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Originally posted on FanNation Falcon Report 
By Daniel Flick  |  Last updated 6/27/22

For an Atlanta Falcons defense that ranked largely amongst the league's worst last season, any and all unexpected contributions are valued. 

The team spent significant capital on improving the defense both in free agency and the draft and is now getting a positive return on one of its undrafted rookies.

According to ESPN, linebacker Nate Landman has been Atlanta's surprise offseason standout. A four-time All-Pac 12 honoree, Landman racked up 409 tackles, 41 tackles-for-loss, and 11 sacks across five seasons at the University of Colorado.

Standing 6-3, 230 pounds, Landman's instincts and intelligence had him around the ball often for the Buffaloes, a characteristic that is translating to the NFL. While the pads have yet to go on, Landman is still impressing with his ability to be in position to make plays.

This is admittedly a deep cut in terms of the Atlanta roster, but the undrafted rookie was active in 7-on-7 drills -- the only heavy action in the OTA period -- and seemed to have a knack for finding the ball. It's probably still a tough road for Landman to make the roster as an inside linebacker, but he might have jumpstarted himself at least into being in the conversation if he builds on his OTAs during training camp. - ESPN's Michael Rothstein.

The 23-year-old Landman faces competition in the form of veteran free agent adds Rashaan Evans and Nick Kwiatkoski, third-year pro Mykal Walker, second-round draft pick Troy Andersen, and 2021 undrafted rookie Dorian Etheridge, who managed to play in seven games last season. 

 

While Evans, Walker and Andersen are safe bets to make the roster, the other spots at inside linebacker remain open. Landman's tackling prowess lends itself favorably to special teams, an area he has experience in from his freshman season in college and will have to be his calling card to stick on Atlanta's roster.

Landman will have to show he can translate his OTA ball-finding ability to finishing plays when pads come on, but if his college career is any indication, that shouldn't be a problem. From here, he has to keep stacking good days, but the ultra-productive Landman is off to a good start.

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Kind of a "duh" statement, but this Defense seems like its going to have a ton of new faces. Offense has a few new starters as well. 

I want to know, is this coaching staff REALLY going to have open competition and the best players play? I don't feel that any staff really means that in its most blunt form. Teams end up playing players with salary considerations, or agent pressure (TD fell into this trap)

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32 minutes ago, runshoot said:

Kind of a "duh" statement, but this Defense seems like its going to have a ton of new faces. Offense has a few new starters as well. 

I want to know, is this coaching staff REALLY going to have open competition and the best players play? I don't feel that any staff really means that in its most blunt form. Teams end up playing players with salary considerations, or agent pressure (TD fell into this trap)

I think you are right.  For me, when they say open competition, it usually means the rookies will get a chance to show out.  But, it behooves you to play the hot hand.  Money more than likely is the real issue with this.  Cannot have a guy making 5 million a year getting beat out by a UDFA who is playing for comparative peanuts.  

The one thing that I am a little excited about is that we are seeing this wave of youth coming over the defense.  That is something that is very encouraging to me.  And a lot of these kids brought in through the draft or UDFA have real potential.  Things look encouraging.

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2 minutes ago, falconsd56 said:

Nor should they be.

People have gone just gaga over Tate's size and Byrd's speed but neither have translated into any sort of significant product at the NFL level.

Very true.  Calling anyone a lock now is foolhardy.  Honestly, I had not heard of any of those players mentioned prior to signing or being drafted.  

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4 hours ago, falconsd56 said:

Nor should they be.

People have gone just gaga over Tate's size and Byrd's speed but neither have translated into any sort of significant product at the NFL level.

Par for the course on this team 👀

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2 hours ago, FalconBlood said:

But what is a Chris Hogan? 
Cringe Hangover GIF

A Chris Hogan is a dual sport athlete who had the 2nd highest yards per catch in the Super Bowl LI for the New England Patriots. An undrafted free agent who Bill Belichick describes as a “burner” because the athleticism that earned him a D1 lacrosse scholarship and later a D1 football scholarship made tackling him a tough ask for NFL corners such as Alford or Trufant. A Chris Hogan caught for 180 yards in the AFC championship en route to facing the Falcons in the “you know” game. If you’re asking my opinion I’d rather have a tough as nails scrapper for a WR3 than any true WR, not counting Pitts because TE.  A “Chris Hogan” has a Ring that should have been Julio’s. 

Edited by Killing Floor
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1 hour ago, Killing Floor said:

A Chris Hogan is a dual sport athlete who had the 2nd highest yards per catch in the Super Bowl LI for the New England Patriots. An undrafted free agent who Bill Belichick describes as a “burner” because the athleticism that earned him a D1 lacrosse scholarship and later a D1 football scholarship made tackling him a tough ask for NFL corners such as Alford or Trufant. A Chris Hogan caught for 180 yards in the AFC championship en route to facing the Falcons in the “you know” game. If you’re asking my opinion I’d rather have a tough as nails scrapper for a WR3 than any true WR, not counting Pitts because TE.  A “Chris Hogan” has a Ring that should have been Julio’s. 

star wars GIF
Nice.

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On 6/28/2022 at 11:50 AM, Herr Doktor said:

I think you are right.  For me, when they say open competition, it usually means the rookies will get a chance to show out.  But, it behooves you to play the hot hand.  Money more than likely is the real issue with this.  Cannot have a guy making 5 million a year getting beat out by a UDFA who is playing for comparative peanuts.  

The one thing that I am a little excited about is that we are seeing this wave of youth coming over the defense.  That is something that is very encouraging to me.  And a lot of these kids brought in through the draft or UDFA have real potential.  Things look encouraging.

@Herr Doktor - I am extremely excited with the young players competing for a roster spot.  Just wished the Falcons did this last year, instead of bringing in all of those has-beens and practically gave them starting positions.

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