Home Entertainment Can Olamide Zacchaeus Be Falcons' No. 3 Receiver? – Sports Illustrated

Can Olamide Zacchaeus Be Falcons' No. 3 Receiver? – Sports Illustrated

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There's a gap in the Falcons' depth chart at receiver.
With Julio Jones traded to the Tennessee Titans, Calvin Ridley and Russell Gage move up the ladder. The question: Who climbs up just below them?
Naturally, one of the leading candidates is their fourth-most productive receiver from 2020, third-year pro Olamide Zacchaeus.
Zacchaeus made 20 receptions for 274 yards and a touchdown last season before having his season cut short in November due to injury.
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Despite being buried in the depth chart, Zacchaeus earned some opportunities thanks to his dynamic speed and the ability to take the top off the defense.
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Falcons general manager Terry Fontenot was informed of Calvin Ridley's in-season gambling before the suspension became official
Atlanta is picking above the tier.
He started twice in place of Jones, and while his first game produced a measly one catch for 13 yards against the Carolina Panthers in Week 5, he bounced back four weeks later in Week 9 with his first career 100-yard game and a 51-yard touchdown against the Denver Broncos.
The 51-yarder pales in comparison to his first career touchdown (and catch) in 2019, a 93-yard catch-and-run which still ranks as the third-longest play in Falcons history.
There are doubts as to whether Zacchaeus will be the one to slide into Atlanta's No. 3 role. First-round rookie Kyle Pitts is expected to hog a good chunk of targets and, considering that new head coach Arthur Smith loves using multiple tight ends, expect those sets utilizing the productive Hayden Hurst.
Last season with Smith's influence as offensive coordinator, the Titans put two tight ends on the field 38 percent  of the time. The Falcons only had one tight end (Hurst) on the field for more than 50 percent of their snaps.
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Zacchaeus also has some competition, as the Falcons drafted receiver Frank Hardy in the sixth round and signed free agent Cordarrelle Patterson.
There are several directions the Falcons can go in to fill in Jones's void, and there is no guarantee that Zacchaeus will be answer. But after a couple years as a role player, the speedster will get his shot in training camp to prove he can be a star as Atlanta's No. 3 receiver.

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