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) /
3 of 3
Atlanta Falcons
Atlanta Falcons, Christian Blake (Photo by Mark Brown/Getty Images) /

Wide Receivers On the Outside Looking In

Christian Blake – Northern Illinois

Olamide Zaccheaus – Virginia

C.J. Worton – Florida International

Devin Gray – Cincinnati

Kahlil Lewis – Cincinnati

Shawn Bane – Northwest Missouri State

Among the players who are currently on the outside looking in, Olamide Zaccheaus has the second most catches with 8 and the most yards with 85. In fact his 85 yards leads all Atlanta Falcons wide receivers in the preseason.

On the negative side, he has only caught half of the targets sent his way. He has not actually dropped a pass, but a miscue did lead to an interception against the Denver Broncos.

Zaccheaus has also failed to take advantage of opportunities in the return game. He has gained zero yards on three punt returns, including two mishandled kicks. He has also been flagged for a penalty. Olamide will need a huge performance against the Jacksonville Jaguars, to get back into the roster conversion.

Christian Blake leads all Atlanta Falcons wide receivers with nine catches, trying him with tight end Jaeden Graham for the team lead this exhibition season. Three of those catches have gone for first downs.

Blake has gained 70 yards, placing him third among his position. Quarterbacks have a rating of 82.2 when targeting the 6’1 Christian Blake, as opposed to 39.8 when throwing towards Olamide Zaccheaus, who stands 5’8, according to Pro Football Focus.

With a reception percentage of 69.2, Christian Blake is more of a possession receiver than an explosive playmaker, but sure handed guys are always needed. Blake has the best chance of any hopeful, of actually making the Atlanta Falcons roster, should the team give up on Marcus Green, or decide to develop a younger receiver instead of keeping Justin Hardy.

C.J. Worton is third among Atlanta Falcons receivers in catches and yards. He has been quite the chain mover as a possession receiver, with all six of his catches going for first downs.

Worton has reeled in 54.2 percent of his targets and quarterbacks have a rating of 75.2 when throwing his way. The unfortunate thing for C.J. Worton, is he has dropped two passes. He has also drawn one flag.

Despite his mishaps, a strong game in the Atlanta Falcons preseason finale, could put him in the mix for a spot on the roster or practice squad.

Kahlil Lewis is the last candidate that still has an outside shot at making the Atlanta Falcons roster. Though at this point he seems like a longshot.

Lewis has only reeled in four passes, but three have gone for first downs and his 14.3 yards per reception, leads all Atlanta Falcons wide receivers in the preseason. This shows he has some big play ability.

Quarterbacks have an 83.6 grade when targeting Lewis. This trails only starters Calvin Ridley and Mohamed Sanu, among the team’s pass catchers.

Lewis does have one drop during the team’s first four preseason games. It would take a huge week of practice and a Huge game, but I would not totally count him out of the race yet.

Preseason Wide Receiver Stats

Ridley – REC:3 YDS:37 YPR:12.3 REC%:75

Sanu – REC:3 YDS:23 YPR:7.7 REC%:75

Hardy – REC:4 YDS:48 YPR:12 REC%:57.1 DRP:1

Blake – REC:9 YDS:70 YPR:7.8 REC%:69.2

Zaccheaus – REC:8 YDS:85 YPR:10.6 REC%:50

Worton – REC:6 YD:73 YPR:12.2 REC%:54.5 DRP:2

Lewis – REC:4 YDS:57 YPR:14.3 REC%:57.1 DRP:1

Gray – REC:5 YDS:66 YPR:13.2 REC%:41.7

Bane – REC:3 YDS:39 YPR:13 REC%:50

Green – 1 Target, 1 Drop

Cast your vote for who you think should make the Atlanta Falcons roster:

The competition should be heated for the Atlanta Falcons last roster spot at wide receiver. There could even be two spots up for grabs.

One thing to watch for against the Jaguars, will be how much playing time Justin Hardy receives. If he is held out, then he has likely solidified his position on the roster. However if he plays, the competition is still on. While it would be a mild surprise to see Justin Hardy get cut, the competition for the last wide receiver spot will be fun to watch.

Regardless of who wins the competition, the Atlanta Falcons should come away with a good developmental prospect. They should also secure a solid practice squad candidate, should they choose.

More. Atlanta Falcons: Special Teams in Serious Question with Loss. light

Having talented veterans such and Julio Jones and Mohamed Sanu along with the emerging Calvin Ridley and other young talented players, wide receivers should again be a position of strength for the Atlanta Falcons.

For more grades, advanced statistics and more at Pro Football Focus, subscribe to PFF’s EDGE or ELITE subscriptions at