FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. – The Atlanta Falcons appear to have a surplus of talent in their receiving corps. Roddy White and Julio Jones are undoubtedly two of the best in all of football, and beyond these guys (and Harry Douglas), you’ll find several other rising stars trying to move up on the depth chart.
Kevin Cone has been through the rigors of training camp, practice squad and a little regular-season action after one year in the NFL, but now he’s ready to really make an impact in Atlanta.
With the first release of the 2012 depth chart, Cone currently sits in line for third string, behind the three aforementioned wide outs and Kerry Meier. Knowing that the Falcons typically carried five receivers throughout 2011, Cone appears to be in a battle for that last spot on the roster.
Drew Davis, another second-year receiver, is also listed at the top of third string, making him likely the top competition for Cone. However, the relationship between the two young athletes makes this clash even tougher.
“We’re great friends. We were both on the practice squad last year,” said Cone, talking about Davis after the two played catch for a few minutes following Tuesday’s camp session. He believes, though, their friendship pushes both competitors to give 100 percent each day.
While speaking about the fight for the fifth receiver slot, Cone said, “I love it. I love the competition. I love working. Drew is a great receiver and I think we’re pushing each other to get better.”
He acknowledged the fact that even though the two get along well, they know why they’re here, and what comes first. “You know it’s a job and we’re here to work,” Cone said. “We both want the team to do well, and both have the team in mind.”
After a lockout-shortened offseason in 2011, Cone seems much happier with the regular routine this time around. “It’s different. I like it a lot better. Last year I was just thrown into it, you had to learn really quick,” Cone said. ”Now you take time and go over the plays in detail, and get a better understanding of the offense.”
Cone made great strides throughout his first pro season. He didn’t see much action in the triple-option offense at Georgia Tech, but it hasn’t hindered his ability to fit into the Falcons organization. As he continues to work and improve every week, his chances of making the regular season roster keep rising. His mixture of size and speed creates a threat to any opposing defense.
A Georgia native, Cone truly appreciates the opportunity to play near his home. “I love playing at home. I don’t know if it gives me the upper hand,” he said in regards to his competition with Davis. “But my family’s here and it’s great playing for the hometown team.”
Upper hand or not, Cone will do everything in his power to be with the team in Kansas City when Week 1 rolls around.