We’ve said before that Dan Quinn is a tinkerer, someone who is never fully happy with his roster construction, and is willing to try novel moves to coax improvement out of his group. It was a smashing success last year with C.J. Goodwin, a converted wide receiver who held down the Falcons’ fourth cornerback gig for a large chunk of the season and held his own.
It looks like Quinn’s going to be slightly less original than he was a year ago and go back to the well again, as the Falcons are switching practice squad receiver Deante Burton to wide receiver.
While the Goodwin comparison is obvious and inevitable, Burton isn’t quite as big and fast as Goodwin, though he posted a nearly identical broad jump measurement to Goodwin at his Pro Day and does move pretty well. He has the length, leaping ability, and general athleticism to make him intriguing enough to convert, overall, and Quinn gets another project at a position that is far from settled at the moment between Jalen Collins’ suspension and Blidi Wreh-Wilson and Deji Olatoye’s lack of job security.
Of course, we’ll append a cautionary note to this. Goodwin was a remarkable case of a player learning a new position basically on the fly and stepping into a role with success, something that seems unlikely to happen again with Burton. His best case is probably sneaking on to the back end of the roster late in the year and becoming a weekly inactive, with a better-than-decent chance that the move doesn’t work out and Burton winds up elsewhere. Such is the nature of projects and positional conversions.
As always with this positional conversions, we’ll root for him, but it’s no sure thing. The Falcons now have six wide receivers and cornerbacks on the active roster and one each on the practice squad, which means they should have the depth they’ll need to survive the early going.