When XFINITY® Atlanta Falcons Training Camp begins Friday, the players’ lifelong dreams continue, one practice at a time. None of the players will enter camp with a care-free approach to the game, instead they'll be driven to help return the Falcons to their winning ways of recent years, qualifying for the NFC playoffs four times, since 2008. Here are five such players hoping to help the cause in 2014:
1. Tyler Starr: Seventh-round picks often times come with an ‘under-the-radar’ label attached to their names, but Starr is the kind of player who has the skill, drive and determination to quickly make people forget about such a title. The Falcons 255th-overall pick of the 2014 NFL Draft plans to make a lasting impression during camp, showcasing the kind of skills that helped him in 2013, becoming the first South Dakota Coyote to be named the Missouri Valley Football Conference Defensive Player of the Year.
2. Devonta Glover-Wright: The former QB/WR (Eastern Arizona Community College) has the size (6-foot) most secondary coaches dream of, causing more havoc on opposing receivers. Following the switch to the other side of the ball, Glover-Wright showcased production at Utah State, including 40 solo tackles, five for loss and 10 passes defensed. Falcons coaches will learn a lot about the rookie CB, after watching him compete against the team’s talented WRs.
3. Malliciah Goodman: Selected as the first of two fourth-round (127th overall) draft choices by Atlanta in 2013, Goodman is poised for a breakout season. The "quiet giant," who stands 6-4 and weighs 276 pounds, has been working on a wide variety of skills and techniques in the offseason, each designed to help him waste little time in disrupting opposing offenses; the well-documented size of his 11-inch hands will continue to play in his favor in 2014.
4. Bernard Reedy: Following an eye-opening offseason, Reedy hopes his momentum continues right into training camp. Fans love the deep ball and he is known as a deep threat. No stranger to the end zone in college, scoring 23 TDs in four years at Toledo, Reedy’s hoping to grab each and every throw that comes his way.
5. Jacob Pedersen: Almost like a student gaining an advantage by attending summer school, Pedersen gained early and extra work with the Falcons coaching staff at the 2014 Senior Bowl. The extra week of coaching, teamed with OTAs and minicamp practices, will benefit Pedersen, who left Wisconsin ranked seventh all-time in TD receptions (17).