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Sports Illustrated: Atlanta Falcons Devonta Freeman is NFL's 12th best running back

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Fact: Devonta Freeman has a pet mouse named Squiggles

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

The Atlanta Falcons will begin their training camp next week and the running back situation is one to keep an eye on. We already know the team intends to get Tevin Coleman more carries. That's not a deliberate knock on third year pro Devonta Freeman. Rather, the thought process is pretty straight forward: limit Freeman's carries and he will hopefully remain healthy and effective even late in the season.

Freeman really came alive last season. For a period he was arguably the best three down running back in the league, at least from a production standpoint. That changed quickly in the second half, hence why he only ranked 12th in Sports Illustrated's recent ranking of the NFL's best running backs.

Freeman went from 95 touches as a rookie in 2014 to 338 last season as the Falcons' go-to back. It should have come as no surprise, then, that his production tailed off quite a bit during the season's second half. However, before he slogged to the finish line with his underachieving Falcons, Freeman wrestled the starting gig away from rookie Tevin Coleman by demonstrating an every-down skillset. He caught 73 passes, rushed for upwards of 1,000 yards and even tied for the league lead with 11 touchdowns. If backs like Bell, Charles and Martin set the standard for backs who can handle any role, Freeman is atop the second tier.

Freeman is the definition of solid. What we saw last season was a glimmer of something truly special. If Coleman can kick in some solid production, the Falcons may get their wish: a healthier, more productive Freeman in the second half. One would think that'd move him up on this list, at least a few spots. Your thoughts?