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Qadree Ollison, good guy and big back, has an early leg up on the competition

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Things don’t look great for Brian Hill.

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ACC Championship - Clemson v Pittsburgh Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images

There have now been multiple profiles written by local media about Qadree Ollison, and they’ve served to reveal that the Falcons drafted a man with grace and wisdom to spare. There are few of us, I’d wager, who could live through his brother being murdered, be a rock for his family, and still find the focus and energy to be a hell of a football player. I’ve come away from learning more about Ollison with a deep appreciation for who he is as a person, especially after Jeff Schultz at The Athletic’s piece.

The Falcons have committed, as much as is possible, to adding high-character players into the locker room. That approach hasn’t always worked out and it hasn’t always translated on the field, but it’s a cultural and organizational decision that’s difficult to argue with. Ollison is the latest (and perhaps most powerful) example of a team liking what a player brings to to the roster and prizing the mettle and decency of the man, too.

Buried deep in this profile (which you need to read, along with Vaughn McClure’s piece on Ollison) is an on-the-field reason to feel good about Ollison’s fortunes in Atlanta. In summary:

Qadree Ollison is 6-foot-1 and 232 pounds, strong and athletic. Both of his parents played college basketball. Falcons general manager Thomas Dimitroff said he has been “looking for a big back for years, but the search has not always been fruitful.”

There’s a lot to unpack in that very casual statement from Dimitroff. The Falcons have a big back they took in the fifth round a couple of years back in Brian Hill, who was poached off the practice squad by the Bengals before returning and getting some late season run in 2018. Hill is not as large or in charge as Ollison, but he has power and some blocking acumen, so Dimitroff’s statement is a very bad sign for his chances of making the roster as anything but a fullback. The Falcons have largely tried to unearth bigger backs outside of the draft in recent years otherwise, with Terron Ward serving as the de facto option for about three seasons before the team unceremoniously moved on.

Ollison served as a personal protector on punt returns at Pitt, showed power and surprised speed in college, and has drawn inevitable comparison to Michael Turner. The Falcons are clearly thrilled they snagged him, so I think you can put this one down in pen: Ollison will be the #3 back in this offense at worst when the season opens.