FLOWERY BRANCH – Today's Early Bird Report includes a trio of Falcons defenders on one All-25-and-Under Defensive Team as well as reports that Carson Wentz may begin camp on the PUP list and some writers' thoughts on Julio Jones.
The Falcons have one of the best young defenses in the NFL, there's no question about that. With players like Deion Jones, Keanu Neal and Grady Jarrett – among others – emerging as stars at their respective positions, the Falcons' defense is beginning to gain greater recognition.
That recognition continued in a recent CBS Sports piece by Will Brinson in which he created the NFL's All-25-and-Under Defensive Team.
Jarrett was named to the first-team defensive lineup, as was Jones, who joined the Jaguars' Myles Jack as the only two linebackers on the first team.
"Like Jarrett, Jones really burst onto the national scene as a rookie when he flew all over the place against the Patriots," Brinson writes of Jones. "He followed it up with another studly season, earning his first Pro Bowl with three picks, one sack and 138 tackles. He flies all over the place, he's a perfect modern linebacker/safety hybrid, he just makes plays and he lays wood."
Neal was one of two safeties named to the second-team defense, joining the Cardinals' Budda Baker. The Falcons safety has always been a hard hitter who is unafraid to bolster the run defense, but Neal showed improvement in coverage as the 2017 season progressed and he looks to be one his way to become a complete NFL safety.
The Falcons have a plethora of talent around the trio mentioned above, which is what helped the defense finish in the top 10 in both scoring and total defense last season for the first time since 1998.
Here are some other articles for Falcons fans to check out today:
NFL.com: Falcons WR Julio Jones doesn't plan to report to camp
NFL Network insider Ian Rapoport reported Tuesday morning the Falcons receiver Julio Jones does not plan to report to training camp when players arrive on Thursday. There has been no official statement from the team or Jones as of yet, but the report indicates the decision stems from the receiver's desire to obtain a new contract before the start of the season. To read the entire story on NFL.com, click here.
AJC: Blank on Jones: 'He's going to be a Falcon for life'
Following the reports of Jones' plan to miss the start of training camp, D. Orlando Ledbetter of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reached out to Falcons owner Arthur Blank for his comments.
"He's going to be a Falcon for life," Blank told Ledbetter via a phone call Tuesday. "I'm convinced of that and so is he. We'll take it from there. But we are all focused on the same thing. I think that we are in good shape."
To see what else Blank had to say about the situation, check out all of Ledbetter's piece.
NFL.com: Eagles likely to place Carson Wentz on PUP list
The Eagles' starting quarterback, Carson Wentz, is likely to start camp on the physically unable to perform list, according to a report from NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport. According to Rapoport, the Eagles placing Wentz on the PUP list isn't an indication that he would not be ready for the start of the season but rather just the next step in his rehabilitation from an ACL tear last season.
The Falcons begin their 2018 season with a primetime matchup against the defending Super Bowl champion Eagles on Thursday, Sep. 6 at 8:20 p.m. ET.
A FEW MORE LINKS TO CHECK OUT