Atlanta Falcons breakout candidates: Russell Gage

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The Falcons have a load of receptions up for grabs in 2020 following the departures of Mohamed Sanu, Austin Hooper, and Devonta Freeman. A lot of those will go to Calvin Ridley, who should be in for a breakout campaign himself. However, the Falcons new slot man has made it known big things are coming in 2020.

Russell Gage

Some Falcons fans expect Laquon Treadwell to work his way into the starting lineup as the team’s third wide receiver. He’s the flashy name that was a former first-round pick out of Ole Miss. However, it’s no fluke that Treadwell hasn’t been able to eclipse 800 yards in his four-year career. Gage might have reached that threshold last year alone had he not began the year as the team’s fourth wide receiver.

The former LSU Tiger was a sixth-round selection in the 2018 draft. As a rookie, he was primarily used as a special teamer, where he thrived. However, Gage proved he was a lot more than that last offseason, making it easier to part ways with Mohamed Sanu. He was a matchup nightmare way more often than people realize because of his speed, athleticism, and the weapons around him, allowing him to catch 44 balls for 402 yards in the last nine games of the season.

Falcons offensive coordinator, Dirk Koetter, told the media last month that we could see a “jump” in his production this season. He will be the full-time third receiver in a pass-happy offense that features two other pass-catchers that will require all the attention. Matt Ryan has already shown a ton of trust in him, which will only grow with more experience. On top of that, there are gobs of targets up for grabs with so many offensive weapons moving on from last year.

While I’ve talked about a lot of these breakout candidates as a possibility, Gage is one of the ones I am most confident about. He will easily win the job over Laquon Treadwell and become a reliable target for Matt Ryan for years to come. He’s the perfect complement to Julio Jones and Calvin Ridley, and I can’t wait to see what he does this year in Dirk Koetter’s offense.


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