Atlanta Falcons: Look out for the rookies in tonight’s game

Jun 15, 2016; Flowery Branch, GA, USA; Atlanta Falcons safety Keanu Neal (22) Mandatory Credit: Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports
Jun 15, 2016; Flowery Branch, GA, USA; Atlanta Falcons safety Keanu Neal (22) Mandatory Credit: Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports /

The Atlanta Falcons open up the preseason tonight in the Georgia Dome against the Washington Redskins. Preseason is an opportunity for the rookies and the newcomers to make an impression on the team. One question is, “Which rookies will impress in game one?”

The Atlanta Falcons have a lot of talented rookies on their roster. They are hoping that this class of rookies can contribute this year and help guide them to the playoffs. In the draft, the Falcons focused on defensive players, but there might be some offensive rookies that might stand out.

Due to Dan Quinn being a preacher, when it comes to competition. He will want to see the rookies compete tonight and fight for their position. Quinn will also want to see how each rookie responds to adversity throughout the game.

Defensive Side

The two main rookies that the coaches and the fans will be watching tonight will be De’Vondre Campbell and Deion Jones. Jones and Campbell are two of the Atlanta Falcons picks that look to make an impact this season. Another important note is that, D. Orlando Ledbetter is reporting that Keanu Neal, may miss tonight’s game with a “trunk” injury.

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Also Campbell has been turning heads in training camp and has the size and the speed to play either inside or outside linebacker. Jones, has been playing with speed as well, but is adjusting to the physicality and tackling of the NFL.

Offensive Side

On the offensive side of the ball, Austin Hooper was the top pick for the Falcons as a tight end out of Stanford. Hooper has great hands for the position and is a great route runner. The Falcons will look to use use him in the red zone and hope he creates mismatches with defenders.

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Along with Hooper, they did draft some offensive linemen in the later rounds, but have a good group at each position already. There are also some undrafted free agents to look out for tonight.


Jones and Campbell are the two most important draftees that will be watched tonight. If Neal is able to go, then he will become a player to watch for. It will also be interesting to see how the they use Hooper in the red zone.

Next: Atlanta Falcons release Tovell sign LB Matt Wells

They have a lot of rookies and undrafted free agents to look at and determine if they will make the final roster. Tonight’s game is the first in a series of tasks that will push the rookies and show which one of them is for real.