Post Draft Position Analysis - Quarterback

Matt Ryan is in place, but how will the new skill players help Ryan in 2015?

The Falcons luckily did not need a quarterback this year. It’s always a good thing when a team is not in search of a quarterback in a draft.

Atlanta has Matt Ryan, of course, as the starter. Plus, T.J. Yates is due back as the backup a year after coming from Houston in a trade for Akeem Dent. Sean Renfree was a seventh round pick in 2013. He’s still around as the emergency quarterback. The Falcons still want to develop Renfree for the future.

But there were moves made in the draft that do impact the quarterback position. The third round pick was running back Tevin Coleman from Indiana, and obviously that is the player that could most help Ryan in his job.

The Falcons had the 24th best (ninth worst) running game in the NFL last season. That was an improvement from 2013, when the Falcons had the worst rushing attack in the league.

Coleman will be counted on to help further improve that team statistic. He’ll likely be given the chance to be the starter over Devonta Freeman, last year’s fourth round selection out of Florida State.

Also, Atlanta’s fourth round pick should become another option for Ryan in the passing game. Justin Hardy is a 5-10, 192-pound running back out of East Carolina. With Harry Douglas now gone through free agency, the Falcons needed another wide receiver.

Hardy was very solid with the Pirates. He has good hands and should be perfect catching short passes from Ryan. That’s what you want – a reliable pass catcher, and Hardy seems to fit that description.

The final potential contributor that can help out Ryan is seventh round pick Jake Rodgers, the offensive tackle from Eastern Washington. The Falcons added Rodgers for depth, but perhaps he can be a developmental player and emerge as a potential option for the offensive line.

Coleman and Hardy are the two main offensive players from the draft, and they could be real options for Ryan as the Falcons hope to have more great play on the offensive side of the ball in 2015.

Listen to “The Bill Shanks Show” from 3-6 p.m. weekdays on WPLA Fox Sports 1670 AM in Macon and online at Follow Bill at and email him at

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