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Geneaut

Calvin Ridley stands tall in Falcons' 2018 rookie class

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http://www.espn.com/blog/nflnation/post/_/id/292341/calvin-ridley-stands-tall-in-falcons-2018-rookie-class

The Atlanta Falcons had a down season at 7-9, but there were promising signs shown by the rookie class.

Led by first-round draft pick Calvin Ridley, sixth-round pick Foye Oluokun and fourth-round pick Ito Smith, the six-man class gave Falcons coaches reason to be optimistic about the future.

Grade: Above average

RD/PICK NAME POS COLLEGE
1/26 Calvin Ridley WR Alabama
2/26 Isaiah Oliver DB Colorado
3/26 Deadrin Senat DT So. Florida
4/26 Ito Smith RB So. Miss.
6/20 Russell Gage WR LSU
6/26 Foye Oluokun LB Yale

Best rookie: Ridley, by far. The receiver from Alabama wasn't flawless, but it's hard to argue when a guy sets a franchise rookie record with 10 touchdown receptions. While learning under Julio Jones, Ridley finished with 821 yards on 64 receptions with 39 first downs and 355 yards after the catch. Of course, Ridley benefited from the extra defensive attention drawn by Jones, as did everybody else. But Ridley's route running was spectacular at times as he showed the ability to establish separation with ease. Take away the six drops and two fumbles and Ridley's rookie campaign would have been flawless. As he continues to mature, Ridley should be the guy to succeed Jones as the team's No. 1 threat.

Most improved rookie: Oluokun. He was the lowest pick of them all, yet he found himself as the most valuable new face on defense. Coach Dan Quinn admitted there was a thought of putting Oluokun at strong safety after Pro Bowler Keanu Neal went down with a season-ending ACL tear. However, the coaches decided to keep Oluokun at linebacker, where he flourished and overtook Duke Riley for a starting role. Oluokun played 506 defensive snaps and finished with 89 tackles, second on the team behind De'Vondre Campbell(94). Oluokun, a physical tackler with smarts out of Yale, should be counted upon as the third linebacker moving forward alongside Campbell and Pro Bowler Deion Jones.

Jury is still out on ...: Isaiah Oliver. The second-round cornerback didn't get as much playing time as expected for a high-round pick, but the coaches like Oliver's potential. Oliver got an early lesson when he failed to play deep enough on a game-winning touchdown scored by Cincinnati's A.J. Green. Then, later in the season, as the Falcons fell out of playoff contention, the coaches gave Oliver a closer look while rotating him in for Robert Alford and for Desmond Trufant. With Alford carrying a $9.1 million cap number next season and the potential to save $8.5 million by cutting ties with him, the Falcons could make a move that would accelerate Oliver's development. Oliver has the athleticism and length to succeed. Now he has to work on technique and physicality.

Undrafted rookie evaluation: No undrafted rookie contributed, but Matt Gono is a guy the Falcons might want to keep around just in case. Gono came from Division III Wesley College and made the roster as an offensive tackle. By season's end, he auditioned at guard and was activated for the season finale at Tampa Bay, although he didn't play. If he continues to grow as a player, Gono could be a versatile guy the Falcons insert for depth at guard and tackle as they look to get stronger up front.

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4 minutes ago, Geneaut said:

Jury is still out on ...: Isaiah Oliver. The second-round cornerback didn't get as much playing time as expected for a high-round pick, but the coaches like Oliver's potential. Oliver got an early lesson when he failed to play deep enough on a game-winning touchdown scored by Cincinnati's A.J. Green. Then, later in the season, as the Falcons fell out of playoff contention, the coaches gave Oliver a closer look while rotating him in for Robert Alford and for Desmond Trufant. With Alford carrying a $9.1 million cap number next season and the potential to save $8.5 million by cutting ties with him, the Falcons could make a move that would accelerate Oliver's development. Oliver has the athleticism and length to succeed. Now he has to work on technique and physicality.

I still don't think we cut Alford. I believe they will restructure his contract though.

Dimitroff and Quinn definitely do not want to find themselves in a similar situation as this past season.

atlbaby, Atl Falcon, Geneaut and 1 other like this

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7 minutes ago, Cole World said:

I still don't think we cut Alford. I believe they will restructure his contract though.

Dimitroff and Quinn definitely do not want to find themselves in a similar situation as this past season.

I think they only cut Alford if they believe they have to sign some FAs to fix the OL.

Cheap Talk likes this

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13 minutes ago, Cole World said:

I still don't think we cut Alford. I believe they will restructure his contract though.

Dimitroff and Quinn definitely do not want to find themselves in a similar situation as this past season.

I think Alford, and Trufant are candidates to be restructured. Alford is also a candidate who possibly may get cut.  We do not need to take a deep position and make it a weak one so I believe Alford gets restructured and stays but is maybe moved to Nickel or Dime if Oliver comes along.

This draft class was great already.  08' or 16' are the only others who produced more starters/contributors.  Literally every guy on there has carved out a niche and contributed meaningful minutes.  Ridley is a budding star, Oliver played good minutes down the stretch got his first INT as well, Senat showed a lot of promise with his push and pursuit, Ito scored 4 TDs and looks to have a lil shake and bake in him, Gage will be a ST maven and possible 4th or 5th WR.  Foye was probably the biggest surprise.  Dude is legit NFL LB and was solid at MLB and WLB.

