Before the pads go on, the hitting starts in earnest, and the veterans are all on the field, the guys who tend to stand out the most are the pure athletes. Today, that was rookie fifth round tight end Eric Saubert, as our own Jeanna Thomas noted from camp.
Saubert is an intriguing player who has been favorably compared to Rob Gronkowski, though his ceiling is obviously going to be considerably lower than that. His distaste for working for moving companies aside, he’s got a bright future in Atlanta, and we’ll have to see how good he looks once we’re into regular minicamps and training camp. Saubert’s upside this year probably goes no higher than the third tight end on the depth chart and special teams, but there’s more here.
Quinn has high praise for Eric Saubert, especially -- shocker -- his speed.— Jeanna (@jeannathomas) May 13, 2017
Eric Saubert worked for a moving company in college. Says it was the worst job ever. "I'm glad I'm here," he says.— Jeanna (@jeannathomas) May 13, 2017
Neat note from Michael Cunningham’s AJC wrapup of the second day, which is the final day of Falcons practice, involving special teams and Duke Riley specifically. There can be some eye rolling about special teams from fans and how much value teams place there, but as Quinn notes below, the difference between being active on gameday and parked on the inactive list is often what you can do on kickoffs and punts.
On Duke Riley’s special-teams role
“We had a good talk about special teams and the role, and the difference between being on the (53-man roster) and being on the (46-man game day roster), being in sweats on game day (vs.) having a helmet on and going to battle. They all recognize so badly, ‘I want to go out and compete that I am going to find that role on teams.’ If you are not playing offensive line or quarterback there has got to be a role that you can dig for. The amount of time they put in offense, defense, you’ve got to make sure the special teams portion is getting that share too.”
I don’t think Terron Ward is going to be able to beat out Brian Hill for a roster spot unless Hill can’t hack it on special teams, and the Falcons are already getting a look at Hill there. I’d be extremely surprised if the well-rounded rookie isn’t on the final roster.
Quinn says special teams will definitely be part of it for Brian Hill.— Jeanna (@jeannathomas) May 13, 2017
Hill’s not the most powerful back around, either, but I like his description of his style. Again, he’s someone to keep an eye on over the long haul, especially if the Falcons break up the Freeman/Coleman tandem.
I asked RB Brian Hill to describe his running style... His response: Violent pic.twitter.com/dx1tXMzciX— Kelsey Conway (@FalconsKelsey) May 13, 2017
Scantling is one of my sleeper picks for the practice squad because the Falcons went out of their way to get an incredibly dynamic athlete who they have to know isn’t going to get up to speed as a receiver in year one. He could be a big problem for defenses in 2018 or later if he can up to speed fast enough, though.
Former University of Georgia decathlete Garrett Scantling transitioning back to football... https://t.co/FNDgSvQ3zU pic.twitter.com/AHvHPB8xL5— vaughn mcclure (@vxmcclure23) May 13, 2017
Finally, Taylor Reynolds gets a nod from Vaughn McClure for a head-turning interception. The Falcons never seem to have as many cornerbacks as they want, and I watched Reynolds enough to think his combination of size, playmaking ability, and pure ability make him an interesting piece of clay for Dan Quinn and company to mold. He may very well end up on the practice squad.
Nice pick by Taylor Reynolds from James Madison, undrafted corner— vaughn mcclure (@vxmcclure23) May 13, 2017