The Atlanta Falcons will utilize plenty of three wide receiver sets in 2014, an effort to offset some Tony Gonzalez's absence and not try to force Levine Toilolo to become something he's not. With that in mind, are the Falcons done tinkering with their wide receiver depth chart?
Aaron Freeman at FalcFans and Scott Carasik with Bleacher Report have been among those considering a pair of recent releases by the Eagles and Browns, respectively.
I've always been intrigued by Benn's raw talent. Injury prone though. RT @RavensInsider: Eagles cut wide receiver Arrelious Benn— Aaron Freeman (@falcfans) May 16, 2014
The big point about Greg Little is that he's super low risk. Sign him to a minimum deal. His reward could be competent depth.— Scott Carasik (@ScottCarasik) May 16, 2014
Carasik is throwing the curveball idea of Little as a running back, a position he played some in college. For the purposes of this article, we're going to treat Benn and Little as receivers.
Benn, 25, was one of my favorite prospects of the 2010 class. At 6'2" and 220 pounds, he has the size and hands necessary to make an impact in the NFL, but after a pair of fairly promising seasons with the Buccaneers to open his career, injuries have wrecked his career. He was traded to the Eagles alongside a 7th round pick in exchange for a 6th rounder, which is pretty brutal, and he didn't record a catch in 2013 after tearing his ACL. There's enough talent there to make him worth a flier if he's healthy and he's still young, but health is the major concern.
Little, 25 at the end of the month, doesn't have the injury excuse to fall back on. Since arriving in the NFL in the same 2011 draft that produced Julio Jones—the Browns used one of picks they acquired in that trade to get him—Little has produced like a possession receiver, with pretty brutal drop rate. His usage has steadily gone down in Cleveland's offense, he's been released and despite his age may struggle to find anything more than a camp invite at this point.
The Falcons have Roddy White, Julio Jones and Harry Douglas on the roster, plus Devin Hester as a situational deep threat, but only Drew Davis and Darius Johnson currently occupying other spots on the roster. Davis is a core special teamer and Johnson flashed some promise, but if the Falcons are serious about going three wide, it'd be nice to either know that Davis or DJ could step up or have another option ready to go.
For that reason, I could still see the Falcons adding a wide receiver between now and the start of training camp, and Benn intrigues me a bit. The Falcons have done a nice job of rebuilding depth at several key positions, but as Freeman and others have repeatedly noted, receiver remains an area where the Falcons are prone to trot out UDFAs beyond the big three. Whether it's this year or next year, the team will have to seriously consider changing that up.
What do you think?