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36 minutes ago, Cole World said:

I still don't think we cut Alford. I believe they will restructure his contract though.

Dimitroff and Quinn definitely do not want to find themselves in a similar situation as this past season.

We know Quinn likes taller CBs. If they cut Alford they would be close to where he would like to be, with Trufant 6'0'', Oliver 6'1", and Kazee 5'11".

Alford is having more trouble with the Evans type WRs as he gets older. I say he gets the ax.

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The reasoning behind why I think they keep Alford and restructure his contract is....

1.) Let's say we cut Alford and Oliver is not ready to take the reigns full time then we find ourselves in the same situation as below

As you can see in the tweet above which is from last year, Dimitroff basically repeated what Quinn said before.

So unless we target CB early in the draft, we will probably roll with Tru, Alford, and Oliver like they did in 2016 with Tru, Alford, and Collins (who was in his 2nd yr as well).

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10 minutes ago, Cole World said:

The reasoning behind why I think they keep Alford and restructure his contract is....

1.) Let's say we cut Alford and Oliver is not ready to take the reigns full time then we find ourselves in the same situation as below

As you can see in the tweet above which is from last year, Dimitroff basically repeated what Quinn said before.

So unless we target CB early in the draft, we will probably roll with Tru, Alford, and Oliver like they did in 2016 with Tru, Alford, and Collins (who was in his 2nd yr as well).

It's going to come down to a numbers game I believe. I assume they'll offer him a restructure, and if he declines then he may be sent packing.

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6 minutes ago, Geneaut said:

It's going to come down to a numbers game I believe. I assume they'll offer him a restructure, and if he declines then he may be sent packing.

I can see that.

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I've said repeatedly I think Alford is cut solely because of his cap number if he doesn't want to restructure. He really has no leverage. People can dislike Alford, but how many teams do we see with deep CB corps making it in the playoffs? It's important and having guys who can play wins. Let Alford walk and you have to replace him with somebody similar. That's not that easy. 

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1 hour ago, Cole World said:

I still don't think we cut Alford. I believe they will restructure his contract though.

Dimitroff and Quinn definitely do not want to find themselves in a similar situation as this past season.

Same here, we do need to draft another CB though. I don't think Oliver is remotely ready, I think we reached on that pick.

Atl Falcon likes this

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I recall when we drafted Foye many here screaming about us using our draft picks as players who would be exclusively special teams players. 

Foye looks like the real deal, I cannot wait to see his development after another training camp where he should make a big leap.

CrimsonFalcon and Atl Falcon like this

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1 hour ago, Summerhill said:

Wow 89 tackles for Oluokun is a ton for only playing 506 snaps. 

He followed a wide receiver down field about 70 yards in coverage and batted the ball away this year. When I saw him do that  I was blow away.

The kid is loaded with talent and potential. 

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3 hours ago, Cole World said:

The reasoning behind why I think they keep Alford and restructure his contract is....

1.) Let's say we cut Alford and Oliver is not ready to take the reigns full time then we find ourselves in the same situation as below

As you can see in the tweet above which is from last year, Dimitroff basically repeated what Quinn said before.

So unless we target CB early in the draft, we will probably roll with Tru, Alford, and Oliver like they did in 2016 with Tru, Alford, and Collins (who was in his 2nd yr as well).

Blidih Wrey should've gotten more burn this year. It's really that simple. It's like we overplayed Alford tsk tsking him for weak calls with solid play. Meanwhile giving Trufant carte blanche for being marginally better. I've never misunderstood DQ's Plan more than I probably do now because I saw a guy like Blidih-Wrey missing wayyy toooo many snaps in the secondary. We re-signed him and brought him at the guy from the Cardinals back to what? "Fly around" on STs? 

Atl Falcon likes this

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7 hours ago, vel said:

I've said repeatedly I think Alford is cut solely because of his cap number if he doesn't want to restructure. He really has no leverage. People can dislike Alford, but how many teams do we see with deep CB corps making it in the playoffs? It's important and having guys who can play wins. Let Alford walk and you have to replace him with somebody similar. That's not that easy. 

Yeah who u gonna get to play 1100 total snaps for 9m? Dude will be fine with a healthy secondary. 

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5 hours ago, gazoo said:

I recall when we drafted Foye many here screaming about us using our draft picks as players who would be exclusively special teams players. 

Foye looks like the real deal, I cannot wait to see his development after another training camp where he should make a big leap.

We should have tried him at SS some

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5 hours ago, gazoo said:

I recall when we drafted Foye many here screaming about us using our draft picks as players who would be exclusively special teams players. 

Foye looks like the real deal, I cannot wait to see his development after another training camp where he should make a big leap.

I knew he was going to be pretty good. Obviously cerebral player with elite athleticism for the position, and is a hammer to boot.

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12 hours ago, ATLSlobberKnockers said:

We obviously have to sign FA to the OL. 

Agreed. I'm just not sure at the moment how they plan on financing that. Cutting Alford helps, but creating a hole in the secondary isn't good either. I'm curious to see how this works out.

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