As training camp approaches for the Atlanta Falcons, the 2012 draft class has to prepare to make their impressions on the team and the coaching staff. Every one of this year’s draft picks will be in a battle to not only make the team, but possibly start. So who will rookie will be the biggest impact player?
In the second round, the Falcons picked center Peter Konz out of Wisconsin. Konz has been getting reps at right guard and at center, and could possibly challenge for either spot. The chances are he’ll be starting at right guard, and if he plays up to his potential – and the coaches hopes – he’ll have a huge impact on both the run game and on pass protection.
In the third round Atlanta took Southern Mississippi tackle, Lamar Holmes. It’s no secret the Falcons haven’t been happy with the play of anyone at left tackle recently. Holmes was drafted to try to create some competition, especially for Sam Baker, who has largely been considered a bust to this point. However, Holmes was already injured during the rookie mini-camp, and had to sit out all of the other OTA’s. He’s going to have to really step up in training camp if he wants to be considered viable competition for a tackle spot.
Fullback Bradie Ewing could be the sleeper of this year’s draft class. With the Falcons releasing Ovie Mughelli, it will be up to Ewing to show that he’s ready to not only catch the ball out of the backfield and run with it, but that he can be that blocking fullback that the Falcons’ running game depends on so much. If Ewing applies himself to really learn the Falcons’ playbook and develops his blocking techniques, he could really make a big difference to the offensive game plan.
Troy State University outside linebacker/defensive end Jonathan Massaquoi might be just the bookend that the Falcons need to compliment Pro Bowl defensive end John Abraham. The Falcons wanted to add depth to the linebacker and end position, and Massaquoi looks to be doing just fine at both. I’m not sure that Massaquoi is ready to step in with the experienced linebackers that the Falcons have, but he could certainly step in pretty quickly at defensive end if he picks up things quickly from both Abraham and the coaches.
Strong safety Charles Mitchell out of Mississippi State was a reach pick in the sixth round, and with the safeties that the Falcons already had, plus free agent addition Chris Hope, Mitchell has very little chance of starting, or even making the roster. Should Atlanta sustain some injuries at safety, it’s possible you may see Mitchell, but chances are he’ll be relegated to a practice squad role.
South Carolina defensive tackle Travian Robertson is another one we will most likely not see after training camp. He lacks a lot of fundamentals, and will be a project. Right now the Falcons are more concerned about getting their money’s worth out of Peria Jerry, so unless Robertson shows the coaches something spectacular during camp, he’ll likely be put on the back burner.
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