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One Falcon To Watch: Devonta Freeman

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The rookie back has been impressive all along. Will he sew up a major role tonight?

Jason Getz-USA TODAY Sports

Devonta Freeman has been as impressive as any rookie back in the NFL in preseason. He's shown everything you look for in a starting running back, or at least the lead back in a committee, with the speed, power and vision to be at least a league average starter. He can catch, too.

What holds Freeman back right now is his youth, the difficulty of learning to pass protect at a high level and the occasional ball security issue, none of which should keep him off the field. The coaching staff is just making him earn his role, and chances are a second quality preseason game would go a long way toward helping him carve out a larger one.

There's no reason to bet against him, based on what we've seen so far, but it's crucial that Freeman strings together two or three good preseason games to pass Jacquizz Rodgers on the depth chart, however informally. If Steven Jackson is hurt, Freeman is going to want the ball in his hands, so showing some blocking prowess, running well and catching a few balls against a Texans defense that isn't incredibly deep is a must.

Watch Freeman closely. Who will you be watching?