The Falcons start training camp in a few days, and among all the position battles and bounceback story lines we’ll be exploring, there are players who will get lost in the shuffle. Some of those players might surprise you.
Here are four players you should keep a close eye on, because they have talent and opportunity, even if they remain longshots to make it to the 53 man roster.
FB Tyler Renew
Renew has a huge opportunity. He’s a physical runner, and a decent enough receiving option for a fullback. The Falcons prize versatility at fullback and may do so even more with Steve Sarkisian in the fold, and Renew needs only to beat out Derrick Coleman, a solid but not great fullback who didn’t play in the NFL in 2016. Don’t rule out him winning.
WR Anthony Dable
The Falcons have a settled wide receiver corps between Julio Jones, Mohamed Sanu, Taylor Gabriel, and Justin Hardy, but there’s one to two open spots left. Dable is a big, physical receiver with wheels, and while he learned all about American football from Quarterback Club video games (yes!), talent and upside can win out at the back end of the roster under Dan Quinn.
T Daniel Brunskill
Andreas Knappe is the early favorite for swing tackle, but that’s based more on the team’s desire for him post-draft and his obvious physical capabilities than anything else. Brunskill is severely undersized for a tackle coming into training camp, but he quietly was very good in college, and if he can put on the pounds he could make this battle more interesting than we might anticipate.
S Sharrod Neasman
I like Neasman. He forced his way on to the active roster last year and offers some valuable physicality at the position, and with Kemal Ishmael moving to linebacker, he should be first in line if the team’s keeping four true safeties. The problem is that with Damontae Kazee and Brian Poole in the fold, it’s not clear the team will do so. Neasman will need to stand out, or he’s likely ticketed for the practice squad.
Do you like any of those four players to make the final roster? I think Renew and Neasman, at the very least, have a real shot.