The Atlanta Falcons held their first day of rookie minicamp practice on Friday and for the first time since being hired as head coach in Atlanta, Arthur Smith was leading the way on the practice fields.
All nine of Atlanta's draft picks were in attendance as were all 20 college free agents and five tryout players.
Here are five observations from practice on Friday:
Arthur Smith runs a tight ship
Since his introductory press conference back in January, Smith has stressed accountability will be a core principle of his program. That was on full display during practice when he stopped the 11-on-11 portion of practice and asked the players to start one of the reps over. Throughout the entire practice, Smith moved around to work with different position groups and was communicating with various players.
First-round pick Kyle Pitts put in motion often, saw plenty of targets
It's hard to miss No. 8 on the practice fields as his 6-foot-6, 245-pound imposing frame instantly garners attention. Smith is known for his work with tight ends and Pitts will certainly benefit from his head coach's knowledge of how to feature his position. Pitts was put in pre-snap motion often. He was also targeted a lot during the 11-on-11 portion which isn't necessarily surprising given the numbers of receiving targets available. One thing was evident though and that is Pitts is going to be a focal part of Atlanta's offense.
Cornerback Darren Hall records interception
Hall was on the other end of a tipped ball that bounced off wide receiver Antonio Nunn's hands. The fourth-round pick out of San Diego State played mostly on the outside during the 11-on-11 period.
Frank Darby showed flashes of the offensive weapon he could be
The Falcons' final pick of the 2021 draft, wide receiver Frank Darby, showed glimpses of the type of weapon he could be in Atlanta's offense. Darby extended his body to secure a ball that was overthrown towards the end of practice. The former Arizona State receiver is 6-foot-1 and 200 pounds.
Undrafted running back Javian Hawkins shows elusive style of running
Hawkins was a star at Louisville where he rushed for 2,355 yards and 16 touchdowns during his three-year career. While he is undersized for the position, on a few different occasions Hawkins should why he was such a dynamic back in college. His ability to shoot through the open gaps with his speed was noticeable as the Falcons were running a high-tempo style of practice for Day 1.