Minicamp is just three days long, but the Falcons predictably gave us plenty to discuss over those three days, with some unique formations and personnel choices and a conscious decision to feature young players. Whether that translates over into training camp is anyone's guess, but either way, we learned a few things from Falcons minicamp.
Rookies will have a chance to start
We knew that Deion Jones and Keanu Neal were going to compete to start and had real chances at starting gigs, but I think only the most optimistic among us thought that fourth rounder De'Vondre Campbell or sixth-round Wes Schweitzer would get that same opportunity. Again, it's early, but both of those guys ran with the starters during minicamp, and by all accounts both looked pretty good doing so.
Campbell will have to beat out the likes of Philip Wheeler and Sean Weatherspoon for the gig, a challenge but by no means an impossibility given that 'Spoon hasn't been able to stay healthy and Wheeler is here on a one year deal. Schweitzer, meanwhile, has a deep field of competitors, but no standouts, with the likes of Tom Compton, Mike Person, Chris Chester, and others mixing in. I still think Campbell's not a starter until 2017 and Schweitzer may never get there, but they're off to great starts, and I'd love to see both win jobs.
C.J. Goodwin's remarkable conversion
It's not rocket surgery to switch from receiver to cornerback, but nor is it an easy conversion. C.J. Goodwin got not one but two interceptions yesterday, and seems to be taking to that conversion about as well as you could reasonably hope.
No one should start thinking Goodwin is in line for a major role just yet, much less a roster spot, but 6'4" cornerbacks with long experience as wide receivers simply don't do this all that often, and Goodwin would make for about the most intriguing 53rd man on the roster stash the Falcons could keep at this point. Root for the story and the player.
Tyson Jackson is eternal
There's still a chance Tyson Jackson could be cut, but he has survived thus far, has slimmed down, and is back to defensive tackle for the Falcons, where the team apparently believes he can fare better than he did a year ago. It's hard not to be cynical given how little T-Jax has done over his first two years in Atlanta, but perhaps the third time will be a charm. Or something.
The Falcons will try some new stuff out
Dan Quinn got a reputation as a creative defensive mind, but we didn't get to see much of that a year ago with a defense he largely inherited. This year, with many new additions and increased comfort with the players who've stuck around, we're getting some different looks already.
There's Courtney Upshaw and Malliciah Goodman at the nose, Ra'Shede Hageman at defensive end, Brooks Reed at defensive end, Goodwin roaming around at cornerback, and young players mixing in early. Quinn's got his eye on a quality defense, but he'd also like a defense he can shift around and rotate bodies on, as a way to keep his players fresh and keep offenses guessing a little. I've said before that it isn't likely to be a great unit in 2016, but I'm feeling very good about improvement, and if minicamp is any sign it'll at least be a hell of a lot more interesting.
What did you learn from minicamp?