The Falcons love capable blockers. They’ve taken pains to add players who are capable of blocking in addition to running and catching (Tyler Allgeier, Drake London) as well as players who just are really damn good at blocking and do it as their primary job (Parker Hesse, MyCole Pruitt). It’s no surprise that they’re always looking to add more players who can do the job at a high level.
That’s also why nobody should be stunned to see the Falcons adding a fullback to their practice squad, especially such a promising one. Ian Rapoport reports that former Northern Illinois Huskie Clint Ratkovich is joining Atlanta after recovering from an ACL tear he suffered in a pre-draft workout.
The #Falcons are signing FA FB Clint Ratkovich to the practice squad, source said. He was one of the draft’s top fullbacks before he tore his ACL in a private workout with the #Packers. Now, he lands in Atlanta with an eye toward the future.— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) December 27, 2022
As a senior in 2021, Ratkovich played in 14 games, piling up 461 yards and 13 rushing touchdowns in addition to 124 receiving yards and another two touchdowns through the air. He’s a physical, versatile player at the position and has drawn some comparisons to 49ers standout Kyle Juszczyk, but naturally teams were also eyeing him for the strength of his blocking as well. The Falcons are always on the lookout for players who can do more than one thing well while still paving the way for their potent ground game, and Ratkovich could fit the bill.
The team is likely to carry him on the practice squad the final two games of the season, sign him to a one-year deal in the offseason, and then see how he looks in the spring and summer. If he’s a true standout, the team might part ways with longtime special teams standout and capable blocker Keith Smith and save a little cash in the process. In the much likelier case that he doesn’t outshine one of the more proven fullbacks in the game, they can evaluate Ratkovich as a long-term practice squad stash. It’s a move with zero risk and potentially quite a bit of upside, which is exactly the kind of move you’d like to see this team making at this stage of the season.
Give Ratkovich a warm welcome, and we’ll see if he can push his way onto the roster next year.