The Atlanta Falcons are in somewhat of a rebuilding mode heading into the 2021 NFL season. After an off season that saw a lot changes from the front office, coaching staff, and roster; The Falcons will look to a handful of young talent to step up and be key contributors on both sides of the ball. Here are the Top 5 young players to watch for the Atlanta Falcons this season.
- Russel Gage – Gage will be under the most pressure out of all the young players. Gage will step into the number 2 wide receiver role and be counted on to take pressure away from Calvin Ridley. Last season he took advantage of Julio Jones’ absence recording 72 receptions for 786 yards and scoring 4 touchdowns. This year he will need to enhance those numbers for the offense to be more explosive.
- Marlon Davison – Davison is coming off an injury pled season where he saw limited time. He appeared in 8 games where he did not make much of an impact. Davison needs to help make an impact in the middle of the defense with Grady Jarrett to improve a defense that was last in many defensive categories in 2020.
- Matt Hennessey – Hennessey will most like be the starting center Week 1 against the Philadelphia Eagles. As a rookie he struggled as a pass protector up the middle. Over the offseason he worked on getting stronger and more aggressive to compete with opposing defensive linemen. Hennessey will need to be more consistent as a blocker to keep Matt Ryan upright and create running lanes for Mike Davis.
- AJ Terrell – After an unusual offseason in 2020, Terrell had a slow start to his rookie campaign while trying to carve his niche in the NFL. He eventually found his footing and turned in a good rookie season where he had 7 pass deflections, 3 forced fumbles, and one interception. Terrell will need to continue to improve his game become an elite corner.
- Kaleb McGary/Chris Lindstrom – I’m grouping both guys together because they were both drafted the same round and same year. Both have had some injury issues to the start of their career. McGary is currently on the PUP list due to an unknown injury. When he is healthy, McGary can be a dominant right tackle especially as a run blocker. He just needs to stay healthy. Right now, there is no timetable to when he will return. This means rookie Jaylen Mayfield could start at right tackle. Lindstrom was solid in 2020 starting in all 16 games after only appearing in 6 games his rookie season. If he continues to improve, Lindstrom has a chance to make a Pro Bowl this year.