Falcons first-round draft picks Kaleb McGary (left) and Chris Lindstrom walk off the field after practice during minicamp on Wednesday, June 12, 2019, in Flowery Branch.
Photo: Curtis Compton/ccompton@ajc.com
Photo: Curtis Compton/ccompton@ajc.com

Cover 9@9: Falcons shut out of PFWA’s All-Rookie team

Welcome to the Cover 9@9 blog - our weekly list of nine things that you need to know about the Atlanta Falcons.

1. The No-Spin Zone. For the fourth time over the past six drafts, the Falcons were shut out of the All-Rookie team as chosen in voting conducted by the Professional Football Writers of America (PFWA).

The Falcons’ first-round draft picks, guard Chris Lindstrom and offensive tackle Kaleb McGary, did not make the 2019 All-Rookie team.

The Saints led all clubs with three All-Rookie selections with cornerback Chauncey Gardner-Johnson, punt returner Deonte Harris and center Erik McCoy. 

The All-Rookie offense included Green Bay’s Elgton Jenkins and Denver’s Dalton Risner at guard and Houston’s Tytus Howard along with Jacksonville’s Jawaan Taylor at tackle.

» FALCONS REPORT CARD: Porous blocking doomed offense

Lindstrom missed 11 games with a broken foot. He played well over the final four games of the season. Jenkins was drafted in the second round (44th overall) and Risner was drafted in the second round (41st overall).

McGary lost out to Howard, who was drafted ahead of him by Houston in the first round with the 23rd overall pick. Taylor was the next tackle taken in the draft after McGary. He went to Jacksonville in the second round (35th overall). 

Cornerback Kendall Sheffield, who played 708 defensive snaps (67 percent), received some votes. 

San Francisco defensive end Nick Bosa, who posted nine sacks and led the NFL with 25 quarterback hits, was selected as the 2019 rookie of the year and the defensive rookie of the year.

Oakland running back Josh Jacobs, who led all NFL rookies in rushing yards and rushing touchdowns, was selected as the 2019 offensive rookie of the year.

Last season, wide receiver Calvin Ridley made the All-Rookie team.

In 2018, defensive end Takk McKinley did not make the All-Rookie team.

In 2016, safety Keanu Neal and linebacker Deion Jones, who was the team’s second-round pick, both made the All-Rookie team.

In 2015, defensive end Vic Beasley was beaten out by Minnesota’s Danielle Hunter and three defensive tackles.  

In 2014, first-round pick Jake Matthews was not selected All-Rookie. He was beaten out in the voting by Tennessee’s Taylor Lewan and Miami’s Ja’Wuan James (North Gwinnett High). 

Kansas City’s Mecole Hardman, who played at Georgia, was selected as the kickoff returner on this year’s All-Rookie team. 

2019 PFWA ALL-ROOKIE TEAM

Offense

QB – Kyler Murray, Arizona Cardinals
RB – Josh Jacobs, Oakland Raiders; Miles Sanders, Philadelphia Eagles
WR – A.J. Brown, Tennessee Titans; Terry McLaurin, Washington Redskins
TE – Noah Fant, Denver Broncos
C – Erik McCoy, New Orleans Saints
G – Elgton Jenkins, Green Bay Packers; Dalton Risner, Denver Broncos
T – Tytus Howard, Houston Texans; Jawaan Taylor, Jacksonville Jaguars

Defense

DL – Josh Allen, Jacksonville Jaguars; Nick Bosa, San Francisco 49ers; Dexter Lawrence, New York Giants; Ed Oliver, Buffalo Bills
LB – Devin Bush, Pittsburgh Steelers; Dre Greenlaw, San Francisco 49ers; Devin White, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
CB – Chauncey Gardner-Johnson, New Orleans Saints; Sean Murphy-Bunting, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
S – Darnell Savage, Green Bay Packers; Juan Thornhill, Kansas City Chiefs

Special Teams

PK – Austin Seibert, Cleveland Browns
P – Jamie Gillan, Cleveland Browns
KR – Mecole Hardman, Kansas City Chiefs
PR – Deonte Harris, New Orleans Saints
ST – Drue Tranquill, Los Angeles Chargers

