Five Falcons to watch at OTAs


The Atlanta Falcons begin organized team activities Tuesday, although a handful of players are expected to be sidelined due to injuries.

Regardless, there will be plenty to keep an eye out for as new head coach Dan Quinn continues to prepare his team for the 2015 season.

Here are five players to watch during OTAs:

1. Vic Beasley: We didn't see much from the touted pass-rusher during rookie minicamp because only the first 30 minutes of practice were open. Since the media can view the entire practice Tuesday, everyone should get a better feel for Beasley's blazing speed off the edge. With Quinn opting to have officials at practice, one has to wonder how many false starts Beasley will cause against the offensive line since he can't take down the quarterback.

2. Mike Person: Speaking of the line, one of the new faces is left guard Mike Person, who came over from the Rams. Word out of St. Louis is Person wasn't really a guy you expected much from. Well, Person has a chance to prove he deserves a starting spot, with the left guard position open following the release of Justin Blalock. Person ran with the first team during voluntary minicamp and is likely to continue do so with Joe Hawley (ACL/MCL) still sidelined and left guard candidate James Stone still at center. Let's see how Person gets out and runs in this outside-zone blocking scheme.

3. Devonta Freeman: The second-year player showed flashes at running back last season. Plus, Freeman has already impressed the new coaching staff with his pass-catching ability. Now it's time for Freeman to show he should be first up out of the backfield, with competition coming from rookie Tevin Coleman. Freeman has plenty of confidence in his ability, as does Coleman. Proving his value in the passing game -- and in pass protection -- might be Freeman's best way to establish some separation.

4. Robert Alford: I'm really curious to see how Alford performs following a season ended prematurely by a broken wrist. He has all the athleticism and fire to excel at cornerback. Now, Alford just has to play smarter, and he knows it. Secondary coach Marquand Manuel's hands-on approach should help Alford overcome some of his shortcomings. It will be interesting to see if Quinn continues to praise Alford's efforts on the outside as opposed to moving him inside to cover the slot as a nickelback. Rookie cornerback Jalen Collins' recovery from foot surgery along with banged up converted free safety Dez Southward should give Alford more time to prove he belongs outside, even if his size (5-foot-10, 186 pounds) says otherwise.

5. Roddy White: This is a big season for the veteran receiver in terms of showing he's still got it. He obviously wasn't himself a year ago due to a variety of injuries and age catching up to him. If White remains healthy, he probably has one good season left despite getting ready to turn 34 in November. But how will White mesh with new offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan? Shanahan is known to be stern with his ways, while White's laid-back approach can be interpreted the wrong way at times. Not to mention Shanahan brought in one of his own guys in receiver Leonard Hankerson, a capable target when healthy. Whatever the case, White needs to use his veteran savvy to be an effective part of the offense. Let's see if he looks rejuvenated during OTAs.