Even though "competition" is the word du jour of training camp, there are still those players in positions that, barring anything drastic, have a job ready for them when they step on the football field to begin preparation for the upcoming season.
There's a few of these players at wide receiver for the Falcons in Julio Jones, Roddy White and Harry Douglas. They've earned the right to be in that position with a mix of hard work, production and longevity. After them, it's anybody's game, just like last season.
One of the winners of the race for the final two WR positions last season was college free agent Drew Davis and he's back again this year, trying to do it all over again.
Davis was active for all 16 games of the regular season and the playoffs and while he didn't post numbers in the neighborhood of the guys in front of him, he was a valuable part of the offense and special teams. He finished the season with four catches and a touchdown and he's back this season, but knows nothing is guaranteed to him.
"It's life," Davis said. "You get knocked down and you've got to get up. People in the real world, my parents, I have friends looking for jobs and have lost jobs and it's tough getting them out there. Football is no different. It's another job opportunity. It's an interview every day, every practice. I'm just happy to suit up out here, go out here and do what I love."
Falcons head coach Mike Smith said on Friday the Falcons have some good young options at wide receiver after their top three and Davis is still among those players, but there are other names that could emerge, not unlike what Davis did last year.
"I think there are a couple of young guys that are going to grab the attention of the coaches over the next couple of weeks," Smith said. "We know that Kevin Cone and Drew Davis have some experience, but there are a couple of those young wide receivers that have made some catches, not only in one-on-one but in team situations, as well."
In addition to being a top performer in coverages on special teams, Davis has to be able to do a little of everything and do it well. The former Oregon wide out enjoys being asked to do a lot of different things and one of the ways Davis can earn a job again this year is to show he's a true depth receiver, able to step in at different spots on the field and fill in without a hitch.
"I know I have to be a jack-of-all-trades," Davis said. "If Roddy's a little sore during practice or I'm filling in for Julio or Harry. I have to know what to do at every position. I have to be ready, in shape and conditioned enough to do that. I know that's pretty much my job. I like the toughness of that, being able to know everything in the playbook and be that guy that is counted on to go everywhere. It's a daily process and I just go out there and do my best."
Davis has centered in on a necessary learning that all young players must experience. Staying ready to do whatever is asked of him is how the second-year receiver approaches each day. He practices yoga to keep himself limber, healthy and resistant to the injuries that could take him off the field and remove his edge. He studies film, including special teams film, to be fully prepared.
"It's all part of the job," Davis said. "That's what I have to do if I want to stay out here."