Falcons Could Be Adding ‘Smoke’ to Receiving Corps: Report

John Brown

Brett Carlsen/Getty Images John Brown catches a touchdown pass against the Denver Broncos in 2019.

On Tuesday the Atlanta Falcons worked out seven players, this according to veteran NFL reporter Aaron Wilson. One of the seven—punter Dustin Colquitt—has already been signed to the team’s practice squad, a potential replacement for Cameron Nizialek, whose job is at risk thanks to a pair of shanked punts against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

The next-most prominent name on the tryout list is former Buffalo Bills and Arizona Cardinals wide receiver John Brown. Per Wilson, Brown’s workout “was good,” though “no deal is imminent at this time,” which is also the sentiment of a report from ESPN senior NFL reporter Jeremy Fowler, who indicated that “Atlanta could be adding some Smoke to (its) receiving corps,” a reference to Brown’s nickname.

The 31-year-old Brown is an accomplished NFL receiver, with 65 starts and 96 games to his credit. Brown came into the league as a third-round pick of the Cardinals in the 2014 NFL Draft out of Division II Pittsburg State. He played in Arizona for four years before spending a year with Baltimore and two seasons with the Bills.

According to Pro Football Reference, Brown has accumulated 320 career receptions for 4,748 yards and 31 receiving touchdowns. He signed a one-year, $3.24 million contract with the Raiders in mid-March, but he was released on August 31 at his own request.

As for his nickname, one might assume it’s a reference to his blazing speed, which has been his calling card since he ran a 4.34 40-yard dash at the 2014 NFL Combine. But according to the official website of the Arizona Cardinals, his mother gave him the nickname ‘Smokey’ at birth, “because when I first came out, I was blacker than what I am now,” he said. “Most people are like, ‘Why they call you Smokey?’ Because you are fast?’ But no,” he added, noting that teammates often refer to him as ‘Smoke.’

The Falcons Also Worked Out 2 Other NFL Wide Receivers

John Brown wasn’t the only wide receiver the Falcons worked out early this week. Atlanta also brought in wide receiver Marcell Ateman, 27, a seventh-round pick of the Raiders in 2018 (Oklahoma State), who has six NFL starts to his credit. Over the course of 18 games he has produced 20 receptions for 270 yards and one touchdown, this according to Pro Football Refence. The Raiders inked Ateman to a one-year Reserve/Future contract in February but waived him on Aug. 24, 2021.

Yet another wide receiver who received a look-see is Kelvin Harmon, 24, a former sixth-round pick of the Washington Football Team (2019). Harmon started eight games as a rookie and produced 30 receptions for 365 yards. He spent the 2020 season on Washington’s non-football injury list after suffering a torn ACL while prepping for training camp and was waived by the team in August 2021.

The Falcons Worked Out 2 Other Punters

Meanwhile, before signing Colquitt the Falcons worked out several other punters, including 26-year-old Trevor Daniel, who has 20 games of NFL experience, 90% of which came with the Houston Texans in 2018-19. He also punted in two games for the Tennessee Titans in 2020, a year in which he spent most of the season on the practice squad. Daniel has a career average of 43.5 yards per punt.

The other punter who had a tryout was Lachlan Edwards, 29, who came into the league in 2016 as a seventh-round pick of the New York Jets. Edwards punted for the Jets for four years and spent much of the 2020 season on the practice squad of the Los Angeles Chargers.

Last but not least, the Falcons also worked out long-snapper Drew Scott, 26, a former undrafted free agent out of Kansas State who has spent time with the Dallas Cowboys, New York Giants and Kansas City Chiefs.

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