Ben Kotwica comments on the Falcons return specialist situation

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One thing many people thought the Falcons would focus on in the draft, especially in the later rounds, is finding a return specialist, with Kenjon Barner no longer on the team. Dan Quinn suggested earlier in the offseason that Brandon Powell, an undrafted wide receiver out of Florida, was the leader in the clubhouse for the job, but he has minimal experience returning kicks and punts in the NFL.

However, the Falcons elected to focus strictly on defense with their six picks, selecting only one offensive player and a punter in the seventh round, opening up the competition for several guys in-house. And right now, three players are in the lead, according to Atlanta’s second-year special teams coordinator, Ben Kotwica. Along with Powell, Olamide Zaccheus, and the recently acquired Chris Rowland are the frontrunners for the job.

Zaccheus was an undrafted free agent last year and ended up appearing in ten games for the Falcons, catching three balls for 115 yards. You will best remember him for his 93-yard touchdown catch against the Carolina Panthers when he showed just how explosive he can be.

The Falcons signed Rowland as an undrafted free agent just a few weeks ago after posting silly numbers at Tennessee State this past season, catching 104 balls for 1,437 yards and eight touchdowns. He lacks size at 5’8″, 180 pounds so it will be challenging for him to work his way up the Falcons depth chart at wide receiver. However, he could carve out a role for himself as a returner.

According to Jason Butt of The Athletic, both Powell and Rowland have sent videos of themselves to Kotwica catching punts for evaluation.


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