We've got one, non-public practice left to go for Falcons' training camp, but for all intents and purposes we're closing out this chapter of the offseason and focusing full-time on preseason games. That means it's a particularly apt time for us to take stock of those on the roster who saw their fortunes shift dramatically thanks to training camp practices.
QB Sean Renfree: Like Matt Ryan Lite thus far. Great accuracy, not the strongest arm but an awareness of his limitations, plus a nice pocket presence. Likely a practice squad stash for another year, but don't count him out coming into 2015.
RB Devonta Freeman: The rookie back displayed terrific vision, balance, burst and hands throughout camp. While the coaching staff is making him earn every rep—as they should—and Freeman's only obstacle to real playing time appears to be pass protection and perhaps ball security. He's going to be good sooner rather than later, and he spent camp proving that.
WR Bernard Reedy: No one has done more to earn a roster spot than Reedy, a short UDFA receiver who was going to need to ball out to have a real shot at the practice squad, never mind the final 53 man roster. That's all Reedy's done, flashing excellent wheels, crisp route-running skills and good hands no matter how he's utilized. Reedy's gone from a longshot to a guy I can't imagine being left off the roster.
TE Mickey Shuler: Shuler's bounced around practice squads across the NFL, but may have found a home in Atlanta. By all accounts, Mickey's been catching passes well and showing improved blocking skills, and he has a real shot at the backup tight end job.
G/T Gabe Carimi: The widely-derided former first rounder looked healthy before his ankle injury and had shown he could be a valuable, versatile reserve. It helps when Mike Tice, your former coach, is the guy who determines your future, but as long as Carimi recovers quickly, he's virtually a lock for a roster spot.
G/C Harland Gunn: I wouldn't say Gunn's been great, but again, he's versatile and strong. The Falcons prize cross-training along the line, and Gunn's ability to play center and guard could actually doom Peter Konz.
DE Malliciah Goodman: As I mentioned this morning, Goodman came to camp looking bigger and stronger, and the Falcons love the power and run-stopping acumen he brings. He'll be a key piece of the rotation at end.
DT Travian Robertson: The strongest man in camp for years running appears to be putting it together and making a run at a roster spot. He seems like a natural fit for this defense, which is prizing strength, toughness and run-stopping as it moves away from the lighter fronts of recent years.
ILB Prince Shembo: With Sean Weatherspoon gone, someone needed to step up at ILB. That guy might be Shembo, an intense, voracious learner who was already calling out plays for the second-team defense against the Dolphins. Coaches are tripping over themselves to praise him, which is usually a good sign.
OLB Jacques Smith: An impressive UDFA, Smith is a fighter who tackles well and has endeared himself to the fanbase. He's got a shot to stick as the last OLB.
S Kemal Ishmael: Ishmael went from a guy many were leaving off their rosters to a possible starter if Dwight Lowery isn't healthy. He'll likely never be a great player, but he's looking like he might actually be able to handle a starting gig and play at a reasonable level. I may be getting ahead of myself, here, but hey.
RB Steven Jackson: Unavoidable, really. His injury ensures he will be sidelined and at least somewhat questionable for the first week of the season, while Devonta Freeman, Jacquizz Rodgers and Antone Smith show an intriguing set of skills as a three-headed committee.
WR Drew Davis: Again, this is injury-related, but Davis's couldn't have come at a worse time. It's entirely possible Bernard Reedy and Courtney Roby blow by him for roster spots, and he's not guaranteed anything once he gets off of PUP.
C/G Peter Konz: Konz needed a big camp to mount a serious challenge for Joe Hawley's starting job, and despite the work he's done in the offseason, that just hasn't happened. There's a small but non-zero possibility his merely average camp sees him off the roster.
G/T Mike Johnson: It seemed like Johnson was in line for another shot, but he's had a mediocre camp, frequently finding himself on the receiving end of some blunt words from Mike Tice. He's not likely to survive final cuts unless preseason goes much, much better for him.
OLB Stansly Maponga: Maponga is coming on of late and should make the roster, but I was hoping he'd really come out of the gates and step into the vacuum at OLB a bit. He hasn't.
OLB Tyler Starr: I think expectations were wholly out of whack for Starr, a promising player who was always going to struggle a bit with the transition to the NFL. He just hasn't impressed thus far, but he remains a player to watch going forward.
ILB Yawin Smallwood: A Falcoholic favorite when he was drafted, Smallwood just needed a quality camp to step up and seize a role in a depleted inside linebacking corps. Instead, he's probably ticketed for the practice squad after a quiet July and early August.
S Dezmen Southward: I'm sure Southward and the Falcons would have liked their third-round selection to show out at camp, quieting some of the criticism of his selection. Southward has been merely okay when he's on the field, though, and an injury cost him about a week of practice and development time, too. He's another one to watch for 2015 more than 2014.
Share your own risers and fallers from training camp, y'all.