PFWA NFL ROOKIE OF THE YEAR: 1966 – MLB Tommy Nobis, Atlanta Falcons; 1967-75 – no selections; 1976 – WR Sammy White, Minnesota Vikings; 1977 – RB Tony Dorsett, Dallas Cowboys; 1978 – RB Earl Campbell, Houston Oilers; 1979 – RB Ottis Anderson, St. Louis Cardinals; 1980 – RB Billy Sims, Detroit Lions; 1981 – RB George Rogers, New Orleans Saints; 1982 – RB Marcus Allen, Los Angeles Raiders; 1983 – RB Eric Dickerson, Los Angeles Rams; 1984 – WR/KR Louis Lipps, Pittsburgh Steelers; 1985 – WR Eddie Brown, Cincinnati Bengals; 1986 – RB Rueben Mayes, New Orleans Saints; 1987 – ILB Shane Conlan, Buffalo Bills; 1988 – RB John Stephens, New England Patriots; 1990 – S Mark Carrier, Chicago Bears; 1991 – OLB Mike Croel, Denver Broncos; 1992-2012 – no selections; 2013 – RB Eddie Lacy, Green Bay Packers; 2014 – WR Odell Beckham, Jr., New York Giants; 2015 – RB Todd Gurley, St. Louis Rams; 2016 – RB Ezekiel Elliott, Dallas Cowboys; 2017 – RB Kareem Hunt, Kansas City Chiefs; 2018 – QB Baker Mayfield, Cleveland Browns; 2019 – DE Nick Bosa, San Francisco 49ers.

2. Berry College player in East-West Shrine Bowl. Wide receiver Mason Kinsey, from Division III Berry College, is set to play in the East-West Shrine game on Saturday. 

Kinsey, 5-foot-11 and 187 pounds, played in high school at Habersham Central High and is from Demorest. He was a Division III All-American and had 50 touchdown catches over his career.

3. New uniforms. The Falcons are set to unveil new Nike uniforms in April, the team announced Tuesday

Falcons owner Arthur Blank wrote a letter to the ticket holders addressing the unrest with the team that saw many of them stay away from the home games last season.

“As we enter the new year, I want to send a personal note of gratitude to you, our season ticket members,” Blank wrote in the letter that was made available by the team. “Football is an emotional game played by emotional players, coaches, and yes, owners. As a newcomer, I quickly realized what makes Atlanta so special – her people. Native Atlantans, a community defined by perseverance, welcomed a dreamer like me. Together, we built our hometown into a metropolis of global stature.”

It’s been 17 years since the Falcons have made a uniform change. The Falcons have been working with Nike on the new design for the past two seasons and have received player and fan feedback. 

“The Falcons have a proud tradition of bringing people and communities together from all walks of life, and our shared passion for winning football helps fuel this team,” Blank said. “As I stated when I purchased the Falcons in 2002, my promise remains the same: to bring a championship team to both our city and our community – on and off the field.”

4.  Poll on new uniforms. Got one of those Twitter polls running on the uniforms. Go vote.

5. Hageman was a wasted draft pick. In minor roster maintenance moves, the Falcons released defensive tackle Ra’Shede Hageman and tight end Alex Gray from the injured-reserve list Monday. 

Both had not been with the team for months.

Hageman, who started for the Falcons in Super Bowl LI, was a second-round pick in 2014. His career got off track after a domestic-violence incident in 2016 in DeKalb County that led to his release from the team and suspension by the NFL.

After being out of the league for two seasons, the Falcons gave him an opportunity to make a comeback and signed him to a one-year contract last April.

Gray, a former rugby player, was apart of the NFL’s International Player program and spent two seasons on the practice squad.

6. Coleman instrumental in 49ers win. 49ers running back Tevin Coleman rushed 22 times for 105 yards and two touchdowns in the 27-10 playoff win over the Vikings on Saturday. Coleman was drafted by the Falcons in 2015, but allowed to leave in free agency after last season as the Falcons had already hitched their wagon to Devonta Freeman. 

He signed a two-year, $10 million deal. The market was so depressed for running backs, that the Falcons almost had a chance to re-sign him. 

7. Titans have Falcons connection. Tennessee offensive line coach Keith Carter joined the Titans after three seasons with the Falcons. In 2015 and 2016 he was the assistant offensive line coach before coaching the running backs in 2017.

He coached Wes Schweitzer in college and was a big advocate for him during his time with the Falcons. If Schweitzer doesn’t re-sign with the Falcons in free agency, look for him to land in Tennessee. 

8. McKinley had successful left shoulder surgery.  Falcons defensive end Takk McKinley had left shoulder surgery, according to his social-media account.

Carolina linebacker Luke Kuechly tackles Falcons wide receiver Calvin Ridley Sunday, Nov. 17. 2019, at Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte.
Photo: Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

9. Farewell to Kuechly. Panthers linebacker Luke Kuechly, 28, elected to retire from the NFL on Tuesday. 

He was a seven-time All-Pro selection and one of the great middle linebackers of the last decade. 

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About the Author

D. Orlando Ledbetter
D. Orlando Ledbetter
D. Orlando Ledbetter is the Atlanta Falcons beat writer for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
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