The Falcons drafted Pitt running back Qadree Ollison with the hope he'd eventually become a good complement to their run game, similar to how they drafted Ito Smith last year. It's unlikely Ollison will make a major impact in 2019, but the one-cut runner has good size and power to rumble between the tackles. With the long-term outlook in mind, Ollison is only worth a late pick in rookie-only drafts.
Ollison rushed nine times for a game-high 44 yards and failed to catch either of his two targets during Thursday's 22-10 preseason loss to the Jets. Ollison got the biggest workload of any Falcons running back and made the most of it, showing why he remains the favorite to secure the third spot on Atlanta's depth chart over Brian Hill, who managed just 12 yards on four carries in this one. Ollison isn't out of the woods yet, however, with two more weeks left in preseason.
Ollison picked up 41 rushing yards and a touchdown on eight carries during Thursday's 34-27 loss to Miami. Ollison got his name back in the mix for Atlanta's No. 2 running back job with a strong performance against Miami, taking advantage of a matchup with the NFL's 31st-ranked rush defense from a season ago. To become a more balanced, every-down back he will strive to improve upon his elusiveness and agility, but as currently constructed, the big-bodied Ollison is an interesting fit for Dirk Koetter's offensive scheme. Ito Smith has not received the requisite number of touches this preseason (eight total) to get an updated fantasy appraisal, but Ollison is doing what he can to build a case for himself as the potential No. 2, if not at least the team's No. 3 guy.
Ollison rushed six times for two yards and brought in one of two targets for three yards in the Falcons' 14-10 preseason loss to the Broncos on Thursday. Ollison logged the second-most carries behind Brian Hill, but he did next to nothing with them. While the former Pitt Panther gained four yards on one of his rushes, he netted minus-2 on his other five totes. Ollison is battling Hill, Ito Smith and Kenjon Barner for a backup job behind Devonta Freeman, but his first on-field audition didn't exactly qualify as a ringing endorsement. He'll look to up his production against the Dolphins in next Thursday's exhibition clash.
The Falcons selected Ollison in the fifth round of the 2019 NFL Draft, 152nd overall. It always seemed likely Atlanta would add more competition for the backup job behind Devonta Freeman. Ollison joins the mix as a bowling ball of a prospect who shined as a redshirt freshman while filling in for an injured James Conner at Pitt, but then had two disappointing seasons before exploding for 1,213 yards on 6.3 YPC over 14 starts in 2018. At 6-foot-1 and 228 pounds, it wouldn't surprise anyone if he carves out a short-yardage role in Atlanta.
|* indicates player did not play that week|
|WK||DATE||OPP||OPP RANK||OPP FPTS|
|7||10/20||Los Angeles Rams||14||17.26|
|10||11/10||@New Orleans Saints||3||12.44|
|12||11/24||Tampa Bay Buccaneers||28||21.25|
|13||11/29||New Orleans Saints||3||12.44|
|15||12/15||@San Francisco 49ers||20||19.00|
|17||12/29||@Tampa Bay Buccaneers||28||21.25|