We’re two days into rookie minicamp with one more day to go, and while there’s not much in the way of earth-shattering happenings, the coaching staff is getting an early look at their 2022 draft class. Given how impactful we all expect that class to be, both this year and in the future, that’s at least exciting.
Here’s a brief roundup of what reporters and coaches have seen and heard through the first two days.
Desmond Ridder leading early
The Falcons may have waited until the third round to take Ridder, but they may not be wait long to get him in the lineup. Ridder has a legitimate chance to push Marcus Mariota for the starting job this summer, and even if he doesn’t get it, he’ll almost certainly wind up starting games this year.
That’s why it’s good to hear that he’s hitting the ground running, even if it’s very early. D. Orlando Ledbetter at the Atlanta Journal-Constitution said he “looked good getting things organized” and seems to be comfortable stepping onto the field and leading some drills. He’s also got the never satisfied attitude running early.
Falcons QB Desmond Ridder said he wasn’t thrilled with execution in rookie minicamp the last two days.— Michael Rothstein (@mikerothstein) May 14, 2022
(That happens in a lot of rookie minicamps) pic.twitter.com/TOvXTRKPj8
Keep an eye on Ridder once the veterans show up, because the competition between him and Mariota is one of the biggest story lines of the offseason. Obviously, Ridder grabbing the starting job and proving to be a franchise-caliber quarterback would be an amazing stroke of fortune for a team that hasn’t had a lot of that of late.
Drake London’s healthy
The first round receiver is expected to be one of the featured weapons for this offense, and a difference maker from the jump. If Atlanta’s passing game is going to be more than mediocre this season, London and Kyle Pitts are going to need to be pretty terrific.
So it helps a lot if London is fully recovered from the ankle injury that cost him time this past season, and happily, he appears to be.
Falcons WR Drake London said he did everything at first day of rookie minicamp — so he’s good to go with the ankle injury he suffered last year. pic.twitter.com/YqvQ3dF2HQ— Michael Rothstein (@mikerothstein) May 13, 2022
The Falcons have talked about bringing their rookies along fairly slowly initially, but London should receive plenty of work this summer with the Falcons talking about getting their expected starters more snaps in preseason.
Crowded backfield this summer
Did you forget about Caleb Huntley? Maybe you shouldn’t.
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution noted that Huntley looked good running the ball on day one of minicamp, which makes it obvious he’s not going to go away quietly after turning in a strong summer a year ago. Even with Mike Davis out of the picture, the running back group is a crowded one with rookie Tyler Allgeier, veterans Cordarrelle Patterson, Damien Williams, and Qadree Ollison, as well as Huntley. A physical runner who turned some heads in training camp and preseason, Huntley still has a shot to push Ollison this year with another good camp in 2022, and the fact that he looks healthy and strong early on is a good sign for him.
Edwards expected to compete for major role
In addition, Arthur Smith commented on Bryan Edwards, calling him “a guy who can win outside one-on-one, a guy certainly who knows how to play in traffic inside the numbers.” We won’t see Edwards until veterans join up for a future minicamp and organized team activities, but I don’t think it’s a stretch to say he’ll be pushing for a starting job.
We’ll see what the final day of rookie minicamp brings and whether the Falcons end up adding or subtracting from the roster based on what they’ve seen this weekend, but