5 Bold Predictions for the Atlanta Falcons’ 2014 Training Camp

5 Bold Predictions for the Atlanta Falcons' 2014 Training Camp

Mike Smith
Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

The Atlanta Falcons are set to report to training camp on Thursday and will practice for the first time on Friday. Check out these five bold predictions regarding their summer.

5. Ricardo Allen Will Become Starting Nickel

Ricardo Allen
Pat Lovell-USA TODAY Sports

5. Ricardo Allen Will Become Starting Nickel

Ricardo Allen
Pat Lovell-USA TODAY Sports

Ricardo Allen, a fifth-round pick out of Purdue, enters camp as a depth piece, but he'll emerge from it as the starting nickel cornerback. While lacking the size and speed to contribute on the boundary, Allen has the quickness to cover slot receivers in the NFL. With the Falcons void of a surefire starter at the spot, Allen will seemingly come out of nowhere to snag it.

4. Peter Konz Won't Survive Final Cuts

Peter Konz
Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

4. Peter Konz Won't Survive Final Cuts

Peter Konz
Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

Former second-round pick Peter Konz has been a huge disappointment through two seasons. As a result of a porous 2013 campaign, in which Konz graded as Pro Football Focus' second-worst rated center among those who played at least 25 percent of their team's snaps, Joe Hawley is considered the heavy favorite to start at center for Atlanta in 2014. If the odds materialize, the Falcons should send Konz packing.

3. Pat Angerer Will Fill Sean Weatherspoon's Void

Pat Angerer
Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports

3. Pat Angerer Will Fill Sean Weatherspoon's Void

Pat Angerer
Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports

There's no downplaying how significant of a loss Sean Weatherspoon, who ruptured his Achilles during OTA's, is for the Falcons defense. To fill his void, Joplo Bartu and Prince Shembo have been projected to do battle in camp, but the recent signing of Pat Angerer, a former second-round pick, could mean Atlanta isn't comfortable with either starting next to Paul Worrilow. If (big if) Angerer can stay healthy, he's capable of earning the role.

2. Ra'Shede Hageman Will Earn Starting Role

Ra'Shede Hageman
Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

2. Ra'Shede Hageman Will Earn Starting Role

Ra'Shede Hageman
Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

The reasons why Minnesota product Ra'Shede Hageman wasn't a first-round pick are reasonable. His motor seemingly ran hot and cold at the collegiate level, which left questions about his effort and work ethic leading up to the draft. But there are very few linemen in the league who possess Hageman's athleticism. The potential is there to develop into an elite defender. He'll emerge as a starter sooner rather than later.

1. Devonta Freeman Will Outshine Steven Jackson

Devonta Freeman
Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

1. Devonta Freeman Will Outshine Steven Jackson

Devonta Freeman
Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

Rookie running back Devonta Freeman is expected to compete with Jacquizz Rodgers for Atlanta's No. 2 role in training camp. Not only does Freeman have what it takes to run away with that battle, he'll challenge Steven Jackson to become the offense's feature back. Freeman is seemingly polished enough to immediately produce, and Jackson is far from the same back who ran for 1,000 or more yards in eight straight seasons.


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