The very best three receivers for the Falcons are usually secured. Julio Jones, Calvin Ridley and Mohamed Sanu will see the majority of passes from Matt Ryan within 2019. That doesn't mean that the 2 or even 3 additional receivers aren't essential. These are the guys who will contribute considerably on special teams and will be measured on to snag the occasional reception within larger passing sets.
Those 3 spots are up for grabs, though. That will fourth slot is a key one particular, though. That player will be participating in game days and will be expected to become on the field periodically as well as as being a key contributor on special groups. In the past, that player has been Mr. bieber Hardy. This year, it looks like Russell Gage could make a serious push for this important spot. Who wins? Take a look at take a look.
Justin Sturdy, 27, entering his 5th calendar year with Atlanta
Hardy's strength will be his sure hands. He's not really a particularly explosive receiver and his 5'10” frame doesn't stand out, but their physicality is a strength. He's already been good for about 20 receptions each year, though his numbers dipped within 2018, undoubtedly due to the drafting associated with Calvin Ridley. On special groups, Hardy has served as a punt returner among other roles, yet has underwhelmed at the position.
Numerous thought Hardy would sign somewhere else. When he returned on a 12 months deal, many fans were fairly surprised. Hardy has had some amazing catches over the years and Ryan has demonstrated he's willing to throw to your pet in key situations.
At this point, we all know who Hardy is. He's a dependable receiver and blocker with restricted upside who works well as a WR4 or WR5 option. He's never going to blow the doors off, but their reliability makes him a deserving player to keep around.
Russell Gage, 23, entering his 2nd season with Atlanta
Gage is an sportsman with considerable upside. He transformed into receiver half way through their time at LSU and leaped a sub 4. 5 forty at his pro day. He is slightly taller than Hardy in 6 feet, but has a smaller sized overall frame. Where Gage offers really shined is on unique teams. He was a gunner in LSU and was considered among the best in the country coming out.
His value on receiver is an unknown. He do pull down a few receptions within 2018, but projecting that in order to 2019 is nearly impossible. We just didn't see enough of your pet to make a prediction one way or the additional.
For Gage, he wins out there if you place a bigger emphasis on benefit and special teams value more than predictable production. It's a big wild-card, and it makes this a tough battle in order to call.
The winner is…
At this stage, I think it's going to be Gage. The one calendar year deal for Hardy is an sign that the team doesn't necessarily see a long lasting plan for Justin and Atlanta. This is a big red flag for how they see his role in 2019. In terms of Gage, he's already good upon special teams and it's clear the particular coaching staff thinks he can lead more as a receiver. Whether that will pans out or not remains to be seen, yet I believe he'll be given the bulk of possibilities in the upcoming season.