Falcons Explained: Rookie Minicamp

2021 draft class collection

After a one-year hiatus, Rookie Minicamps return for the 2021 offseason. A key part of the onboarding process for first-year players, rookie minicamp is the first taste of life as a pro for NFL players. The Falcons with bring in the nine players selected in the 2021 draft as well as 20 undrafted free agent (UDFA) players, a maximum of five tryout players, and a maximum of five qualifying veterans from May 14-16.

The first day will see the rookies go through an onboarding process that includes physicals, equipment fittings, strength and conditioning testing, and nutrition planning. Following that, they'll have their first team meeting with head coach Arthur Smith before shifting into meetings with their position groups and coaches.

The 2021 Atlanta Falcons rookie class has arrived for rookie minicamp in Flowery Branch.

The following three days give the rookies a look at what they can expect from a typical day as they transition to football being their full-time jobs. They'll begin their days with a team meeting, in which coach Smith will hit on the goal for the day. After that, they'll break into special teams and position meetings as they prepare to hit the field for the first time.

The rookies will take the field for a 90-minute practice where they will start to put what they've learned in meetings between the white lines. These practices offer the coaches the best opportunity to work with these young players in a one-on-one or small group capacity before many of the teams' veterans come in for OTAs and minicamp.

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It's important to note that these practices are more about evaluation and finding out how the players are absorbing all the information that's being thrown at them over a short amount of time. These aren't going to be full pads practices at full speed like you would see at training camp. The goal is to get the rookies indoctrinated into the system and prepare them for what comes next.

Following practice, the rookies will speak with the media and then begin their recovery before another round of team and position meetings where they'll go over the film from practice and start working through what went well and what needs to be corrected. The rookies will get a chance to go through those corrections and some of what they'll do the next day at a slower pace with a walkthrough to close out their day.

Rookie minicamp is an important part of the offseason program and the 2021 crop of first-year players will undoubtedly benefit from having the opportunity to hit the field and work directly with the coaching staff prior to training camp. We'll leave you with this quote from defensive end John Cominsky from his rookie minicamp experience in 2019 to illustrate the value of minicamp for the rookies.

"I've learned more about football in these three days than the rest of my life combined."

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