Leonard Hankerson: 'We can be a top-five offense'


FLOWERY BRANCH – Falcons wide receiver Leonard Hankerson believes the team has enough talent to be a top-five offense in the NFL.

Hankerson, 26, was signed to a one-year contract in free agency after playing four seasons in Washington, where he caught a career-high 57 passes in 2012 under new Falcons offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan.

“During my years with him in Washington, we were one of the top offenses in the league,” Hankerson said. “With the weapons that he has on this team, there is no doubt about it that we can be a top-five offense. We can be a great team.”

Leonard Hankerson after OTAs on Tuesday. (By D. Orlando Ledbetter/dledbetter@ajc.com)

The Falcon must maintain their passing ranking and improve dramatically rushing the football.

The Falcons were eighth overall last season in total yards with 378.2 per game. They were 24th in rushing at 93.5 yards per game and fifth in passing, 284.6 yards per game.

Hankerson is competing to earn the top spot behind former Pro Bowl wide receivers Julio Jones and Roddy White.

“We have a great corps,” Hankerson said. “One of the best I’ve been on. Last year, being in there with Pierre (Garcon), DeSean (Jackson) and Santana (Moss), it’s up there,” Hankerson said. “Roddy and Julio, you know they are great guys. We are all competing with each other. We are out there working hard. We are doing what we have to do to make plays.”

Hankerson, 6-foot-2, 211 pounds, has been able to help the receivers with the new terminology and route-concepts.

“Everybody knows their job,” Hankerson said. “They know what we have to go out there and get done. We have different players that can play different positions. We are moving everybody around.

“That’s what we have to do to get the job done. You can’t just know one of the positions, you have to know all of them. We have some play makers that are going to get it done.”

Hankerson, who was slowed by a hip injury as a rookie in 2011, battled to come back from knee surgery last season.

“I’m good,” Hankerson said. “I’ve been in the training room, doing what I have to do to take care of my body. Everything is going good.”


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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.