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Falcons voluntary offseason program: Avery Williams tries offense and more notes from the first day

For one brief moment, what the team is actually doing stole the spotlight away from what they might do in the draft.

NFL: JAN 09 Saints at Falcons Photo by Rich von Biberstein/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The Falcons began their voluntary offseason program on Tuesday, bringing most of the current roster to Flowery Branch to begin the careful work of building a football team. While this is usually more of an opportunity for the team to get fans excited by sharing video and photos of returning and new player than to see any earth-shattering news.

That said, the first day was not without its intrigue. Let’s review a handful of notes.

Avery Williams on offense?

Williams was an incredibly dangerous returner in college, and that translated to a solid first season in the NFL. With the cornerback depth chart filling up and the Falcons’ offense looking shaky at the moment, the team might be willing to put that speed to good use.

Obviously, it would be irresponsible to draw any sweeping conclusions from this. The Falcons do have a dearth of playmakers on offense and about 12 cornerbacks under contract, though, so giving Williams even a quick look on offense makes sense if they think he can help.

The trajectory, if the Falcons are serious about this, would presumably be Russell Gage-like. That’s not a neat fit because Gage switched from defensive back to wide receiver partway through his college career instead of in the NFL, but Williams certainly has the speed, ball skills and instincts as a ball carrier to be legitimately interesting on the other side of the ball. We’ll see if this turns into anything.

Grady Jarrett absent

There are a million reasons why Jarrett may not have been at the first day of a voluntary offseason program, ranging from contractual issues to just kinda not feeling like it. The possibility that the first item could mean the team and Jarrett aren’t close on an extension or might be considering a trade obviously leaps to mind, given that all has been quiet on that front and the Falcons have been in the business of moving franchise icons of late.

As is the case with Williams, it’s too early to tell whether this is a blip or a sign of something much more significant. Given that the occasional report or rumor of a Jarrett extension hasn’t amounted to an extension and the team’s willingness to swap big contracts and stellar players for cap relief and draft picks, we should brace for the possibility that this turns into a protracted absence. The hope is still that the two sides get a deal done.

A.J. Terrell is hungry for more

If you expected Terrell to dust his hands and say last year was good enough, you have never read about an NFL player before. Given just how good Terrell was, his appetite for improvement is still intriguing.

The addition of Casey Heyward should help this secondary, but Terrell will be the player who makes it a great group, so long as he builds on last year. If he can punish a few more mistakes by causing more turnovers and turning in another fantastic season in coverage, he’s not going to be a second-team All-Pro this year.