Atlanta Falcons wide receiver Taylor Gabriel has to be thrilled about how the past four months have played out. He went from the scrap heap of arguably the NFL's worst team to a prominent role with the league's best offense. One thing is indisputable: he moved on up.
Over the past four games, Gabriel has racked up five total touchdowns. That includes two touchdowns Sunday against the league's best defense. Getting that kind of production from your third receiver is a rarity in this league. In short, the Falcons are lucky to have him.
One of Gabriel's biggest fans in Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan. In fact, Ryan says he knew Gabriel was special from "day one." (Credit to the AJC's Michael Cunningham for the quote.)
"The first day. He came in for a Monday practice, he came in, you could tell he could run. He could run routes. He was probably further ahead than most people realized after playing in the system with Kyle (Shanahan) in Cleveland for a year. He knew some of the things that we were doing. There were a few changes that took a while, but I think everybody could tell from Day One he was going to be a guy who can help us in some way because he has such great speed and quickness and that's something we can use."
I can literally picture Kyle Shanahan running into a conference room and yelling at Thomas Dimitroff, "We have to sign him! Go sign him now! I want him, I want him, I want him!" [cue the temper tantrum]