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Heavy competition awaits members of secondary



No. 20 Brent Grimes (CB)
5'10" | 181 lbs. | Experience: 2
Grimes started the 2008 season opposite Chris Houston in the defensive backfield and showed trademark athleticism. An injury slowed him down, however, opening the way for Domonique Foxworth -- acquired via a late trade -- to take over starting duties. He has a total of six starts, 47 tackles and one interception in his NFL career. "He's a more confident player," Head Coach Mike Smith said of the second-year cornerback. "Brent, without a doubt, is the most athletic player on our team. He has got a lot more confidence this season knowing the system and having been around Brian, Emmitt (Thomas) and the defensive coaching staff."

No. 21 Christopher Owens (CB)
5'9" | 179 pounds | Experience: ROwens took some pre-draft heat for being undersized, but that didn't slow him down in his college career. The third-round pick started 28 of 48 games at San Jose State, recording 228 tackles, one sack, 20 passes defensed and 13 interceptions.

No. 22 Chevis Jackson (CB)
5'11" | 193 lbs. | Experience: 2Jackson played in all 16 games for the Falcons last season, primarily at the third or "nickel" defensive back position. He played well, racking up 33 tackles and returning his first career interception 95 yards for a touchdown. He'll compete this training camp for one of the top two corner positions.

No. 23 Chris Houston (CB)
5'11" | 178 lbs. | Experience: 3Houston started 11 games as a rookie and all 17 games for the Falcons in 2008. The second-round pick out of Arkansas is young, but he's one of the more veteran presences on the defense. A career total of 112 tackles (100 solo) and two interceptions (one for a touchdown) make him an early favorite to win one of the two cornerback positions.

No. 24 William Moore (S)
6'0" | 227 lbs. | Experience: RMoore has a chance to be a rookie starter on a defense that needs five new faces on the first team. His college sats include 32 starts, 284 tackles, three sacks, 22 passes defensed and 11 interceptions. "The worst thing you can do is not show effort," he said. "I'm going to be going fast every snap."

No. 25 Von Hutchins (CB)
5'10" | 180 lbs. | Experience: 5Hutchins will switch to No. 24 during training camp. The 2008 free agent acquisition went on injured reserve after the first camp practice a season ago, leaving much unknown about his role with the team. A veteran of the Colts and Texans, Hutchins has 16 career starts and experience at corner and safety. "I had all that time during the season to re-evaluate a lot of things," he said. "I learned a lot about myself and the team. I learned a lot about my family. But this is football now. I'm ready to get back on the field. I'm working on rehabing. I'm staying after practice rehabing. I'm getting here before and getting some treatment and stuff in."

No. 26 Erik Coleman (S)
5'10" | 207 lbs. | Experience: 6A 17-game starter at free safety in 2008, Coleman led the Falcons with three interceptions. He also tallied a career-high 127 tackles.He has 66 career, regular-season starts (four postseason) and -- though he's only 27 -- is called to be a veteran leader in 2009. "I'm the old guy in the room," he said. "I'm only 27 but I've played a lot of football and the guys trust me. I just try to help out the young guys as much as I can."

No. 28 Thomas DeCoud (S)
6'0" | 193 lbs. | Experience: 2Another member of a stellar 2008 rookie class, DeCoud gets a chance at a starting position during Russell Falcons Training Camp. He was a special teams standout toward the end of last season and played in 10 games. In 45 games at California he recorded 198 tackles, one sack, two forced fumbles and two fumble recoveries. "This is where I wanted to be," he said at the end of organized team activities. "This is where I expected to be as a player, working into a starting position. Being a drafted player you want to come in and start and contribute to the team but last year I had to take a backup role. This is my year to step up, be that starting safety and be a leader."

No. 29 Jamaal Fudge (S)
5'9" | 190 lbs. | Experience: 4Fudge got a taste of Mike Smith's defense as a member of the Jaguars in 2006 and 2007. He returns to a Falcons roster in search of a spot at strong safety. Fudge started one game in 2008 for an injured Lawyer Milloy (the only start of his career) and has 27 tackles and an interception to his credit.

No. 35 William Middleton (CB)
5'11" | 194 lbs. | Experience: RSmith said the Falcons focused on cross-training Middleton during mini camp and OTAs, getting him ready to compete at multiple positions during training camp. A three-year starter at Furman, Middleton joins the Falcons after a college career that included 35 starts, designation as a team captain, 186 tackles, seven interceptions and 15 passes defensed.

No. 37 Glenn Sharpe (CB)
6'0" | 184 lbs. | Experience: 1Sharpe originally joined the Falcons as an undrafted free agent out of Miami (Fla.). He was placed on the practice squad at the end of training camp and elevated to the 53-man roster on Dec. 9, 2008. He was inactive for the final three games of the season. Sharpe missed time in college with an injury, but put together a 2006 season of 44 tackles, two interceptions and a team-high 14 passes defensed.

No. 38 Tony Tiller (CB)
6'0" | 187 lbs. | Experience: 1Tiller played in the CFL for three seasons before joining the Georgia Force of the AFL. He signed with the Falcons in February 2009. In the CFL Tiller collared 71 tackles, 10 interceptions and three forced fumbles.

No. 41 Antoine Harris (S)
5'10" | 202 lbs. | Experience: 3Known as "Toolbox" for his versatility, Harris has NFL experience at safety and cornerback. With the Falcons he's been a steady contributor on special teams. He went on injured reserve Dec. 9 of last year but should be ready for training camp. Harris has played in 25 career games.

No. 42 Eric Brock (S)
6'0" | 204 lbs. | Experience: 1Like Sharpe, Brock joined the Falcons as an undrafted free agent in 2008. He spent last season on the practice squad before being promoted to the 53-man roster on Dec. 16. He was among the top-five tacklers on Aurburn's defense in 2007 and 2006.

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