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Falcoholinks: All the Falcons news you need for Thursday, June 20

Links from The Dead Period.

Atlanta Falcons v New Orleans Saints Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images

With OTAs and minicamp firmly in the rear view, we set our sights on the opening of Falcons training camp next month. Get up to speed on what you may have missed with Thursday’s edition of Falcoholinks.

Reviewing the running backs and receivers

We continue our post-draft look at the Atlanta Falcons’ positional groups, this time zeroing in on the running backs and receivers.

With Devonta Freeman back at full health, an emerging Ito Smith, and rookie Qadree Ollison in the mix, 2019 seems like a strong year for the Falcons’ ground game.

The team also brought in veteran Kenjon Barner, undrafted free agent Tony Brooks-James, and Brian Hill is still kicking around. Freeman and Smith are locks, and Ollison appears to be the odds-on favorite for the third RB spot on the roster.

The wide receiving corps is another extremely strong unit, and should be one of the tops in the league. Julio Jones, Calvin Ridley, and Mohamed Sanu is a trio that cannot be ignored, but there’s also some new faces and depth behind that point scoring trifecta.

Breaking out the wallet

There are a few members of the Falcons squad who could be in line for new contracts this year, including one player who should absolutely not hit the open market. The Falcons have been very proactive with extending key players in-season, and 2019 shouldn’t be any different.

Locking up Julio

One of those extensions that looks likely to occur over the summer is for Falcons superstar wide receiver Julio Jones. A report emerged yesterday that the team is “confident” that they will reach an agreement with Jones prior to training camp, which is obviously terrific news for Julio’s Falcons future.

All about the ball

Damontae Kazee put the league on notice last year with his knack for taking away the football, and it’s an area of Atlanta’s defense that they are focusing in on in 2019: More plays on the football. The secondary will look a bit different with Kazee assuming the nickel corner role (pending Ricardo Allen’s successful recovery, of course), and second-year cornerback Isaiah Oliver getting the starting nod outside.