At this time of the year, every rookie is impressive. Coaches will talk up any young player to any reporter they can find, so you have to take everything that's said this early in the spring with a teaspoon of sodium.
Call me a fool, a tea leaf reader or a flummoxed writer searching for topics if you will, but I believe Ray Hamilton's praise of Travian Robertson is the real deal. That doesn't mean I think he's going to win a starting job or even necessarily make the final roster, but he's clearly got some traits you just can't teach to a defensive tackle.
After the jump, find out why I'm so optimistic.
First, let's drill down into the quote from Hamilton:
"He’s a big guy that can move. He’s the biggest guy that we’ve had in camp since we’ve been here. But he’s a big guy that can move. A big, strong guy at the point of attack. He may be the strongest guy on the team. . . He looks good in there."
This praise is less repetitive, I'll grant you that. It's also less vague than the good words Hamilton is throwing at guys like Lawrence Sidbury and Cliff Matthews. You have to take a look at what he's saying to understand why this praise is important.
For a defensive tackle, "big" and "strong" can go an awfully long way. The fact that Hamilton is saying he looks good early on, is the biggest defensive tackle the Falcons have had since 2008 and that he's showing a level of fairly incredible strength is a good thing. He'll need to develop, but the Falcons could use a big, run-stuffing type, and that's exactly what Robertson is.
So it bodes well for Robertson that Hamilton's already saying nice things about him that aren't related to how he needs to step up this year. A lot can happen between now and September, but it's not unreasonable to suggest he's got a chance to crack a rotation that currently only has three quality options and a semi-quality option who doubles as a question mark in Peria Jerry.
Again, the biggest challenge for Robertson will be turning into a complete player, someone who can rush the passer as well as stop the run. But that strength and size is could make him, at minimum, a useful bottom-of-the-rotation player. Given that he's a seventh-round pick, that's mighty encouraging.
Your thoughts on Robertson?