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Falcons rookie minicamp is over. What'd we learn?

The next chance for rookies to impress will be against veterans.

Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports

Rookie minicamp is over for 2016, and we learned...well, not a ton.

You get the usual platitudes about rookies this time of year, particularly the crop of undrafted players, so you have to take everything this early with a grain of salt. It's enough for me to know that the Falcons like this group of rookies and they're fast and physical and working hard. The specifics will come later, when the veterans join in, some of these rookies start to stand out from the pack, and maybe we get an unlikely kicker battle.

The big takeaways here are that the Falcons have some room on their roster to bring in help after cutting four players and bringing aboard three tryout players, and that everybody made it through these three days without major injury. We've got a few players to watch and what's next on the offseason schedule below, too.

Who to watch

  • De'Vondre Campbell. I shouldn't be this excited by a rookie fourth round linebacker, but Campbell has the size, physicality and athleticism you look for, and he's made a good impression early on. Chances are he'll settle into a reserve role for at least his first year, but I'm bullish on his long-term outlook.
  • All three of the camp tryout players who ended up earning a longer look with the team. Shabaz Ahmed is intriguing simply because he's a guard and the Falcons don't have many of those, while David Glidden is a gadget player with some college success and Brandon Williams was very useful for Southern Illinois. I don't expect any of the three to ultimately make the team, but hey, this is the time of year where we track the stories more closely than the play on the field.
  • Sharrod Neasman isn't the best athlete and he doesn't have the best college career to point to, but he's a well-rounded defensive back who could probably play some cornerback and safety at this level, and that might be enough to land him a roster spot before all is said and done. After I predicted he'd make the roster, I certainly hope it is.
  • Brandon Wilds is a UDFA to watch, simply because he's looked good in rookie minicamp, had a nice college career, and is competing for a spot on a depth chart that isn't settled after Devonta Freeman and Tevin Coleman.
  • Nick Rose did not enjoy a great college career as Texas's kicker, but the team is at least entertaining the possibility that he might compete for the kicking job. With a strong leg and Matt Bryant coming off an injury-plagued down year, I suppose it's possible, but I'd be surprised if he snatched the gig away from the veteran.

OTAs loom

The next major milestone on the Falcons' offseason calendar is the start of organized team activities, or OTAs, on May 23rd. There's no hitting allowed in those, but the team can put players through 7 on 7 and 11 on 11 drills, among other exercises, as they begin to ramp up for more minicamps and eventually training camp.

Honestly, there's usually very little going on over the next couple of weeks, which is why we're A) hoping for a signing like Leon Hall and B) starting our annual roster review series, where we go position-by-position and break down how good the Falcons might be in 2016. Or, you know, not good.

As a reminder, here's the list of draft picks and rookie free agents who are hanging around at the moment.

Draft Picks

Round 1: S Keanu Neal
Round 2: LB Deion Jones
Round 3: TE Austin Hooper
Round 4: LB De'Vondre Campbell
Round 6: G Wes Schweitzer
Round 7: WR Devin Fuller


DE Josh Dawson
OL Cody Elentz
LB Torrey Green
DT Cory Johnson
WR Daje Johnson
CB Devonte Johnson
DT Chris Mayes
WR J.D. McKissic
LB Ivan McLennan
CB David Mims
DB Sharrod Neasman
TE Josh Perkins
DB Brian Poole
FB Will Ratelle
OL Jake Reed
Nick Rose
CB Jordan Sefon
RB Brandon Wilds

New Additions

WR David Glidden
DE Brandon Williams
G Shabaz Ahmed