Leonard Hankerson: The Atlanta Falcons’ WR Catalyst


Leonard Hankerson comes to the Atlanta Falcons after an up and down tenure with the Washington Redskins.  A former promising wideout prospect out of Miami (FL), Hank could become the catalyst in the Atlanta receiving unit to make it the best in the NFL in 2015.

The Atlanta Falcons have an elite passing game entering 2015.  With a Top 10 passer in Matt Ryan, a Top 5 deep threat in Julio Jones, and a savvy veteran beginning to make his case for Canton in Roddy White, those three players alone give the Dirty Birds a Top 10 passing attack.

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New offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan plans to use all three returning Atlanta Falcons wideouts including return specialist Devin Hester who made some keys plays on offense for former OC Dirk Koetter last fall.  Shanahan also has many interesting weapons that are new to Flowery Branch, one of which is Leonard Hankerson.

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  • Throughout Minicamp, Organized Team Activities (OTA’s) and the first four practices of training camp, Atlanta Falcons new Head Coach Dan Quinn has often praised the work ethic and grit of Leonard Hankerson.  Hank, in my opinion, was a great under-the-radar move made by Atlanta GM Thomas Dimitroff. When healthy, I liked Hankerson’s versatility and ability to coexist in a deep WR corps after four years in a sound unit with Washington.

    Though rookie WR Justin Hardy seems like a potential star in the making (the next Roddy White or Randall Cobb), I see Hankerson’s productivity being key in getting the Falcons’ WR group into that discussion of the very best in football.

    We know what Julio Jones and Roddy White will bring to the table.  Many expect Justin Hardy to command many targets as a solid slot receiver, even as a rookie.  And anything Devin Hester contributes to in the passing game is an added bonus for the WR corps.  Should Hank and Hardy challenge for the 3rd receiver spot all season long, Atlanta could have themselves an even better unit than last year’s.

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    I expect that Leonard Hankerson and Justin Hardy to adequately make up for the loss of Harry Douglas to the Tennessee Titans.  Atlanta now has five receiver threats for Matt Ryan to throw the ball to.  This doesn’t even include the improving tight end group and the screen game with the running backs.

    Should Leonard Hankerson have a strong first year with the Atlanta Falcons, his new team could have the deepest wide receiver corps in football.  Who else can say that they will have five major contributors coming from their wideouts in 2015?  Maybe the Denver Broncos but that’s it.  Even in Kyle Shanahan’s more balanced offensive attack, expect QB Matt Ryan to still throw for over 4,000 yards through the air.

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