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

DeMarco MurrayOct 25 08:28p

Dallas Cowboys RB DeMarco Murray worked out with TE Jason Witten before the team's official offseason program, and he credits the veteran tight end with his increased stamina and [ More ]

Ryan ClarkOct 25 06:42p

Washington Redskins DE Chris Baker (thigh), OT Tyler Polumbus (knee), LB Perry Riley (knee) and OT Trent Williams (knee) practiced Saturday, Oct. 25, and are probable for Week 8. [ More ]

Edwin BakerOct 25 06:22p

The New Orleans Saints released TE Tom Crabtree Saturday, Oct. 25. RB Edwin Baker was promoted to the 53-man roster in his place.

Tom CrabtreeOct 25 06:12p

The New Orleans Saints released TE Tom Crabtree Saturday, Oct. 25.

Jerel WorthyOct 25 06:12p

The Kansas City Chiefs re-signed DE Jerel Worthy to the practice squad Saturday, Oct. 25.

LaMarr WoodleyOct 25 05:02p

Oakland Raiders LB LaMarr Woodley (biceps) and FS Usama Young (knee) were placed on Reserve/Injured Saturday, Oct. 25. CB D.J. Hayden (foot) was activated from the Physically Unable to [ More ]

Derrick ColemanOct 25 04:32p

Seattle Seahawks FS Derrick Coleman (foot) was placed on Reserve/Injured Saturday, Oct. 25. The team signed WR Phil Bates to the 53-man roster.

Damian WilliamsOct 25 04:32p

Miami Dolphins DE Dion Jordan was activated to the 53-man roster Saturday, Oct. 25, after serving his suspension. WR Damian Williams was waived to make room for him.

Jack CrawfordOct 25 04:32p

Dallas Cowboys LB Bruce Carter (thigh), FS Jakar Hamilton (personal), OT Jermey Parnell (chest) and DE Anthony Spencer (knee, foot) practiced Saturday, Oct. 25, and are probable for Week [ More ]

Doug FreeOct 25 03:52p

Dallas Cowboys OG Doug Free (foot) could return next week against the Arizona Cardinals. Head coach Jason Garrett said he hopes Free will be able to practice net week.

Ryan TaylorOct 25 03:02p

The Baltimore Ravens waived TE Ryan Taylor and promoted TE Phillip Supernaw from their practice squad to the active roster Saturday, Oct. 25.

Chandler JonesOct 25 02:12p

New England Patriots DE Chandler Jones (hip) could be done for the season with a hip injury he suffered in Week 7. Jones will reportedly miss at least six weeks.

Chris CookOct 25 01:22p

The San Francisco 49ers placed CB Chris Cook (hamstring) and C Daniel Kilgore (leg) on Reserve/Injured and signed S Ray Ventrone to a one-year deal Saturday, Oct. 25.

Gerell RobinsonOct 25 01:12p

The Cleveland Browns activated OL Nick McDonald and waived TE Gerell Robinson Saturday, Oct. 25.

Gerald McCoyOct 25 01:02p

Tampa Bay Buccaneers DT Gerald McCoy has agreed to terms with the team on a seven-year contract extension worth close to $100 million.

Marcus EasleyOct 25 12:42p

Buffalo Bills WR Marcus Easley (knee) will work out before the team's Week 8 game to see if he will be able to play, according to head coach Doug [ More ]

Jason TrusnikOct 25 12:42p

Miami Dolphins LB Jason Trusnik could start at middle linebacker in Week 8 if LB Koa Misi (ankle) is not able to play.

Tavarres KingOct 25 12:22p

The Jacksonville Jaguars signed practice squad CB Peyton Thompson to their active roster Saturday, Oct. 25. Terms of the contract were not disclosed. The team also waived WR Tavarres King.

Calais CampbellOct 25 12:22p

Arizona Cardinals DE Calais Campbell (knee) likely will be a game-time decision for Week 8, according to head coach Bruce Arians. Campbell said his knee felt good during practice and hopes to play.

A.J. GreenOct 25 12:12p

Cincinnati Bengals WR A.J. Green (toe) is not expected to play in Week 8, because he has ligament damage under his toe. The team wants to be careful with [ More ]

Shonn GreeneOct 25 12:02p

Tennessee Titans RB Shonn Greene was arrested Friday, Oct. 24, and charged with a handicap parking violation, driving on a revoked/suspended license, reckless driving and resisting stop/halt/frisk.

Sean SpenceOct 25 11:32a

Pittsburgh Steelers LB Ryan Shazier (knee) should be able to play in Week 8, but it is not known if he will start at inside linebacker. Shazier and LB [ More ]

Aqib TalibOct 25 05:22a

Denver Broncos CB Tony Carter has drawn interest on the trade market prior to the Oct. 28 deadline. CBs Aqib Talib and Bradley Roby have taken away some playing [ More ]

Alan BranchOct 25 05:12a

Free-agent DL Alan Branch (Bills) was spotted in the New England Patriots' locker room but still has not signed his contract with the team. An additional report by Mike [ More ]

Jason KelceOct 25 12:42a

Philadelphia Eagles C Jason Kelce (hernia) is listed as questionable for the Week 8 game against the Arizona Cardinals, but he is unlikely to play. He had sports hernia [ More ]

Cullen JenkinsOct 25 12:42a

New York Giants DT Cullen Jenkins (calf) is expected to miss at least a few weeks, so DEs Robert Ayers and Mathias Kiwanuka could be asked to play interior [ More ]

Jon BeasonOct 25 12:42a

New York Giants LB Devon Kennard might see more playing time with LB Jon Beason (toe) injured and possibly sidelined a while.

Emmanuel AchoOct 25 12:32a

Philadelphia Eagles LB Mychal Kendricks (calf) might be able to return for the Week 8 game against the Arizona Cardinals. If not, LBs Emmanuel Acho and Casey Matthews would [ More ]

Luke WillsonOct 24 10:44p

Seattle Seahawks TE Luke Willson (groin) will play in the team's Week 8 game, according to head coach Pete Carroll.

Crockett GillmoreOct 24 10:32p

Baltimore Ravens rookie TE Crockett Gillmore will receive the start at tight end in Week 8 against the Cincinnati Bengals, and the Ravens appear to have plenty of confidence [ More ]

Golden TateOct 24 10:12p

Detroit Lions WR Golden Tate will be facing the league's 29th ranked pass defense in Week 8 against the Atlanta Falcons.

Steve JohnsonOct 24 10:08p

San Francisco 49ers WR Stevie Johnson has played only 20 percent of the snaps in the last month, but he's been the team's most effective receiver in that time. [ 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