Category: Atlanta Falcons

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Justin Forsett and other NFL players offer encouragement to undrafted free agents

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Moments after Mr. Irrelevant, Chad Kelly, was selected by the Denver Broncos to close out the 2017 NFL draft, an undrafted free agency frenzy began. Players who didn’t hear their names called over the past three days fielded calls from teams about a shot at fulfilling their dreams in the NFL.

Leading up to the draft, many thought the Browns would use a first-round pick on quarterback Mitchell Trubisky, but the Chicago Bears doused those flames by trading up to the No. 3 slot to draft the North Carolina product.

The Browns were in a good portion to draft Clemson quarterback DeShaun Watson at No. 12, but they decided to trade that pick to the Houston Texans for a 2018 first-round pick.

Quinn and Dimitroff got off to a strong start in their first draft together. With the eighth overall pick, they selected Vic Beasley, who led the NFL in sacks with 15.5 and added four forced fumbles last season. Still, that’s the production you’d expect from a top-10 pick. It’s the under-the-radar picks Quinn and Dimitroff have teamed up on that really tell the story of their success.

McKinley has the blitzing part down, so maybe, at his size, he can figure out the rest about linebacker. Or maybe a team values him as a guy who can do a little of both.
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I don’t evaluate true linebackers, so I can’t really tell you if he is a first-round talent there, but I will say that I don’t see him as a first-round talent as an edge rusher. I do think his athleticism gives him some room to grow and get better. But I doubt he is going to hit a growth spurt and get any taller, and guys who show up to the combine weighing 250, knowing teams are looking at them as edge rushers, generally have a hard time gaining a whole lot of weight.

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NFL Pro Bowl 2016 jerseys are slicker than ever

This year’s Pro Bowl is the most declined invitation in history, but the players who will participate in the game Sunday night will be wearing some pretty slick jerseys.

Nike’s uniforms feature its “Vapor Untouchable” technology, meaning they weigh less and have minimal seams. Athletes had direct input into the jersey design, which is supposed to improve stretch, mobility, range of motion and durability.

Nike also added gold to the uniforms this year, which fits into the NFL’s theme for Super Bowl 50. The 50-yard lines in each stadium this season were gold as well.

Team Rice will take on Team Irvin at Aloha Stadium in Honolulu, Hawaii, Sunday at 7 p.m. ET. Players were selected in a fantasy-style draft Wednesday night, with Michael Irvin taking Russell Wilson with his first pick and Jerry Rice countering with Eli Manning. Perhaps the most notable selection of the evening was Charles Woodson, who Rice drafted with the final pick. Woodson retired at the end of the season.

Meanwhile in Hawaii…@CwoodsonF prepping for his final game as if it were his first.

— NFL Network (@nflnetwork) January 31, 2016
There usually isn’t much of a reason to watch the Pro Bowl, but this year, it will be worth checking out just to see a legend go out on top.

I’d offer some solution, but I’m not sure there is one.

So much of what’s great about football is directly related to how important each game is. We love the high intensity of the players, we let our emotions rise and fall on every play, we salute players who give their all for their team and teammates, we appreciate the complexity of game plans painstakingly strategized to isolate the weaknesses of the opposition.

There’s simply no way to simulate these things in an exhibition game with teams assembled days earlier at the end of a long, difficult season. The best way to fix the Pro Bowl is… well… not having a Pro Bowl. No rule change can make us interested, no revamp of the selection process can make us care.

It is a little dumb complaining. Millions of people still watch it, and presumably derive some joy from watching it, and nobody is really hurt by it. But it’s still a football game. Even with the reduced intensity, there’s still the risk that a player does step the wrong way or get hit a bit too hard, leading to a serious injury that hampers their career and hurts their team’s plans. And as soon as that happens, this isn’t a harmless exhibition anymore.