Keanu Neal with the No. 17 overall pick in the 2016 draft.

Neal (6'1/211) went pro after three seasons at UF, tallying 4.5 career tackles for loss, four interceptions, and two forced fumbles as a 19-game starter. Although Neal managed a 4.62 forty in Indy, his explosive athleticism was displayed in the vertical (38") and broad (11') jumps. A vicious hitter, Neal can physically set the tone and possesses good enough movement skills and range to be functional in pass coverage. He'll be utilized a la Kam Chancellor in Dan Quinn's Seahawks-style defense.
Apr 28 - 10:09 PM

Falcons exercised LCB Desmond Trufant's fifth-year option for 2017.

As expected. Trufant will earn $8.026 million in 2017. The 25-year-old enjoyed a breakout year in 2015, earning PFF's 13th-highest cornerback grade while attending his first Pro Bowl. Trufant has never missed a game in his three-year NFL career. Picking up his fifth-year option gives the two sides more time to work on an extension.
Apr 22 - 3:26 PM

Falcons re-signed RG Chris Chester.

Chester, 33, is recovering from shoulder surgery and found no takers in free agency after a poor season as the Falcons' starting right guard. Chester currently tops the depth chart at that position again, but Atlanta seems likely to address the guard position in next week's draft.
Apr 20 - 2:34 PM

Matt Ryan said the team needs to improve its offense inside the red zone this season.

The Falcons finished 18th in red zone scoring last year, down from sixth in 2014. Atlanta certainly has the tools to be a force inside the red zone. Julio Jones is a nightmare to defend while Atlanta's running game was much improved with Devonta Freeman leading the charge. Ryan said he's more comfortable in OC Kyle Shanahan's offense after going through a tough adjustment period in 2015.
Apr 19 - 2:25 PM

Matt Ryan said sophomore WR Justin Hardy stood out at his player-organized passing camp in Miami.

"He just looked so much more comfortable with all things," Ryan said. "He looked comfortable with himself; comfortable with his ability. I thought he was in great shape and had a really good three days down there." Coach Dan Quinn said Hardy still needs to work on his ability to separate from man coverage, but it is clear the No. 3 receiver job is his to lose. Even so, Hardy is unlikely to become a viable fantasy option.
Source: ESPN
Apr 14 - 11:25 AM

Falcons coach Dan Quinn said sophomore WR Justin Hardy needs to work on his ability to separate from man coverage.

"As an inside player you want to beat man-to-man some way on third down," Quinn said. "That ability to separate and beat man-to-man is going to be an important part of his development." The Falcons brought in Mohamed Sanu to help replace Roddy White, but the No. 3 receiver job is wide open. Atlanta is hoping Hardy will seize the opportunity. Even if he wins the job, Hardy is unlikely to be a fantasy factor.
Apr 12 - 10:40 AM

NFL suspended Falcons CB Jalen Collins four games for violating the league's policy on PEDs.

Collins appeared in all 16 games as a rookie, but failed to capitalize when given opportunities to join the starting lineup. PFF charged Collins with a 98.7 passer rating allowed on throws into his coverage. Last year's 42nd overall draft pick, Collins' one-month ban is a blow to his early-career development.
Apr 8 - 4:23 PM

Falcons re-signed RT Ryan Schraeder to a one-year, $2.553 million contract.

Schraeder looked for offers after being hit with a second-round tender by the Falcons, but it was always unlikely he would find a team willing to give up a second-round pick for his services. Schraeder has played extremely well the last two seasons, and the Falcons should look to lock him up to a long-term deal in the near future.
Source: ESPN
Apr 7 - 12:17 PM

Falcons coach Dan Quinn said Tevin Coleman and Devonta Freeman make a "unique combination."

Quinn said Coleman needs to prove he "can be available" after suffering through a hamstring injury, broken ribs and a concussion as a rookie, but he remains excited about Coleman's potential. "In terms of him like running in the outside zone, seeing his reads and making his cuts, he was really on point," Quinn said. "He and Free together make a pretty unique combination." GM Thomas Dimitroff said at the Combine he saw the backfield as a "tandem," and it sounds like Quinn feels the same. OC Kyle Shanahan has traditionally been a one-back coach, but it seems likely Coleman steals some early-down work from Freeman this season.
Apr 7 - 9:35 AM


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