Minicamp will be kicking off again this afternoon, but in the meantime, let's take a quick look at some of the news, notes, and noteworthy performances from yesterday that we'll all want to keep an eye on going forward.
- Jonathon Mincy gets first team reps at nickel corner. You have to take this with an enormous grain of salt, but the 5'10" undrafted rookie out of Auburn is doing well to even be in the mix here. If he can impress with the opportunities he gets, he could be in the running to make the team as the last cornerback, or even to latch on to the practice squad. I would not expect him to seriously contend for the nickel gig, but keep an eye on him.
- Ricardo Allen remains the starting free safety. It was an exciting blip on our collective radar when Allen took first team reps at OTAs, but it's noteworthy that he opened minicamp in the same role. The real test will come when Allen gets the pads on and gets into game action, but he's clearly showing the coaching staff something early.
- Matt Ryan loves Justin Hardy already. Hardy comes into the NFL as a sharp route runner whose sure hands and willingness to go over the middle should make him a nice option when Ryan's looking to throw short. We're all waiting to see how large Hardy's role will be, but if he develops a quick rapport with Ryan, he'll be getting a ton of targets in his rookie season.
- Ra'Shede Hageman and Lamar Holmes stand out. Hageman is vastly more talented than Holmes, but the principle here is the same. Both were considered project players when they joined the Falcons, both have lost weight and reportedly gained strength in the offseason and both are fighting for starting roles. I expect Hageman to get a ton of snaps and Holmes to settle in as a reserve tackle, but minicamp will start to tell the tale of the offseason for both.
- A more balanced offense. This is one of those early proclamations that can go right out the window when the games start, but the Falcons sorely need a quality ground game and seem hellbent on achieving that, which would lead to Ryan slinging fewer bullets this fall. The team should be better off for that, but with Coleman and Freeman competing at running back, plus a recovering offensive line, we'll have to see it to believe it.