FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. -- Ahead of training camp, Falcons coach Dan Quinn named some of the position groups he was most excited to watch through camp. One of those was the receivers.
And through the first eight practices, it's clear why he said that.
Julio pleased with play of young WRs
Not only do the Falcons have Julio Jones, Mohamed Sanu and Taylor Gabriel all returning, they have several other receivers who are making cases for themselves with their respective performances thus far.
Justin Hardy and Nick Williams have experience in the system and it's shown on numerous occasions. Rookies Josh Magee, Marvin Hall and Reggie Davis have made impressive catches at various points. And there's veteran Andre Roberts, who prior to missing a day of practice with an injury, was having his best two days of camp.
Top to bottom, the Falcons' receiver unit is loaded with speed and talent, a good problem to have if you're Quinn.
Jones has also been impressed with what he's seen from his group – especially the younger players.
"All of them have been amazing for us, Magee, all of them," Jones said following Friday's practice. "I can't say just one guy has really stood out. All the young guys have bought into the system and they come to work every day and obviously, today, they did a good job for us."
Magee and Hall made a few eye-popping catches during Friday's practice and their performance during Atlanta's second four-day block of training camp has caught the attention of their head coach.
"In this block they are two that have stood out to me," Quinn said. "Hall with his speed, not only at gunner, we're going to see if he can punt return. He's been someone that's impressed. Magee has the toughness, competiveness, the grit and strain that we are looking for. Those two are embracing how hard you have to go for it, how hard you have to battle. They have some great models in front of them in terms of the skillset and how to go [for it]. It's an encouraging group."
The Falcons signed Magee as an undrafted free agent out of South Alabama in May. During his collegiate career, the 5-foot-11, 170-pounder caught 90 passes for 1,668 yards and 11 touchdowns.
Hall was added to Atlanta's roster in early June after spending time on the Arizona Cardinals' practice squad. The speedy receiver played for offensive coordinator Steve Sarkisian at the University of Washington in 2012 and 2013. Hall caught 25 passes for 409 yards during his time as a Husky.
With so much talent and limited roster spots, how these players separate themselves from one another over the next month will be key.
According to Quinn, that separation starts with how much value the individual can provide on special teams.
"The role on special teams and what other jobs [besides play] receiver can you do?" Quinn said.
"We want to see who's ready to take rolls on special teams and who needs more work to develop. It is going to be an important month to find that out. [With] all the competition that we do, [we] try to create as many of those situations without actually playing a game to our evaluations on them."