It was a question on a lot of people's minds when the Falcons signed Cameron Batson on Thursday: Why are the Falcons accumulating so many receivers? Don't they have more than enough already? Especially after drafting Drake London?
The Falcons went into the 2022 offseason barren at wide receiver, with Calvin Ridley suspended and Russell Gage making the move to Tampa Bay. Now, they've brought back Olamide Zaccheaus, traded for Bryan Edwards and picked up Auden Tate, Damiere Byrd, Geronimo Allison, KhaDarel Hodge and others in free agency to go along with Frank Darby, too.
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And let's not stop there. Along with the 13 wide receives on the current roster, tack on seven tight ends (eight if you count Feleipe Franks who has been working at the position as well). That's a lot of bodies in the pass game.
Some would call this stockpile of receiving weapons overkill. Haven't the Falcons been talking about bringing in offensive line competition? Why cut a lineman to replace him on the 90-man roster with yet another receiver? On Friday, Arthur Smith explained the thought-process behind this accumulation of skill players, and it's actually a pretty simple explanation.
"At this time of year because we don't have to line up and play a real game you may go heavy (at receiver)," Smith said. "It's an extended two- to three-week trial for certain guys at certain skill positions."
Smith said the plan would be to start cutting skill positions and bringing in offensive and defensive linemen prior to training camp in August.
For now, Smith and his staff want to evaluate the skill positions while they have a better opportunity to do so. The Falcons are doing this for the quarterbacks' development in the scheme, too. Smith noted he wants to see how these receivers mesh with Marcus Mariota and Desmond Ridder.
The staff wants to see these 7-on-7 periods in OTAs to determine timing and how the quarterbacks and receivers understand the concepts of the scheme itself. This can be done without linemen taking up space on the 90-man roster.
Smith said this is essentially a longer tryout for some of these receivers. They may even bring in more in the coming weeks. However, Smith did say decisions on these skill players will be made after the mandatory minicamp, which begins in another week's time.
"We want to enhance that (receiver) room and if we think there's a guy out there that could possibly make this team or make our room better we're going to bring them in," Smith said.
Ultimately, by overloading on receivers right now, the Falcons staff allows itself more opportunities to evaluated the line of scrimmage when the pads go on in August.
Take a look at cornerback A.J. Terrell sporting the classic red helmet originally worn by the Atlanta Falcons in 1966.
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