Freeman, Shembo shine in second mincamp workout

Jimmy Cribb/

Saturday was the second day for Falcons rookie mini-camp at their headquarters in Flowery Branch. And while the goal for the first day was the get the rookies acclimated to the Falcon way, the second day was all about progression.

The first day gave the coaching staff a chance to see first-round pick Jake Matthews and second-round pick Ra’Shede Hageman. Saturday was a day for coaches to really get a good look at fourth-round pick Devonta Freeman and head coach Mike Smith loved what he saw.

“He was a very good player at Florida State,” Smith said. “He’s built like a change-of-pace back, but he’s really not. He’s a guy that can run between the tackles. We’re anxious to get more stuff to him and see what he can take.”

Freeman, who rushed for over 1,000 yards last season for Florida State, knows that he’s in for a challenge when it comes to having success in the NFL.

“It’s going to be way harder,” Freeman said in terms of producing the same numbers he did for the Seminoles. “Everybody’s a pro so there ain’t no room for mistakes. If you make a mistake, your job is on the line.”

The Falcons also focused a lot on the defensive side of the ball during the second day of rookie mini-camp. That would make sense because of the nine draft picks the Falcons made last week, six are defensive players. But one player that got a lot of attention on Saturday is linebacker Prince Shembo who loves that there’s a lot of diversity on defense.

“It’s very exciting,” Shembo said. “I love it already. I’m just going to keep working hard for these guys.”

One of the reasons Smith likes Shembo is the fact he can do some many things on defense, which is the one thing they are looking for out of his linebackers.

“He has the ability to play defensive end, outside linebacker and inside linebacker,” Smith said. “He’s got the flexibility. As this defense has matured, we got guys that line up in different spots. He may look like he’s lineup as an inside linebacker, but when the ball is snapped he’s doing the job of a defensive end. That’s the fun part of the putting this defense together.”

It’s also fun to watch Ricardo Allen play cornerback. Allen, who is only 5-feet-9, is not the biggest, fastest or strongest cornerback the Falcons have on the roster. But he knows how to make plays, which is why the Falcons drafted him in the fifth round.

“I have to make every play count,” Allen said. “I can’t shy away from any contact and I can’t be scared to challenge any wide receiver. I’m going to make sure I’m the most physical person on the field.”

Freeman, Shembo and Allen seem to be adjusting well to life in the NFL. And they have to be because with the draft two weeks later than in years past, the rookies have to be up-to-speed sooner than later.

“This draft class is not going to have the amount of time spent with them as previous draft classes had,” Smith said. “That’s why we brought these guys right in and have been here since the end of the draft.”

With OTA’s right around the corner, Smith mentioned players that won’t be taking part or limited in the workouts. Sean Weatherspoon and Julio Jones are the two players Smith mentioned as they will try to get both players ready for training camp.

Smith also sent out his condolences to Roddy White who is mourning the loss of his brother Tyrone Moore Jr. who shot Saturday night in James Island, S.C.

Tags: , , , , ,

No comments yet.

Leave a Reply