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Andy Levitre, Takk McKinley making progress in returns from injury

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The team will need both in 2018.

NFL: Atlanta Falcons at Chicago Bears Patrick Gorski-USA TODAY Sports

Good news, everyone! As expected, those Falcons dealing with injuries are making solid progress, so everything is good and there’s nothing to worry about here in late May.

Per ESPN’s Vaughn McClure, the team feels good about where three prominent injured Falcons are as the team kicks off a short stint of OTAs.

Levitre only played in 13 games last season because of a triceps injury, and he wound up missing most of the playoffs with that same ailment. It was the first time in his career Levitre didn’t play in all 16 games, and the Falcons will bring him along slowly to ensure he’s ready to go for the regular season. After re-structuring his contract, he should be the unquestioned starter again at left guard, assuming he’s healthy.

McKinley is recuperating from a shoulder ailment but should be all set for training camp, per just about everyone. Just about everyone has named McKinley as the Falcons’ 2018 breakout candidate, as well, and if he’s at 100% he’s going to be a monster as one of the team’s starting defensive ends.

Finally, we have Justin Hardy. He’s done quietly solid work in each of his three seasons in Atlanta, emerging as one of the team’s more reliable red zone threats and blocking effectively when called upon, but he’ll be no higher than fourth on the depth chart heading into the season and needs a strong camp and overall year to get a new contract from Atlanta in 2019. He should remain an effective option this year, though I’m not certain how many targets he’ll see in a crowded passing game.

I’m hopeful we won’t hear of any setbacks and all three will be healthy, major contributors for this football team in 2018. Let us speak it into existence.