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Falcons reportedly sign WR Mack Hollins

Coming off a career year, Hollins will land in Atlanta with a chance at a major role.

San Francisco 49ers v Las Vegas Raiders Photo by Chris Unger/Getty Images

We’ve been waiting for the Falcons to add to a pretty thin wide receiver depth chart, given that the team has basically zero proven options beyond Drake London. On Sunday night, it appears they’ve added a starting option, with former Raider Mack Hollins reportedly set to sign with Atlanta.

The report comes from Taylor Vippolis, a reporter with Inside Carolina, which the covers University of North Carolina. Vippolis presumably has a connection with Hollins or someone in his circle, given that Hollins is a UNC alum.

I’ve been mulling Hollins as an option for Atlanta since January, when I wrote about potential options for the Falcons at wide receiver. As I wrote at the time:

“Solid is the word to describe Hollins. Coming off a career-best year where he was finally utilized as a starter and heading into his age-30 season, Hollins showed he can be a good volume option and possession receiver with the size (6’4”, 220) and physicality that role implies. Pro Football Focus had him among their best-rated receivers as a run blocker, as well, which would make him appealing for a Falcons offense that is still going to focus a lot of time and energy on the ground game.”

That’s pretty much the gist of it. Hollins is a physical player who will fare well in this offense with his blocking chops, and that plus his height and solid yards after the catch ability make him a natural fit for the offense. His 74.6 run blocking grade from Pro Football Focus was the sixth-best mark in the NFL last year, and he was the only in the top ten in that particular metric who played over 1,000 snaps last year. Even if the Falcons wind up stacking up more receivers—and we shouldn’t rule that out—Hollins will find his way on the field for his blocking alone.

We especially shouldn’t rule that out after learning how reasonable his one-year contract is.

Last season with the Raiders, Hollins was a full-time starter for the first time in his career and was targeted 94 times, reeling in 57 catches for 690 yards and four touchdowns and adding 40 yards on four carries. He won’t get that many targets again in this run-heavy offense unless something goes awry, but Hollins will be the early favorite for #2 receiver duties in Atlanta unless they draft someone early, and should be a fine third or fourth option in the passing game for the short-term. It’s worth noting that he has played a significant role on special teams in the past, particularly for the Dolphins.

Hollins previously spent time with the Eagles and Dolphins, never starting more than three games in a season but providing some flashes early in Philadelphia and in 2021 with Miami. He’s scored eight touchdowns over the past two seasons and appears to be rounding into form a bit as he prepares to enter his 30s, and the Falcons are banking on him being able to build on that solid 17 game season in Las Vegas.

The team now has size to spare among their receiving options, with Kyle Pitts, Drake London, Hollins, and recent addition Jonnu Smith all standing at 6’3” and above. The hope will be that they’ll all be capable targets for Desmond Ridder, the all-but-announced second year starter at quarterback, and that the Falcons can have a far more productive passing game than they managed in 2022 to pair with what should be one of the league’s elite rushing attacks. If all goes well, Hollins will help with both.

Give Hollins a warm welcome to Atlanta, and we’ll see what other changes are coming for a receiving corps that still needs additions.