FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. -- The vision Arthur Smith and Terry Fontenot had when they picked Feleipe Franks up as an undrafted free agent this offseason did not include the possibility of moving him to tight end... initially. The duo said then that they liked what they saw from Franks from a physical standpoint. They liked his build. They liked his athleticism. They saw potential there, but they saw it at quarterback.
Fast forward to this week and Franks was playing tight end on Sunday. But why? The Falcons have Kyle Pitts, Lee Smith and Hayden Hurst. Why do they need Franks? It's not that they do, it's that Smith sees a potential in Franks that he didn't before and he wanted to experiment.
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The head coach said giving Franks reps at tight end was something that "evolved" over the course of the last few weeks. Franks said on Thursday that it wasn't even an option until Smith approached him a few weeks ago and asked him what he thought.
Smith said the reasoning behind doing so was simple: They wanted to see how far they could stretch Franks' athleticism.
"(We) kind of kicked the tires on it in practice a few weeks ago, and just kind of worked a couple things," Smith said. "Thought he was ready. Just told him, you want to help us win? This would be a good way to get your feet wet."
For Franks, he said the decision wasn't a hard one to make. If the Falcons coaching staff wanted him to return kicks, he'd do it. (Not that Franks is going to be returning kicks any time soon... or ever... but you get the picture).
Franks called his older brother, Jordan, for advice. Jordan has been a tight end in the league since 2018. He's been with the Bengals, Eagles and, most recently, the Browns.
"Leading up to the game I am asking him for tips," Franks said. "It was really just one of those things where I'm like: OK how am I going to learn this? How am I going to do it to the caliber I need to do it to get my job done? That was more of my mindset."
Franks is still active under center, though. It's not like the coaching staff is displeased with his development at quarterback. Smith said Franks continues to improve, and the coaching staff likes where he is. They just thought there was something else they could tap into, athletically.
"If there's something there and we think it can help us move the football and win," Smith said, "we'll try it."
And even if this goes absolutely nowhere, Franks feels he'll be better for trying.
"It's helped me just widen my perspective (of the offense)," Franks said. "It's helped me have a bigger view of the field, what everybody is doing, what assignments everybody has."