Five under-the-radar for 'Hard Knocks'

June, 13, 2014
Jun 13
8:10
AM ET
When it was announced the Atlanta Falcons would be part of the HBO series "Hard Knocks" this season, naturally players such as Julio Jones, Roddy White, Steven Jackson, William Moore and Matt Ryan came to mind as characters to focus on throughout training camp.

But it's always interesting to see the under-the-radar guys get some publicity, like Danny Amendola with the Dallas Cowboys in the 2008 version of the documentary.

Here are five such candidates for the Falcons:

1. Mickey Shuler, tight end: He was on the practice squad last season and had a broken hand near the end of the year. Shuler stayed after every practice catching balls with former teammate Seth Doege. Although the Falcons brought in veteran Bear Pascoe as a blocker and have a pass-catcher in Levine Toilolo, Shuler has the ability to do both.

2. Terren Jones, offensive tackle: Jones has impressed new offensive line coach Mike Tice throughout the offeason, and he's quite a character if you ever get a chance to hold a conversation with him. Not to mention he goes with Russell Westbrook-style fashion sometimes. He might push Lamar Holmes for a backup role behind starting tackles Sam Baker and Jake Matthews.

3. Robert McClain, cornerback: McClain quietly goes about his business, but he's capable of making big plays as the nickelback. He'll be pushed by veteran newcomers Josh Wilson and Javier Arenas. McClain is an artist off the field, adding some flare to his story.

4. Marquis Spruill, linebacker: If he develops, the rookie from Syracuse could be used in coverage in the sub package. His chances to contribute increased when Sean Weatherspoon was lost for the season with an Achilles tear. The Falcons have asked Spruill to bulk up, which might make for interesting TV in terms of following his diet.

5. Paul Soliai, nose tackle: There's something just intriguing about the big guy up front with the long hair. Soliai might not be a chatterbox, but his presence alone is worth a storyline. He should make life miserable for some of the offensive linemen throughout camp. I wouldn't want to block him. Soliai was part of "Hard Knocks" before with the Miami Dolphins in 2012.

Vaughn McClure

ESPN Atlanta Falcons reporter

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