The Inexperienced Options
The Atlanta Falcons did use two day three draft picks on rookies this year. The team traded up in the fourth round to select Kendall Sheffield from Ohio State University. The former track star is 5’11 with blazing speed, so he will certainly be a candidate at the nickel back position. However Sheffield is recovering from a partially torn pectoral muscle at the combine and has trouble finding the ball in the air. He received a 76.5 coverage grade by Pro Football Focus for his performance in college last season. At this point he seems more like a project player, that was drafted more for his physical talent than his NFL readiness. Should Sheffield make it onto the field, his speed will be useful as a blitzer from the slot. For an in-depth look at Kendall Sheffield read this article.
The Atlanta Falcons YouTube channel provides us with a nice highlight reel of Kendall Sheffield in college:
Jordan Miller was drafted in round five by Atlanta out of the University of Washington. He posted a 71.0 PFF coverage grade in college last season, after earning grades in the 80s his sophomore and junior seasons. He is 6’1 and has just average change of direction, so he is another cornerback who is best suited to play outside. Read this article for more on Jordan Miller.
The Atlanta Falcons YouTube channel also gives us highlights of Jordan Miller in college via the following video:
Atlanta has a few other long shot options, attempting to make the roster at the cornerback position. Ryan Neal is a 6’3 defensive back that played in one game for the Atlanta Falcons last season. He originally entered the NFL as an undrafted free agent out of Southern Illinois. Taveze Calhoun is another option at cornerback. He’s another tall defensive back at 6’1. Calhoun who was undrafted out of Mississippi State in 2016, spent last season on the Falcons practice squad.
The Atlanta Falcons also signed two undrafted candidates this year, to join the cornerback competition. The team signed 6’0 Rashard Causey from the University of Central Florida and 6’2 Jayson Stanley a local product from the University of Georgia. Stanley’s story is an interesting one, that local football fans will be following because he is attempting to make the switch to cornerback at the NFL level, after playing wide receiver for the Georgia Bulldogs. For more on Stanley click here. None of these long shot options should be counted out, as we have seen many undrafted players be productive in the NFL, some have even developed into stars.