2014 DRAFT GUIDE
Falcons rookies pass crash course in intense camp

By CHARLES ODUM - AP Sports Writer
    2013-05-06 15:46

FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. (AP) - Mike Smith tested Atlanta Falcons rookies with an overload of information in a short period of time.

The coach said the first-year players survived the test during three practices at the rookie camp. The rookie class, topped by Atlanta's first two draft picks, cornerbacks Desmond Trufant and Robert Alford, also showed skills to impress Smith and his staff.

``We gave them a whole bunch the last three days and I think they handled it extremely well,'' Smith said after the final session on Sunday. ``We wanted to see how they could handle the things mentally and they did a very nice job.''

The draft picks were joined by undrafted rookie free agents signed by the team and first-year players invited for tryouts. It was the start of what Smith said is the ``recalibration'' of the Falcons roster.

Highlights included the speed of Trufant and Alford, the strength and pass-rush promise of defensive end Malliciah Goodman and the size and good hands of 6-foot-8 tight end Levine Toilolo.

Trufant, the first-round pick from Washington, and Alford, the second-round pick from Southeastern Louisiana, needed no introduction. Alford had an 88-yard kickoff return to open the Senior Bowl, and he was denied a touchdown when caught by Trufant.

``I haven't even said anything yet,'' Trufant said with a smile as he looked over at Alford. ``I'm about to say something though. It's all good. He's a great player and we're just going to get better together.''

Alford said the two developed ``camaraderie'' at the Senior Bowl that will be strengthened as they continue to be linked at cornerback and as the Falcons' top 2013 draft picks.

``We're always talking football,'' Alford said. ``Anything we have questions about, we can ask each other and help each other get better.''

Alford's long return was part of his strong Senior Bowl performance that impressed Falcons general manager Thomas Dimitroff. Alford, who returned a punt 75 yards for a touchdown in his senior season, said he had to give Trufant credit for keeping him out of the end zone on the long kickoff return.

``It was just a play that happened,'' Alford said. ``He got me. I got a little tired on the long run and he got me.''

By drafting the two cornerbacks, the Falcons established a determination to fill needs in the draft. Dimitroff picked two defensive ends - Goodman and Stansly Maponga - and added more help at defensive back with safeties Zeke Motta and Ishmael Kemal.

Toilolo, meanwhile, towered over the class. He showed good hands in the rookie camp, disproving any thought he is just a big blocking tight end.

Toilolo had 50 catches, including 10 for touchdowns, at Stanford. He will have a year to take notes while playing behind Tony Gonzalez, who plans to retire after the 2013 season.

Toilolo looks like a basketball power forward in football pads.

``He's hard to miss out there,'' Smith said. ``He did a nice job improving in his understanding and his route running. I thought he caught the ball well. It's going to be fun to watch him be mentored by Tony Gonzalez.''

Toilolo, listed at 265 pounds, saw much of his action as a receiver in red-zone situations at Stanford. He said he also spent time as a blocker.

``I think when you're that size everyone wants to categorize you as a good blocker,'' Smith said. ``Obviously his efficiency in the red zone is well-documented. When you throw the ball to a guy in the red zone, you want to make sure he's going to catch the ball. So I think that kind of says what kind of hands he has.''

The Falcons released defensive end John Abraham after the season and signed free agent Osi Umenyiora from the Giants. Goodman has a chance to start with Umenyiora.

Maponga, recovering from a left foot injury, was only an observer during the rookie camp.

Quarterback Sean Renfree, a seventh-round pick from Duke, is recovering from a shoulder injury and couldn't throw during the camp. Renfree took snaps and made handoffs.

All the passing was handled by undrafted rookie Seth Doege of Texas Tech, and Graham Wilbert, in camp on a tryout from Florida Atlantic.

The Falcons will begin offseason team activities on May 28-30, followed by more work June 4-6 and June 11-14. The team's mandatory minicamp is June 18-20.

Fantasy Football Player Notes RSS FeedPLAYER NOTES

Peyton ManningDec 19 07:42p

Updating a previous report, Denver Broncos QB Peyton Manning (thigh) was officially limited in practice Friday, Dec. 19, but he threw more than he did than the day prior, [ More ]

Frank GoreDec 19 05:42p

San Francisco 49ers RB Frank Gore (concussion) was limited in practice Friday, Dec. 19, and is questionable for Week 16.

Keenan AllenDec 19 04:42p

San Diego Chargers RB Ryan Mathews (knee) and WR Keenan Allen (shoulder, ankle) have been ruled out for Week 16 against the San Francisco 49ers.

Cam NewtonDec 19 04:12p

Updating previous reports, Carolina Panthers QB Cam Newton (back) has yet to officially be cleared to play in Week 16 against the Cleveland Browns, but head coach Ron Rivera [ More ]

T Y HiltonDec 19 02:32p

Indianapolis Colts WR T.Y. Hilton (hamstring) missed practice all week but is questionable for Week 16 against the Dallas Cowboys.

Peyton ManningDec 19 02:22p

Denver Broncos QB Peyton Manning (thigh) was back to a full practice Friday, Dec. 19, after being limited Thursday, Dec. 18. Manning made several strong throws in the portion open to the media.

T Y HiltonDec 19 02:12p

Indianapolis Colts WR T.Y. Hilton (hamstring) missed practice again Friday, Dec. 19, and RTV6's Mike Chappell is convinced that Hilton will not play in Week 16 against the Dallas Cowboys.

