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Five Thoughts After Falcons Rookie Minicamp


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Five thoughts after Falcons rookie minicamp
Vaughn McClure, ESPN Atlanta Falcons reporter

The Atlanta Falcons concluded rookie minicamp camp Sunday with a closed practice. Although not much was revealed during the 60 combined minutes available to the media on Friday and Saturday, here are five thoughts based on some observations:

Seventh-round pick Akeem King, a cornerback from San Jose State, is a player to keep an eye on. Just based on drills, he seems to have solid footwork and just looked like a legit NFL defensive back. Plus King, who played safety for the Spartans last season, is sure to get better when he's asked to go up against elite wide receiver Julio Jones in practice. King was recruited to college as a wide receiver himself, so that background could work to his advantage. Not to mention King should get plenty of opportunities to prove his value this offseason with second-round pick Jalen Collins still recovering from foot surgery.

King mentioned how much it helps to have a position coach who went through the NFL grind in Marquand Manuel, who played eight years in the league at safety before concluding his career in 2009. Manuel should help improve all the defensive backs, but he should particularly be beneficial to Robert Alford. The third-year player has all the ability in the world, but needs to improve his technique -- especially when it comes to his hands. Alford picked up his share of defensive penalties last season. Manuel is very hands-on with his coaching approach and surely will ride Alford until Alford gets it right. Alford already is getting an earful from one former NFL safety; close friend Ryan Clark, an ESPN analyst who has trained Alford this offseason.

Pass-rusher Vic Beasley's impact won't be just on Sundays for the Falcons. The rookie first-round draft pick's quick first step off the edge should help all the offensive tackles improve. Beasley probably didn't have much competition during rookie minicamp based on the marginal group of offensive linemen on the field. It should be at least a little tougher in organized activities and at mandatory minicamp (June 16-18) as he goes up against guys such as Lamar Holmes, Ryan Schraeder and perhaps Jake Matthews (if Matthews recovers from surgery to repair a Lisfranc ligament tear in his foot). Practicing against Beasley should help the tackles prepare for guys such as Connor Barwin (Eagles), Jason Pierre-Paul (Giants) and J.J. Watt (Texans) in the first four games of the season.

I have to agree with NFL.com analyst Bucky Brooks on this one: third-round pick Tevin Coleman's running style is ideal for offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan's outside-zone blocking scheme, which emphasizes a one-cut-and-go mentality for the running backs. Some folks tried to argue otherwise, but Coleman's explosive, big-play ability is an asset for any offensive scheme. Judging by watching Coleman closely during drills, he showed no signs of being limited by December surgery on his right big toe. Coleman and Devonta Freeman have the potential to be a dynamic duo. Time didn't allow media members to see how Coleman caught the ball at rookie camp.

The Falcons took every necessary precaution after undrafted safety Terell Floyd from Louisville fell on the field because of the extreme heat. He was taken to the hospital as a precaution and is expected to be back on the field sometime this week after suffering from dehydration. The extreme heat in Atlanta always is a concern, and you wonder how much time the Falcons will spend in their indoor practice facility this summer to help beat the heat.

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Monday, May 11, 2015
Five thoughts after Falcons rookie minicamp

By Vaughn McClure

The Atlanta Falcons concluded rookie minicamp camp Sunday with a closed practice. Although not much was revealed during the 60 combined minutes available to the media on Friday and Saturday, here are five thoughts based on some observations:

  • Seventh-round pick Akeem King, a cornerback from San Jose State, is a player to keep an eye on. Just based on drills, he seems to have solid footwork and just looked like a legit NFL defensive back. Plus King, who played safety for the Spartans last season, is sure to get better when he's asked to go up against elite wide receiver Julio Jones in practice. King was recruited to college as a wide receiver himself, so that background could work to his advantage. Not to mention King should get plenty of opportunities to prove his value this offseason with second-round pick Jalen Collins still recovering from foot surgery.

