Sunday, October 17, 2021

Falcons host ‘Swiss Army Knife’ & 2 others: report

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The Atlanta Falcons are having a goodbye week, but that doesn’t mean Arthur Smith and Co. are on vacation to perfect their roster.

NFL insider Aaron Wilson reported that the Falcons drafted three players on Tuesday, October 12, including linebacker Daren Bates, wide receiver Cody Core and Safety Will Parks.

It seems that the Hawks’ main focus here was on empowering their specialty teams, as all three of these veterans spent much of their snaps on specialty teams.

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Bates, 30, have been a standout team throughout his career after entering the league in 2013 as an undrafted free agent. Prior to his release, Bates spent the last four seasons in Tennessee, appearing in 13 games for the Titans in 2020 and playing 66% of the Snaps on special teams. Aside from his stay in Tennessee, he’s also toured with the Houston Texans, Las Vegas Raiders, and LA Rams. In nearly nine seasons, Bates has played 118 NFL games. He is a familiar face to the current Falcons head coach and former Titans offensive coordinator Arthur Smith.

Core, 27, is another familiar face who trained with the Falcons back in September. Originally a 2016 six-round pick for the Cincinnati Bengals, Core has seen action in 51 career games (seven starts) and scored 33 receptions for 388 yards and a touchdown. He has also recorded 16 career tackles on specialty teams. It’s been two years since Core played in the regular season, but when he did he was a key player for the Giants specialty teams, where he made 8 tackles and had 33 career receptions for 388 yards and a touchdown Smith and Co. might have seen something promising on their last visit if they invited him for more.

Park, 27, was selected by the Denver Broncos in the sixth round of the 2016 NFL draft. As a rookie, the Arizona product played in all 16 games, scoring 22 tackles (17 solos), three defended passes, one tackle for a loss, a fumble, and an interception. He was dubbed Denver’s “Swiss Army Knife” after being a dependable nickel security, dime-backer and player on special teams.

The Falcons currently have a spot on the practice team after sacking two players and signing Parker Hesse again on Tuesday. We’ll see what other moves Smith has up his sleeve during Bye week in Atlanta.

Parks would make the most sense for the Falcons to sign with their launch security Erik Harris, who is questionable with a persistent calf problem.

Harris went down against Washington and didn’t train last week, nor did he play the New York Jets in the London game. Instead, the Falcons were forced to play rookies Richie Grant and Darren Hall in his place.

Adding parks brings not only versatility but also some veteran experience to these young and injured secondary and fighting specialty teams.

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