Atlanta Falcons Position Preview: Wide Receivers

Posted on May 23 2015 - 5:18pm by Michael Arkin

WR 1: Julio Jones

Julio Jones is the best wide receiver on the Atlanta Falcons. He is one of the top receivers in the NFL. There is not much analysis to do on Jones. His play is spectacular and he is a physical freak. Last year against Green Bay, he had 259 receiving yards and couldn’t even finish the game! Barring an injury, Jones is the primary wide receiver on the Falcons roster.

WR 2: Roddy White

After playing ten years in the NFL, Falcon fans still love the way Roddy White plays. As White continues to age, his explosion has faded in recent years. White’s high football IQ is key though, as he knows all the veteran moves to perform to expectations. Former tight end, Tony Gonzalez, was Matt Ryan’s security blanket, but now it looks as White has become that weapon for Ryan. Anytime the Falcons need a first down, it seems like White is always making the catch to move the chains. Julio Jones and Roddy White are still a top receiving duo in the league, and expect both to have great years.

 

WR 3 (Slot): Devin Hester

Even though Hester is aging (32), his play as a Falcon was game-changing last year. In his first year with the Falcons, Hester caught 38 passes for 504 yards. He was a legitimate threat as a receiver, unlike most of the years he played for the Bears. Former offensive coordinator, Dirk Koetter, would set up screens, crossing routes, and passes out of the backfield in order to get Hester the ball. Hester’s explosion is top notch, as he is the all-time leader at 20 touchdowns off of punt or kick returns. He gets the nod on the other receivers because he and Matt Ryan are comfortable connection with each other.

 

Backups: Leonard Hankerson, Justin Hardy

Two newcomers come to the Atlanta Falcons in 2015, Leonard Hankerson and Justin Hardy. Hankerson has been in the league for three-years, and honestly has not impressed during his time. He can put that in the past, as he now will have a top quarterback in Matt Ryan throwing him the football. A player like Ryan can make anyone better, so expect Hankerson to improve in his fourth-year in Atlanta. Atlanta will then have the 2015 fourth-round draft selection, Justin Hardy. Hardy is a rookie, but he was very impressive during college. He holds the FBS record in receptions at 387 receptions. Hardy will need to improve his vertical route running to be more successful in the NFL. He is only a rookie, but he will be a good one for the next couple years. Expect Atlanta’s receiving corps to be impressive in 2015.

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