Falcons: Under the radar talents showing promise early on

cfm1907271250 atlantafalcons trainingcamp

Tuesday marks the last day of Falcons training camp. Of course, they also already played their first preseason game last Thursday in Canton for the annual Hall-of-Fame Game. Few starters competed, but it did give the coaching staff a chance to see some of the rookies in action for the first time along with veterans who are trying to make the team.

Some of these players performed encouragingly in Thursday’s game; several others have had their names tossed around constantly during training camp. This is a list made up of four guys who won’t be starting but could make an impact at some point during the season or in the future.

Russell Gage

Gage is a bouncy athlete out of LSU. He was primarily used on special teams as a rookie but got some looks at receiver as the Falcons fell out of contention. The coaches liked what they saw from him last year, and so far, he’s only built on that reputation.

Since receivers Julio Jones and Calvin Ridley have dealt with minor injuries, Gage has benefitted from the opportunity to work with Matt Ryan and the first team. Here’s him making an outstanding grab on a pass from Ryan at Sunday’s military appreciation practice.

To McFadden’s credit, he has consistently bragged on how Gage has looked throughout this summer. The second-year receiver also played sparingly in the Hall-of-Fame Game but did make a nice 21-yard snag near the sideline.

With so many pass catchers on the roster, it will be difficult for Gage to carve out a significant role without any injuries. However, it is fathomable that he could push Justin Hardy for the fourth wide-receiver job.

John Cominsky

Cominsky is a rookie out of small Charleston University in West Virginia. Dan Quinn has stated this summer that he loves his work ethic and desire to learn. It showed in the Hall-of-Fame Game.

Cominsky led the team with six tackles and even recovered a fumble. Of those six tackles, he had one for loss and a sack. Here’s a quick rip move to the inside, stopping the ball carrier before he could get back to the line of scrimmage.

If guys like the newly acquired Allen Bailey, John Cominsky, and Tyler Davison can play signficant roles across the defensive line, this Falcons defense will be miles better.

Christian Blake

Blake will have a difficult time making the Falcons roster with all their options at receiver, but that doesn’t mean another team will not appreciate what he brings to the table. Before the first preseason game, Blake was getting a lot of love from players and coaches. Julio Jones even listed him as one of the receivers he is excited to watch this preseason.

 

Blake proved him right on Thursday, leading the team in receiving yards and grading out as the second highest offensive player according to Pro Football Focus.

Brian Hill

Like everyone on this list, Dan Quinn has mentioned Brian Hill as a player who enjoyed a terrific training camp. It’s nice to see that translate on the field as well. Of all the potential second string running backs, Hill received the bulk of the carries in the Hall-of-Fame game. He ran the ball 11 times for 57 yards and also caught a touchdown pass at the goal line.

More than anything, Hill looked the part. He ran hard, fast, and with a purpose. That will catch the coaches’ attention quickly. At this point, the Wyoming alumn remains an underdog to make the team behind Ito Smith and Qadree Ollison. However, Dan Quinn has stated that no running back besides Devonta Freeman has seperated themselves, so Hill has a chance to earn a roster spot with a few more perormances like these in the preseason.

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