FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. – Today's Early Bird Report includes several takeaways from the Falcons' rookie minicamp as well as a leading candidate to buy the Panthers.
FALCONS HEADLINES FROM AROUND THE COUNTRY
*AJC: *Five things we learned from Falcons' rookie mini-camp
The Falcons wrapped up their rookie minicamp over the weekend, and over 50 players were on the field working on their craft and trying to leave an impression on the coaching staff. D. Orlando Ledbetter of *The Atlanta-Journal Constitution *had five major takeaways from the team's minicamp.
Leading off his notes from over the weekend was the military style training the Falcons put the rookies through on Saturday and Sunday. The Falcons have done Navy SEAL-based training in recent years led by the Acumen Performance Group, who once again led the drills for the rookies this weekend.
The Falcons also had a number of rookies with ties to the state of Georgia in minicamp, which head coach Dan Quinn said "speaks well of the talent in the state coming all the way up through high school and college."
One of those players, former Georgia State defensive end Mackendy Cheridor, is just the latest Panther to seek a spot in the NFL. There are currently six other players from Georgia State on NFL rosters, which Cheridor, who believes he had a good minicamp with the Falcons, is happy to see.
"It's great to see how many people that have been put in the league from Georgia State within just a few years," Cheridor told Ledbetter "It was a beginning of a program at first and to see all of these guys in the league is great. I've taken advice from many of them."
Some of the other takeaways from rookie minicamp was a theme of versatility that permeated the practices. Several players were used in a variety of looks and ways, including sixth-round pick Russell Gage who played both defensive back and wide receiver.
The Falcons also played close attention to the fullback position, where Luke McNitt and Daniel Marx are believed to be the two primary contenders.
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BIGGEST NEWS FROM AROUND THE NFL
NFL.com: David Tepper emerging as favorite to buy Panthers
The Panthers' lengthy search for a new owner may be coming to an end in the near future. According to NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport, Panthers owner Jerry Richardson has identified hedge fund manager David Tepper as the candidate best suited to buy the team.
"Tepper, a minority owner of the Steelers since 2009, has long been considered the favorite," writes NFL.com's Kevin Patra. "Along with the league's familiarity with the hedge fund manager, his plans to keep the Panthers in Charlotte are key. Rapoport reported Tepper believes in the market, per sources familiar with his thinking."
If the Panthers continue to move the process forward with Tepper, who is worth an estimated $11 billion, a vote to approve him as owner could take place as early as next week at the Spring League Meeting in Atlanta. To make the sale official, three-fourths of the league's owners must vote to approve Tepper's purchase.
Two other possible buyers, Alan Kestenbaum and Ben Navarro, have not been ruled out, but Patra reports that they would face serious questions from the league and their approval would likely take much longer.
Here are some more articles from around the league:
MORE FROM ATLANTAFALCONS.COM
- Dan Quinn talks about experimenting with the rookies
- Rookies Ridley, Senat and Oliver describe 'fast' minicamp
- Falcons agree to terms with DT Terrell McClain