LtN93.AuSt.76.jpg

  • King mentioned how much it helps to have a position coach who went through the NFL grind in Marquand Manuel, who played eight years in the league at safety before concluding his career in 2009. Manuel should help improve all the defensive backs, but he should particularly be beneficial to Robert Alford. The third-year player has all the ability in the world, but needs to improve his technique -- especially when it comes to his hands. Alford picked up his share of defensive penalties last season. Manuel is very hands-on with his coaching approach and surely will ride Alford until Alford gets it right. Alford already is getting an earful from one former NFL safety; close friend Ryan Clark, an ESPN analyst who has trained Alford this offseason.
  • Pass-rusher Vic Beasley's impact won't be just on Sundays for the Falcons. The rookie first-round draft pick's quick first step off the edge should help all the offensive tackles improve. Beasley probably didn't have much competition during rookie minicamp based on the marginal group of offensive linemen on the field. It should be at least a little tougher in organized activities and at mandatory minicamp (June 16-18) as he goes up against guys such as Lamar Holmes, Ryan Schraeder and perhaps Jake Matthews (if Matthews recovers from surgery to repair a Lisfranc ligament tear in his foot). Practicing against Beasley should help the tackles prepare for guys such as Connor Barwin (Eagles), Jason Pierre-Paul (Giants) and J.J. Watt (Texans) in the first four games of the season.

150508_BeasleyCamp_JA_CP.jpg

  • I have to agree with NFL.com analyst Bucky Brooks on this one: third-round pick Tevin Coleman's running style is ideal for offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan's outside-zone blocking scheme, which emphasizes a one-cut-and-go mentality for the running backs. Some folks tried to argue otherwise, but Coleman's explosive, big-play ability is an asset for any offensive scheme. Judging by watching Coleman closely during drills, he showed no signs of being limited by December surgery on his right big toe. Coleman and Devonta Freeman have the potential to be a dynamic duo. Time didn't allow media members to see how Coleman caught the ball at rookie camp.

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  • The Falcons took every necessary precaution after undrafted safety Terell Floyd from Louisville fell on the field because of the extreme heat. He was taken to the hospital as a precaution and is expected to be back on the field sometime this week after suffering from dehydration. The extreme heat in Atlanta always is a concern, and you wonder how much time the Falcons will spend in their indoor practice facility this summer to help beat the heat.

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I am starting to get a good vibe about this Akeem King kid - y'never know - could end up being a starter and a player under Quinn. McClure's report up above sounds promising on the kid. Doubt he becomes a starter - but if he makes the team and is back-up press corner or free safety - then it was a good pick.

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I am starting to get a good vibe about this Akeem King kid - y'never know - could end up being a starter and a player under Quinn. McClure's report up above sounds promising on the kid. Doubt he becomes a starter - but if he makes the team and is back-up press corner or free safety - then it was a good pick.

Yea I hear his name popping up a bunch. Could be a sleeper pick. I just don't get how/why we are focusing so much on CB... we literally (according to the coaches) have: Trufant, Alford, Collins, Southward, King, Allen, and Phillip Adams all competing at CB. Some of those just have to shake out to safety IMO...

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Yea I hear his name popping up a bunch. Could be a sleeper pick. I just don't get how/why we are focusing so much on CB... we literally (according to the coaches) have: Trufant, Alford, Collins, Southward, King, Allen, and Phillip Adams all competing at CB. Some of those just have to shake out to safety IMO...

all you have to do is look at Seattle defense - most of the greatness of that defense comes from the players they run on the back-end. They are big and they are long - Falcons secondary was not suited for Quinn's style of play when he got here - our corners were small and were not really the "press-man" type of players.

Quinn is emphasizing the new bigger corners and safeties so he can play his "Seattle-brand" of defense.

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I love the fact that we finally have hands-on coaches that can teach these young guys--and the vets--how it's done. We should see much improvement in the team's fundamentals on the field this year.

agreed. I'm not sure in the Falcons 49 years of existence, we have ever had a defensive coach with as much teaching ability as Dan Quinn. Leeman Bennett/Jerry Glanville's "Gritz Blitz" defenses were rather gimmicky - I believe 1977 was the last year the Falcons led the NFL in defense - 38 years ago.

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all you have to do is look at Seattle defense - most of the greatness of that defense comes from the players they run on the back-end. They are big and they are long - Falcons secondary was not suited for Quinn's style of play when he got here - our corners were small and were not really the "press-man" type of players.

Quinn is emphasizing the new bigger corners and safeties so he can play his "Seattle-brand" of defense.

Trufant and Moore are not considered small.

Interesting though that our two DBs from this draft are almost exactly the same physically.

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Trufant and Moore are not considered small.

Interesting though that our two DBs from this draft are almost exactly the same physically.

nickel defense calls for 5 secondary players. You named two - while Moore and Trufant are not "small" - neither are considered on the larger side either.

