Rookies take part in first minicamp

Even the casual NFL fan can tell you that games can’t be won and playoff spots can’t be clinched in mid-May. Regardless, the Atlanta Falcons are having a great offseason month.

Last weekend the Falcons brought in their prospects (rookie draft picks, rookie free agents, unsigned tryout players and a number of players that didn’t see the field much in their rookie 2011 year) for a minicamp and an indoctrination of how to do things “The Falcon Way.”

As the young players digest the experience and prepare for a grueling summer and fall, the weekend can be deemed a big success. First, guard/center Peter Konz, selected with the 55th overall pick, and his fellow draft picks all broke camp healthy. Second, general manager Thomas Dimitroff has now signed all the draft picks with the one exception being fifth-round selection, defensive end Jonathan Massaquoi.

(After last summer’s labor agreement, league teams in general are finding it much easier to sign players out of college because of the adjustments made with the Player’s Association on rookie contracts).

In other rookie camp news, the Falcons signed three rookie tryout players that had an impressive weekend. Former Georgia Bulldog tight end Aron White agreed to terms, as did projected fullback Lee Meisner from Colorado State-Pueblo and wide receiver Kenny Stafford from Toledo. Stafford has good bloodlines. He’s the nephew of former NFL great Cris Carter.

While it may be bittersweet for the Falcons Nation, the team has created more spending money under the salary cap. The release of fullback Ovie Mughelli, a standout on the field and in the community, will give the Falcons approximately $2.5 million more to spend.

Also earlier in the month, the NFL granted the Falcons a salary cap credit of about $3 million as a result of debt former quarterback owed to the team after declaring bankruptcy in 2008 meaning the Michael Vick era is officially over.

Speculation is that former San Diego Charger offensive tackle Marcus McNeill may be targeted with the new-found flexibility. McNeill, a native of Ellenwood, is a two-time Pro Bowl left tackle but is recovering from neck and back injuries.

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