Mohamed Sanu looks the part. Now let's see how impressive he looks on the field as organized team activities begin on Monday.
The Atlanta Falcons signed the former Cincinnati Bengal to a five-year contract worth $6.5 million per year to become their No. 2 wide receiver behind Julio Jones. Sanu said he feels comfortable with his new teammates already -- thanks in large part to a passing camp that quarterback Matt Ryan put together in South Florida.
Now, the true measure of Sanu's worth will come on Sundays when he suits up in live action. But Monday might offer the first real glimpse of the type of chemistry Sanu could have with Ryan. He is a physical receiver capable of establishing separation. Many have questioned why the Falcons paid so much for a player who didn't necessarily establish himself as the No. 2 guy before, but that's just motivation for Sanu to prove his doubters wrong.
Here are four other things to watch as the Falcons begin OTAs:
Pass-rush combinations. Even with his move to strongside linebacker, the Falcons expect Vic Beasley to thrive as the team's primary pass-rusher. Surely Beasley is aware of the comments made by Bruce Irvin, who played on the strong side for coach Dan Quinn when Quinn was the defensive coordinator in Seattle. Irvin said he wasn't able to truly thrive as a pass-rusher in that role. But as Quinn pointed out, Beasley will retain his role as an edge rusher in the nickel defense, whereas Irvin did not have that role in Seattle. Beasley is working to add counter movers to his quickness by studying Von Miller. But who's going to work alongside Beasley? Initially, it's likely to be a combination of Beasley and Adrian Clayborn on the edges with Grady Jarrett and newcomer Derrick Shelby on the interior. Don't forget about veteran Jonathan Babineaux. And for some reason, the Falcons seem excited about a slimmed-down Brooks Reed. So OTAs could give a better feel for how those groups align, although they can't truly simulate taking the quarterback to the ground. Remember, the Falcons had a league-low 19 sacks last season.
Competition at inside linebacker. The Falcons addressed a need a linebacker by drafting LSU's Deion Jones in the second round and Minnesota's De'Vondre Campbell in the fourth. Both will play inside linebacker, with Jones competing against Paul Worrilow in the middle and Campbell having a chance to make an impact on the weak side, with veterans Philip Wheeler and Sean Weatherspoon also in the mix. It will be interesting to see how many first-team reps Jones gets as he battles Worrilow. Jones has much more speed and the type of range the Falcons sorely need at the position. But Worrilow is extremely intelligent and knows the defense front to back, so he'll be hard to keep off the field. It's logical to see Jones on the field in third-down coverage situations to take advantage of his speed.
Running wild. Speaking of competition, don't count out Tevin Coleman at running back despite the breakout year Pro Bowler Devonta Freeman had last season. The last we heard of Coleman, he was recovering from a concussion after slipping in the shower. The team still firmly believes Coleman has big-play ability -- as long as he gets a handle on his fumbling issues. This is not to say Coleman will overtake Freeman, but Freeman can't afford to let his guard down. Two quality running backs is a good problem to have, so let's see what type of offseason Coleman puts together. Remember last year, both Freeman and Coleman entered the regular season coming off hamstring injuries.
In a corner. Cornerback Jalen Collins, a second-round pick from LSU last season, is suspended for the first four games of the regular season for violating the league's policy on performance-enhancing drugs. Collins still is able to practice, meaning he has the chance to show he's improved after a dismal rookie season. The plan was to have Collins play in the cornerback spot opposite Desmond Trufant and kick Robert Alford inside, but that failed. The Falcons are looking at an insurance policy, and reportedly are hosting Brandon Boykin for a visit Monday, but Boykin is considered more of a nickel corner. And the Falcons need depth at the position regardless. If Collins doesn't show improvement, he'll go down as the first major draft blunder of the Dan Quinn Era.