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Sherman is 6'2

Maxwell is 6'1

Lane is 6'0

ET3 is 5'10

Bambam Kam Is 6'4

Trufant is 6'

Alford is 5'10

Moore is 6'

So Gdawg is correct that we didn't have Seattle sized secondary until after the draft

tru 6'

Collins 6'1

Alf 5'10(Alf at safety would be interesting)

south 6'2

Moore 6'0

king 6'2

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Sherman is 6'2

Maxwell is 6'1

Lane is 6'0

ET3 is 5'10

Bambam Kam Is 6'4

Trufant is 6'

Alford is 5'10

Moore is 6'

So Gdawg is correct that we didn't have Seattle sized secondary until after the draft

tru 6'

Collins 6'1

Alf 5'10(Alf at safety would be interesting)

south 6'2

Moore 6'0

king 6'2

I still wish we had Grimes, (not his wife per say) it would be fun to see how he'd do under a guy like Quinn.

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all you have to do is look at Seattle defense - most of the greatness of that defense comes from the players they run on the back-end. They are big and they are long - Falcons secondary was not suited for Quinn's style of play when he got here - our corners were small and were not really the "press-man" type of players.

Quinn is emphasizing the new bigger corners and safeties so he can play his "Seattle-brand" of defense.

so by that logic are you saying alford and tru are getting replaced huh?
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Ppl are looking far to hard in the actually nubers of player height.. quinn does like size and lenghth, but also has stated that good football players come in all sizes, so just cause a guy may not be the prototype size doesn't mean he wnt play.

Im still confident if alford, if he got his hands problem taken care of with clark this offseason.

I dnt see anyone beating him out.

I dnt even need to mention tru, thats just ******** to thik anyone taking his spot. hes our #1 cb

Edited by madman88
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so by that logic are you saying alford and tru are getting replaced huh?

Sometimes talent trumps scheme-fit and Trufant's talent definitely seems to do just that.

He has decent height (6'0") but he has short arms (31 1/4") and is a little light at 190lbs. - so basically the only thing Trufant has going for him w/ regards to size is his height - he also has smallish (elf-like) hands at 8 5/8" (which probably explains why he drops so many INT chances).

Alford is even smaller and less talented so I believe the drafting of Jalen Collins was to get a talented super-sized corner who could play the press and boundary. Trufant will be fine in Quinn's system because he has upper-level talent. Alford is not crap - I like his aggressive ball-hawking style but he is 5'10" so he is at an even bigger disadvantage playing the tall trees (Vincent Jackson, Mike Evans, Kelvin Benjamin, Devin Funchess, etc). While I believe Alford CAN play the boundary, he is probably better suited to play inside - somebody has to play inside.

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Sometimes talent trumps scheme-fit and Trufant's talent definitely seems to do just that.

He has decent height (6'0") but he has short arms (31 1/4") and is a little light at 190lbs. - so basically the only thing Trufant has going for him w/ regards to size is his height - he also has smallish (elf-like) hands at 8 5/8" (which probably explains why he drops so many INT chances).

Alford is even smaller and less talented so I believe the drafting of Jalen Collins was to get a talented super-sized corner who could play the press and boundary. Trufant will be fine in Quinn's system because he has upper-level talent. Alford is not crap - I like his aggressive ball-hawking style but he is 5'10" so he is at an even bigger disadvantage playing the tall trees (Vincent Jackson, Mike Evans, Kelvin Benjamin, Devin Funchess, etc). While I believe Alford CAN play the boundary, he is probably better suited to play inside - somebody has to play inside.

i remeber in they rookie year Alford strapped down Vincent Jackson. Deflected his touchdown catch and looked back at him like *Get Big* i dont remember last season doe
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It may sound like a cliche but I think we may have gotten the biggest steal in the draft"offense wise"

with Coleman.I've been watching all of the video on this kid I can find and look's like he is a perfect

fit for the zone blocking scheme, it takes a lot of pressure off of a young back in as much it doesn't

require him to have to get to cerebral, grab the ball make your cut and go, seems to me it will give him

a lot more time to work on pass protection" blitz pickups" and adjusting to audibles.Gonna be interesting

to see how we get him involved in the passing game, if he can handle catching the ball on screens and

swing passes" he could be the kind of back we haven't had since William Andrews.I hope.

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Sherman only has 2inches on Tru. While both are the same weight.

only 2 inches? like that does not matter. there is a difference between a 6'2" WR and a 6'0" WR - just like there is a difference in CBs. Also, arm length, etc. - it all matters - maybe 3 or 4 times a year those jump balls in the endzone - that height, length, vert - makes a difference from a batted pass to a completion and a TD. sometimes even if you are short w/ a high vert, you don't have the time to wind-up for a high jump.

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