Position battles are the highlight of OTAs and the Atlanta Falcons certainly have plenty heading into the 2015 season. The run game competition between Devonta Freeman and Tevin Coleman will be the headline, the defense and wide receivers will be competing for spots as well. As the Falcons head into the second week of OTAs, players like Robert Alford and Justin Hardy will be on display.
Alford has yet to really hit his stride with the Falcons as he prepares to enter his third year with the team. The secondary star continues to shift between cornerback and safety and as Atlanta made upgrades to the positions in the offseason, Alford is competing for his spot. According to ESPN's Vaughn McClure, the Falcons need to see versatility from Alford or he risks an uncertain future. McClure writes that Desmond Trufant and rookie Jalen Collins are the favored starting cornerbacks while Kemal Ishmael, Charles Godfrey and Ricardo Allen compete for the safety spot with William Moore. Alford is aware improvement is necessary.
"Something I've always gone off of is, I used to watch [Darrelle] Revis, and Revis is not 6 foot and he's not 6-3," Alford said, via ESPN.com. "He's 5-10, just like I am. It's not how tall you are. It's not how long you are. It's not how fast you are. It's whoever has the right fundamentals and whoever has that heart deep inside and wants to go out there and grind and compete. As far as grinding and competing, I feel like that's me. I just have to go out there and show the coaches that I deserve to be out there."
Rookies are expected to play a large role for the Falcons. Defensive end Vic Beasley has been playing with the first-team defense since his arrival at practice. Coleman is splitting reps with Freeman and Collins could be a starter once healthy from a foot injury. Justin Hardy is hoping to be the same type of player. The wide receiver was drafted as the replacement for Harry Douglas and could find himself walking out with Roddy White and Julio Jones for the first series in Week 1. Hardy has a lot of confidence in his ability. The Falcons like his athleticism over players like Devin Hester and Eric Weems. The rookie could be the rising young star Atlanta needs.