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Rookie tight end Alex Gray impressing Dan Quinn early

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Gray can’t play this year, but he’s one to watch.

Atlanta Falcons Practice Photo by Tim Warner/Getty Images

Alex Gray isn’t going to play this year, because he’s a recently converted rugby...er...who has the 11th slot on the team’s practice squad this year. As an international guy, he won’t get to see the field in the regular season until 2018, and obviously we have no idea if that will be with the Falcons or not.

For all that, Gray is doing what he needs to do and impressing the one guy he needs to impress: Dan Quinn.

“I can say he has improved a lot. Thomas Dimitroff can probably share this story. Earlier, before we played at Miami a few weeks ago, he said it was his first game as a Falcon. He said, ‘No, T.D., my first game.’ I thought for him to go change sports and play at the highest level quickly would be difficult. His transition has gone very well. He’s got good hands to play tight end. He’s got size and length. We’re getting him up to speed in the run game, but he’s a bright guy with formations, shifts and motions. With that part, he has done a good job and he does have very good hands.”

While Gray is just a fun story for this year, he’ll be someone to watch in 2018 for a team that likes its tight ends and doesn’t have a ton of established options just yet. Josh Perkins has not distinguished himself this summer, Eric Saubert is still pretty raw, and Levine Toilolo’s contract ensures he has very little job security beyond this year. Gray could easily hook on as a reserve next year if things break his way, so he’ll be worth watching in practices the rest of the way.