C.J. SpillerDec 19 12:53p

Buffalo Bills RB C.J. Spiller (shoulder) has been added to the active roster and is probable for Week 16 against the Oakland Raiders.

Cam NewtonDec 19 12:52p

Carolina Panthers QB Cam Newton (back) is listed as probable for Week 16 against the Cleveland Browns.

Blake BortlesDec 19 12:12p

Jacksonville Jaguars QB Blake Bortles (foot) completed only 13 passes for 115 yards in the win over the Tennessee Titans Thursday, Dec. 18, but he didn't show any signs [ More ]

T Y HiltonDec 19 11:52a

Indianapolis Colts WR T.Y. Hilton (hamstring) is not participating in the portion of practice open to the media Friday, Dec. 19.

Julio JonesDec 19 11:22a

Atlanta Falcons WR Julio Jones (hip) is not participating in portion of practice open to the media Friday, Dec. 19.

DeMarco MurrayDec 19 10:52a

Dallas Cowboys RB DeMarco Murray (hand) is likely to play in Week 16, according to a source. Murray has a high threshold for pain, and according to the source, [ More ]

Eddie LacyDec 19 10:12a

Green Bay Packers RB Eddie Lacy (eye) said he wasn't able to read a teammate's nameplate a few feet away in the locker room Thursday, Dec. 18. Lacy said [ More ]

Leon WashingtonDec 18 11:32p

Tennessee Titans RB Leon Washington caught a team-high seven passes for 62 yards and a touchdown in the team's 21-13 loss to the Jacksonville Jaguars Thursday, Dec. 18. He [ More ]

Philip RiversDec 18 11:22p

San Diego Chargers QB Philip Rivers (back) looked good throwing the ball in the practice Thursday, Dec. 18, according to head coach Mike McCoy. 'Philip had an outstanding day,' [ More ]

Peyton ManningDec 18 07:22p

Denver Broncos QB Peyton Manning (thigh, illness) said his illness is behind him, and he was receiving treatment for his thigh Thursday, Dec. 18. Head coach John Fox called Manning day-to-day.

Roy MillerDec 18 07:12p

The Jacksonville Jaguars have declared DL Andre Branch, CB Jeremy Harris, SS Matt Daniels, DL Roy Miller, CB Teddy Williams, WR Tommy Streeter, OG Tyler Shatley inactive for Week 16.

Tommy StreeterDec 18 07:12p

The Jacksonville Jaguars have declared DL Andre Branch, CB Jeremy Harris, SS Matt Daniels, DL Roy Miller, CB Teddy Williams, WR Tommy Streeter, OG Tyler Shatley inactive for Week 16.

Kendall WrightDec 18 07:12p

Tennessee Titans WR Kendall Wright (hand) is active for Week 16 after being limited in practice all week.

Frank GoreDec 18 07:02p

San Francisco 49ers RB Frank Gore (concussion) continues through the concussion protocol this week, but head coach Jim Harbaugh anticipates Gore suiting up in Week 16 against the San [ More ]

Julius ThomasDec 18 06:52p

Denver Broncos TE Julius Thomas (ankle) played just 29 snaps in Week 15; only ten of them were pass routes, according to Pro Football Focus.

Rashad JenningsDec 18 06:12p

New York Giants RB Rashad Jennings (ankle) did not practice Thursday, Dec. 18.

Carlos HydeDec 18 05:52p

San Francisco 49ers RB Carlos Hyde (ankle) did not practice Thursday, Dec. 18.

DeAndre HopkinsDec 18 05:42p

Houston Texans WR DeAndre Hopkins (ankle) did not practice for the second straight day Thursday, Dec. 18.

Blake BortlesDec 18 04:22p

Jacksonville Jaguars QB Blake Bortles has earned positive reviews from the team in his rookie season after being thrust into the spotlight early this year. 'That is not the [ More ]

Jay CutlerDec 18 04:12p

Chicago Bears QB Jay Cutler was benched just for this week against the Detroit Lions, according to head coach Marc Trestman. Cutler will be active and serve as the [ More ]

DeAngelo WilliamsDec 18 04:02p

Carolina Panthers RB DeAngelo Williams (hand) will be fitted cast that he can play with on his injured hand. Williams still has not caught a pass with the injured [ More ]

Rashad JenningsDec 18 04:02p

New York Giants RB Rashad Jennings (ankle) has not been able to do any running this week, according to head coach Tom Coughlin.

Ryan MathewsDec 18 03:42p

San Diego Chargers RB Ryan Mathews (ankle) did not participate in practice Thursday, Dec. 18.

Cam NewtonDec 18 02:52p

Carolina Panthers QB Cam Newton (back) fully participated in practice Thursday, Dec. 18, and appears to be on track to start in Week 16, according to head coach Ron Rivera.

DeMarco MurrayDec 18 02:42p

Dallas Cowboys RB DeMarco Murray (hand), who was expected to take some team snaps in practice Thursday, Dec. 18, is in no more risk if he plays in Week [ More ]

RSS Feeds

NFL News:
 
Player Notes:
 
Forum Posts:
 

© 2014 RealTime Fantasy Sports, Inc.
Email Us  ·  Call Us 636.447.1170  ·  Lost Password
Advertising represented by USA Today Sports Media Group