Atlanta Falcons Position Battles: Wide Receiver Projections

Atlanta Falcons, Calvin Ridley (Photo by Julio Aguilar/Getty Images)
Atlanta Falcons, Calvin Ridley (Photo by Julio Aguilar/Getty Images) /
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Atlanta Falcons
Atlanta Falcons, Russell Gage (Photo by Brett Carlsen/Getty Images) /

Projected Final Three Wide Receiver Spots

4. Russell Gage

Russell Gage had shown to be markedly improved, before being sidelined with a hip injury. In fact he’s been the Atlanta Falcons best wide receiver during the exhibition season, catching five passes for 65 yards.

Gage has not scored a touchdown this preseason. Yet more importantly he has not yet been charged with a dropped pass.

Only Kenjon Barner graded higher on the Atlanta Falcons offense, than Russell Gage has this preseason. Yet Gage has out snapped Barner 54 to 15.

Russell has earned his spot as the Atlanta Falcons number four wide receiver. The only question is rather he will be ready to play week one, after injuring his ribs against the New York Jets.

5. Justin Hardy

Justin Hardy has been mostly disappointing, starting just five games in his four-year career. Many fans including myself, felt the Atlanta Falcons might move on from Hardy this offseason. Yet to my surprise, he was resigned on a one year deal.

Justin Hardy has had an up and down preseason, catching 4/7 targets for 48 yards. Half of those yards came on one catch, in last week’s game against the Redskins. Yet his dropped touchdown pass against the Jets was cringe worthy.

Ultimately in order to unseat the incumbent, the younger undrafted players must be convincingly better and that just has not happened. With some of the younger wide receivers having trouble fielding punts, expect to see Justin Hardy waiving for fair catches in week one against the Minnesota Vikings.

6. Marcus Green

Marcus Green a wide receiver/ running back, was drafted in the sixth round out of Louisiana Monroe. He was the favorite to win the return man job, but he has provided a mixed bag in that department.

Green has dealt with hamstring issues, but still managed to gain 115 yards on five kick returns. Where he has been surprisingly unsuccessful is punt returns,

Marcus Green has gained just 16 yards on five punt returns. He has called for four fair catches. Most disturbingly Green has muffed two punts, as he has had trouble fielding the balls with backspin, that NFL punters often boot.

Marcus Green earned multiple all conference selections with his ability to return kicks in college, so he should be fine once he settles down. He has yet to make an impact on offense, but should get plenty of opportunities this week. A good showing by Green should lock down the final wide receiver spot.