The Falcons' first, second and third round picks spoke to the media following the first day of rookie minicamp, sharing their thoughts on their first day in the NFL environment and more.
Eighth-overall pick Vic Beasley was pleased with his performance the first day. "I thought I did pretty well. Got to work with a couple of guys that will eventually be my teammates," Beasley said. "Just ready to get started and see what Coach Quinn has in store."
The speed of the pro game is a big adjustment for every player. "I think it's a big difference [transitioning from college to the pros]," Beasley said. "I think ... the speed of the game is very different, and just adapting to the game will be a challenge for me, and just out here getting started, I think I'm getting ahead, sort of."
A big storyline from the NFL Draft was the Falcons' decision to draft Beasley and his Clemson teammate, Grady Jarrett. Beasley said it's nice to have a familiar face on the team. "Oh, yeah, that's real fun -- a former teammate of mine," Beasley said. "Just ready to get started with him and look forward to having another great year and years to come with him."
It's nice for Beasley and Jarrett because of the level of familiarity they have with each other. "Me and Grady, we ran stunts at Clemson and we play off each other," Beasley said. "He knows what I like to do; I know what he likes to do. So it's a great fit for us."
Many have wondered why Beasley chose 44 as his jersey number. The answer is very simple. "I was the eighth pick. Four plus four equals eight," Beasley said.
Cornerback and second rounder Jalen Collins was held out of the first day of rookie minicamp as he continues to recover from the foot surgery he underwent following the NFL Combine. "I had surgery after the Combine, and we're just making sure I'm 100 [percent]," Collins said. He said his recovery and rehab are going well.
Even though Collins is sidelined, he's still enjoying this experience. "Going through all the meetings and seeing those guys out there, it's been really good," Collins said. "I've been away from it for a long time, but just seeing everybody go at it, it's kind of gotten me excited, and I'm just trying to have fun with all of it."
Collins is also trying to make the most of this time, not just to learn all he can, but to support his teammates as well as he can. "[I'm] trying to learn everything that I can, making sure I know all the calls, trying to help other guys with stuff that I know," Collins said.
On the realization that he's actually a NFL player now, Collins said, "Honestly, it's just an honor and a blessing to be in the NFL and with the Atlanta Falcons. It's a dream come true, and I'm just happy to be here."
Collins does not have a preference on playing the right or the left side. "Corner is corner," Collins said. "I play both sides."
Running back Tevin Coleman, the Falcons' third-round selection, had a good first day of minicamp. "It was a good experience, just getting back out, running football drills and football stuff," Coleman said. "So it was really exciting to be back out there."
Coleman said he does feel a little pressure coming in to compete for the bulk of the carries. "I mean, it's a little bit of pressure, but I'm just here to compete and do the best that I can, and things will fall how they will," Coleman said. "I'm just here to work hard and compete."
On the speed of the game, Coleman said that facing better competition is the biggest factor. "You've just got to go hard every play and go hard every down," Coleman said. "So the speed changes because it's better guys, bigger guys, faster guys, so of course it will be a different change, but that's what we're here working on."
The night before minicamp began, Coleman realized his dream of playing in the NFL had become reality. "Last night, I was just like, man, this is it right here," Coleman said. "This is what I dreamed of. So I'm here, and let's get it rolling."
Coleman's experience running zone schemes makes him confident that he fits the Falcons' plans for this season. "I think I'm a great fit," Coleman said. "I mean, running outside zone, inside zone, running a lot of stretch plays, so it's a big advantage for me."
Pass blocking is an important part of playing the running back position at the NFL level, and Coleman feels prepared to do that well. "I can [pass protect] really successfully," Coleman said. "I did that at Indiana and I did it good. So it's not a problem to go out there and pass protect. It's not a problem for me, and I can do it."
We'll have more news and notes from the second day of rookie minicamp on the site later day.