From the Branch

Print
RSS

Training Camp Preview: Who Will Be the No. 4 WR?

Posted Jul 19, 2016

With the addition of Mohamed Sanu, maturation of Justin Hardy and injection of young talent, the Falcons' WR corps figures to look a lot different in 2016.

As the Falcons prepare for XFINITY® Training Camp, their top three wide receivers — Julio Jones, Mohamed Sanu and Justin Hardy — are more or less locked into their spots. Beyond that trio, however, it's unclear how the WR depth chart will shake out come Week 1.

The No. 4 WR position remains up for grabs, and with a slew of intriguing candidates on Atlanta’s 90-man roster, a fierce competition should unfold over the next few months.

Among those vying for that job are veterans Nick Williams and Eric Weems. Williams proved valuable last season and could continue to develop as he gains more experience. The 25-year-old out of Connecticut entered 2015 having appeared in just five regular season games and finished with 17 receptions for 159 yards and two touchdowns, which came in consecutive weeks.

Weems is primarily used on special teams, hauling in just 11 passes in 2014 and one last season. He’s a reliable blocker, though, and while it’s unlikely he gets penciled in as an offensive mainstay, he could step into such a role if called upon.

Competing with the battle-tested pros are five rookies: Devin Fuller, Aldrick Robinson, David Glidden, J.D. McKissic, Daje Johnson and Devin Fuller. Robinson, a sixth round draft pick in 2011, spent three years in Washington before joining Baltimore in the middle of the 2014 season. In his career, he’s tallied 30 receptions for 608 yards and five touchdowns. All but one of his catches came in 2012-13, when he played 31 games for Washington.

Glidden is among the youngest in the bunch, signed as a college free agent in May out of Oklahoma State. With the Cowboys, he earned 114 receptions, 1,655 yards and six touchdowns. He’s an intelligent player, one who runs crisp routes and is more polished than most undrafted wideouts his age.

McKissic is another college free agent signing from the 2016 class. The 5-foot-11, 193-pounder exploded during his redshirt freshman year at Arkansas State with 103 receptions, 1,022 receiving yards and five touchdowns. Although he didn’t reach 700 yards in any of the next three years, his raw ability makes him someone worth monitoring during camp and preseason.

Johnson’s time at the University of Texas was filled with ups and downs, but he does possess one trait the Falcons covet: speed. Having run a 4.39-second 40-yard dash at the Longhorns’ pro day, he has the kind of athleticism coaches love to mold. He’s a versatile player, too: Although he may be undersized at 5-foot-10, Johnson can chip in at running back, wide receiver and kick/punt returner. During his senior year, he finished six games with 100-plus all-purpose yards.

Fuller, a seventh round pick this spring, is similar to the CFA receivers Atlanta added: fast, versatile, useful on special teams. While he’s able to contribute on offense, Fuller is more likely to make an impact as a kick/punt returner. He excelled in that area at UCLA, where, in 2015, he averaged 24.2 yards per kickoff return and 10.7 yards per punt return.

Who will be the No. 4 WR?
Nick Williams
Aldrick Robinson
David Glidden
J.D. McKissic
Daje Johnson
Eric Weems
Devin Fuller