FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. – John Cominsky is well aware of the stigma that sometimes surrounds him when it pertains to his football career.
Cominsky played at the University of Charleston – a Division II school in West Virginia – and was taken by the Falcons in the fourth round in April. He's the first player to be drafted out of Charleston since 1943.
Cominsky's 67 tackles, three sacks and two forced fumbles in his senior season earned him Mountain East Defensive Player of the Year and with that came a significant amount of attention from NFL teams.
Cominsky said following his junior season he thought he would have a chance to play in the NFL. One year later, Atlanta selected him with the 135th overall pick .
When Falcons general manager Thomas Dimitroff and coach Dan Quinn drafted Cominsky they talked about the potential they saw in the 6-foot-5, 286-pound defender based off his physical traits and work ethic. Now, with a full NFL offseason under his belt, the defensive end is hitting his stride.
"The biggest thing that sticks out to me as an individual first is my Day 1 in training camp versus my Day 1 during OTAs (organized team activities) [and] that difference I feel," Cominsky said. "After having a month of OTAs and all of that learning, then the month off to let it sink in. I'm playing faster and making more plays."
Cominsky says the area he's seen improve most in his game is his ability to get off the ball to be in a better position to make plays.
The Falcons have moved Cominsky around along the defensive line. When Atlanta is in their nickel package, Cominsky plays inside. When they are in their base package, Cominsky comes off the edge.
Since he arrived in Atlanta at the end of April, Cominsky has been a sponge.
And his head coach has noticed.
"I thought coming in, there would be a time when I didn't know when it would be that he could help us in 2019," Quinn said of Cominsky. "So, I first thought maybe it [would be] later, but he hasn't shown that it has to be later. His attitude to do it is almost contagious because you want to coach him so hard because he wants more. That kind of attitude, I'm not going to put any limitations on and now that I have spent time with him, we've got five or six weeks to see if he could be there for the start [of the season] to help. And [seeing] the way he works, you wouldn't put it past him."
Not only has Cominsky had to adjust to the level of play on the field, he's had to learn how to manage all of what goes into being an NFL player.
"I was kind of a goofball in college until my senior year," Cominsky said. "I was really like a part-time football guy, maybe a third of my time went to football. Now it's full time."
Every rep in practice is important to Cominsky and it shows.
He's progressing the way the Falcons hoped he would and if he continues on this trajectory, he very well could be an impact player for the Falcons as a rookie.
And that's exactly what Cominsky wants.
"Now that I have the basics down and I'm starting to work on tier two and tier three stuff and starting to learn stuff from the vets, I think that I'm in a position to make an impact for sure," Cominsky said.
DE John Cominsky was voted by the 2019 Rookie Class as "Most Likely to Be President." Take a look at these images of Cominsky during Minicamp and in the Falcons University program.