22 college free agents have officially signed with the Falcons and will partake in their annual rookie minicamp this week. If recent history is any indication, more than one of them will become difference-makers this season.
In each of the last three years, two or more CFAs have earned spots on Atlanta's 53-man roster, including three in 2015: running back Terron Ward, safety Robenson Therezie and defensive tackle Joey Mbu.
Ryan Schraeder was dealt a similar hand in 2013 and has evolved into one the game's best right tackles. CFA signing Paul Worrilow proved a lot of doubters wrong, as well: The Delaware product came to Flowery Branch after being passed up by all 32 teams in the draft, and while that wasn't his ideal path, the inside linebacker used his work ethic to carve out a role on defense.
Take a look at the 22 college free agents that the Falcons have agreed to terms with on Thursday.
Now one of the team's leaders, Worrilow knows he can help some of the newcomers who, like him, went pro with the odds stacked against them.
"The biggest thing is just don't hold anything back," Worrilow said Wednesday. "And special teams. For us undrafted guys, special teams is an avenue to making the team. It's just the truth of it. Just selling out in everything you can when you come in. When I was there, I got called by the wrong name for the first two, three weeks. … Zeke, they called me Zeke Motta. All that's irrelevant. It's what you do when your helmet's on and you're on the field."
Atlanta's latest group of college free agent signings includes a number of intriguing prospects. There are a couple local kids in the mix—Georgia defensive linemen Chris Mayes and Josh Dawson—and defensive back Brian Poole, who played in Florida's secondary with Keanu Neal.
The Falcons brought in a kicker, too: Nick Rose. The Texas alum made an 80-yard field goal in practice last July and converted 27 of 38 FG attempts as a Longhorn.
Another name to keep in mind is William Ratelle. According to NFL.com, he was projected to go in the fifth or sixth round and "is capable of becoming a very good backup with eventual starter ability." The North Dakota standout has played a lot of linebacker but will be used as a fullback in Atlanta.
And, although the Falcons have two strong options at running back, Brandon Wilds could make a push for regular-season snaps. The ex-South Carolina Gamecock made 20 starts in college, finishing with 1,844 rushing yards on 379 carries.
For a full list of the Falcons' college free agent signings, click here.