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For Leonard Hankerson and other new Falcons, everything's familiar

Kyle Shanahan's offense gives the former Washington players on the squad a chance to teach and a chance to earn opportunities.

Rob Carr/Getty Images

We tend to view castoffs from other teams with earned skepticism, so you can't blame anyone for thinking that the likes of Leonard Hankerson, Chris Chester and Tyler Polumbus aren't headed for great things in Atlanta. If they enjoy one advantage, though, it's familiarity with the offense Kyle Shanahan plans to install for the Falcons.

What kind of production that translates into remains to be seen, but it's obvious that there's a comfort level here that is going to help guys like Hankerson ramp up. Here he is earlier in the week, discussing the offense.

"I'm loving it, man, you know. Played in it my first few years over in Washington, and right now I'm able to teach the other guys the plays and stuff, you know what I mean? It's going good for us. It's going good for everybody."

This seems like an ideal year to have a rookie wide receiver on the team, because Hankerson talks an excellent game about leadership, mentioning to reporters that players on great teams need to concern themselves with the success of every other player. Hankerson projects as reserve on the outside and someone who can kick out wide when the Falcons want to move Roddy White into the slot and get two tall, fast options on the outside, so any potential leadership skills are an admittedly nebulous bonus.

That's what you get, potentially, from players like Hankerson and likely starting left guard Chris Chester: A combination of meaningful snaps (hopefully good ones) with the ability to teach other players the finer points of the new offense. For an offense with tons of new pieces and plenty of veterans who were familiar with Dirk Koetter and Mike Mularkey before him, that's a real benefit. For Hankerson, Chester and Polumbus, it's an opportunity to get an early leg up and earn a bigger opportunity.

Hat tip to Jeanna Thomas, who provided all the audio for this post. What are your expectations for the former Washington players?