The Falcons returned to organized team activities yesterday, and there was action. As much action as OTAs afford us, at least.
Based on first-hand reports from those at camp, here's a few of the more interesting items from yesterday's sessions.
De'Vondre Campbell, Keanu Neal with first team
The Falcons would love to get younger and more athletic on defense, and it's no surprise they're going to trot first round pick Keanu Neal out with the starters right now. He is, after all, going to start.
Campbell's more interesting because running with the starters for any length of time isn't necessarily expected. Campbell has a ton of talent but the knock on him coming out of college had to do with poor instincts, and I don't think anyone honestly expects him to be a full-time starter this year. It's a possibility down the line, however, and if Campbell is ahead of where the team expects him to be early, that day might come sooner than we expect. I'll be watching closely to see if he can pull off one hell of an upset.
Devin Hester back on the field
If Devin Hester is going to make this football team, he's going to have to show he's healthy sooner than later. Today was a step in the right direction.
Devin Hester fielded a kickoff at the start of OTAs Tuesday and ran back a few yards. Hester says he's about 75% coming off toe surgery.— vaughn mcclure (@vxmcclure23) May 31, 2016
I still am pretty dubious about Hester's chances of making this roster, given his unclear role on offense and the diminishing value of returners, but if he can get back, show well, and make his case before someone else makes theirs.
The Falcons would like to head into the season healthy, as unlikely as that is, so they'll hope that the injuries they're dealing with now don't hang around. Adrian Clayborn is still limited at this point with a strained pectoral, while Grady Jarrett is out with knee tendinitis and may well be for the rest of OTAs. The Falcons need Jarrett in particular to be healthy enough to anchor the defense, so they'll smartly play it slow with his recovery.
What are you hoping to learn from OTAs this week?