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5 things to know about the Falcons before the NFL combine


Things will pick up next week with the NFL scouting combine set to start, but here are five things to know about the Falcons:

1. Coordinators to speak. Falcons coach Dan Quinn and new coordinators Dirk Koetter (offense) and Ben Kotwica will speak Wednesday to the media.

2. NFLPA externship program. In its sixth year, the NFLPA Externship has 66 players working with 27 organizations. The players will work with businesses ranging from start-ups to established industry leaders while learning about the legislative process, the financial literacy space and media skills.

“We are proud to provide a service for our members that allows them to gain practical experience that will go a long way in positioning them to succeed in their post-football careers,” NFLPA player manager Connor Ford said. “By expanding the players’ network through organizations that are committed to immersing the externs in their fields, the NFLPA Externship continues to be one of the most valued programs offered by our union.”

Defensive tackle Justin Zimmer (Gatorade Sports Science Institute), safety Keith Tandy (Los Angeles Police Department, former draft pick Devin Fuller (The Trust) and former draft pick and Stansly Maponga (Fanatics) are participating in the program.

3. Combine set. Twenty-five former Georgia high school football players have been invited to the NFL scouting combine to be held Feb. 26-March 4 at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis.

Georgia’s representation is tied for third-most with California and trails Florida (51) and Texas (31), according to Ohio is next with 20. There are 338 invitees overall.

4. Kiper Mock pick. ESPN’s Mel Kiper has the Falcons selecting Houston defensive tackle Ed Oliver with the 14th overall pick in the draft in his latest Mock draft.

Ed Oliver, DT, Houston

Oliver’s first step off the ball is one of the fastest I’ve seen from a defensive tackle. And yes, his play was picked apart throughout the 2018 season, but he’s a fantastic prospect who has a ways to go to reach his ceiling. He could do that in the right situation in the NFL. As I mentioned in my first Mock Draft, he could be a Day 1 replacement if Atlanta doesn’t bring back free agent Grady Jarrett.”

5. Simms off to 0-2 start. Former Falcons quarterback Matt Simms is 0-2 with the Atlanta Legends of the Alliance of American Football League.

The Legends host the Birmingham Iron in their season-opener at 4 p.m. Sunday at Georgia State Stadium.

Simms has completed 32 of 53 passes (60.4 percent) for 286 yards, three interceptions and one touchdown.

The Iron are led by former Falcons secondary coach Tim Lewis.

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