We’re in the depths of the offseason here at The Falcoholic, and there has been little to nothing in the way of interesting news in ages. So, we’ll have to make some content of our own in the meantime. Over the next few weeks, I’ll be bringing you a new Player Profile series where we’ll take a look at each of the players on Atlanta’s roster. I’ll break down their measurables, past production, and try to project their 2020 season with the Falcons.
After taking a look at the projected starters, we now turn our attention to the depth on the Falcons’ roster. Today, I’ll be discussing RB Qadree Ollison—a 5th-round pick in 2019 who showed some promising goal-line and short-yardage potential during his rookie season.
RB Qadree Ollison
Age: 23 (24 during 2020 season)
Contract: $752K cap hit in 2020, rookie contract through 2022 ($824K APY)
Career Production: 8 games played | 22 carries for 50 yards (2.3 YPC), 4 TD | 1 reception for 7 yards (7.0 YPR)
2019 Production: Same as above
Previous Teams: Drafted in the 5th round (#152 overall) by the Atlanta Falcons (2019-present)
After losing Tevin Coleman in free agency during the 2019 offseason, there was significant buzz about the Falcons adding another RB to take on his role. While the team still had Devonta Freeman, Ito Smith, and Brian Hill, none filled the shoes of the speedy, ultra-athletic Coleman. Atlanta drafting a RB in the fifth round of the 2019 NFL Draft wasn’t surprising, but the player selected certainly was.
Qadree Ollison wasn’t a RB that was high on the list for many analysts. He had a strong freshman season at Pitt as a replacement for the injured James Conner, where he rushed for 1121 yards and 11 TDs (5.3 YPC). Ollison would return to a depth role over the next two seasons before once again taking over the starting job after Conner left for the NFL. He’d have the best season of his career in 2018, putting up 1213 yards and 11 TD (6.3 YPC).
However, Ollison was a puzzling pick because he didn’t really match the mold of Tevin Coleman at all. While Coleman is a tall zone-scheme speed back, Ollison is a big, lumbering power back. He’s good at what he does: Ollison is a handful to tackle, has quality contact balance and decision-making skills, and impressive speed for his size. But he didn’t really fit Atlanta’s wide-zone scheme offense, and certainly didn’t have the traits to replace Coleman’s role in the offense.
Ollison didn’t get many opportunities to play in 2019, but did carve out a role as a short-yardage and goal-line back. He put up 4 TDs on just 22 carries, which is impressive despite his pedestrian 2.3 YPC average. This is likely where he’s best in the NFL—a physical, power option to gain a yard or two when needed. However, I’m not sure how much of a role Ollison will have with Todd Gurley in the fold. Gurley’s best traits right now are probably the same as Ollison’s, with Ito Smith offering something in the passing game and Brian Hill a better all-around option.
Projection: Qadree Ollison is an imposing power back with surprising speed for his size, but his role in the offense is probably already filled by Todd Gurley. He’ll almost certainly make the roster as a quality reserve option, but Ollison is likely to be a gameday inactive most weeks unless he manages to beat out Ito Smith or Brian Hill.