The Falcons added 20 undrafted free agents after the final round of the draft in April. A handful of these players have the hidden talent it takes to compete at the pros and make a name for themselves.
In most recent years following the draft, wide receiver Olamide Zaccheaus, tight end Jaeden Graham and safety Sharrod Neasman went undrafted and have made an impact on the Falcons.
One special undrafted free agent to look out for in particular is Mikey Daniel out of South Dakota State.
Daniel’s Role in Atlanta
It had come out that Daniel was actually scouted as a running back by the Falcons but signed with the team as a fullback.
The Falcons already have Keith Smith as their primary fullback and the backfield looks to be pretty crowded.
However, when asked by The Falcoholic’s reporter Evan Birchfield, if he knew his role coming to Atlanta, Daniel said: “Yeah, they see me as a guy with good “position flexibility” I will be used in a number of ways – running back, fullback, special teams etc.”
At South Dakota State, Daniel played at running back all four years. Daniel actually made the decision to transition to fullback at the next level to increase his chances of getting selected. Clearly, the Falcons will use him at both positions as they see fit.
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What Does Daniel Bring to the Table?
Aside from being a hybrid player, Daniel has a lot to offer and is someone to keep your eyes on as he climbs his way up the depth chart.
Daniel was rated as one of the top fullbacks in this year’s draft class. He is not only reliable as a pass-blocker, but he can also run the ball and catch the ball well out of the backfield.
The 6-foot and 235-pound speedster finished his collegiate career with 1,728 rushing yards and 29 touchdowns on 364 carries.
Daniel also shared with Birchfield the kind of guy Atlanta is getting:
“The Falcons, and the city of Atlanta, in general, is getting a tremendously hard worker”, Daniel said. “I am a team-first guy and I am willing to do whatever I have to do to help us win as many ball games as possible.”
A Crowded Backfield in Atlanta
Before the Falcons picked up Todd Gurley in early free agency, there was a huge hole to fill in the backfield. Now, it seems to be a little bit crowded.
The Falcons running back depth chart currently looks like are Todd Gurley, Brian Hill, Ito Smith, Qadree Ollison, and Craig Reynolds. The fullbacks are Keith Smith and Mikey Daniel.
The Falcons wanted to add another running back despite Gurley so they were able to get that with Daniel. However, someone will likely be heading back to free agency. On a normal roster, there are usually only three rushers active so the others will be practice squad or gone.
Gurley won’t be going anywhere anytime soon and neither will Keith Smith who recently signed a 3-year deal. Brian Hill signed his tender so he’ll also be staying and Ito Smith should be coming off of the injured reserve list.
Reynolds has recently told Heavy.com how hard he’s been training and is willing to move positions if needed.
“It’s a new year, new things can happen, I consider myself an athlete, if they [Falcons] asked me to do anything, yeah I would do it,” Reynolds said.
And that’s what it will come down to; who is willing to be being flexible and who succeeds at it.