In addition to guard Hugh Thornton, the Falcons have added two other budget players to their roster as they gear up for the NFL Draft. Both of them are fullbacks.
Welcome to the Brotherhood!— Atlanta Falcons (@AtlantaFalcons) March 21, 2017
We have signed Derrick Coleman, @HughThornton and @somavainuku.
DETAILS- https://t.co/yGllgztvMj pic.twitter.com/SjRPJXk15m
Derrick Coleman has spent time with the Seahawks, which is probably his biggest calling card, and paved the way for Marshawn Lynch, Christine Michael, and Thomas Rawls. Unusually for the current Falcons regime, Coleman has a criminal history, having been charged and pled guilty in a vehicular assault and hit-and-run case. The former undrafted free agent got community service for those charges, which stemmed him smoking synthetic marijuana, hitting another car, and breaking the driver’s collarbone before driving away.
I note this not to turn you against Coleman, who did plead guilty and serve a suspension, but to point out that the Falcons do not typically sign players with this kind of history. That may be due to the fact that Coleman was a strong blocker in his Seattle prime, is just 26 years old, and should probably be considered the favorite as of today based on his prior work. He did not play in the 2016 season, however.
His competition will be Soma Vainuku, a 24-year-old former USC Trojan who got a look from the Houston Texans last summer. He is a big dude for the fullback position at between 255-265 pounds, but is a very good athlete for that size and gained a reputation for his special teams wizardry and willingness, so it’s certainly possible he hangs around longer than one might think.
This competition will likely stretch out into the summer, but the Falcons are taking the kind of practical approach to fullback that yielded DiMarco in the first place: Sign someone guys with talent nobody else wants to and let them duke it out. I approve.