Atlanta Falcons rookie RB Tyler Allgeier will have opportunity to contribute

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Tyler Allgeier records his 3rd TD of the game for BYU (0:31)

Tyler Allgeier muscles his way past the goal line for his third rushing touchdown of the game. (0:31)

FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. -- Tyler Allgeier likes to bowl. It’s a fun hobby of his, and he’s pretty good at it – professing an average around 180. That Allgeier likes to bowl seems to fit, in many ways, with the profession he’s about to embark on.

If you watch Allgeier run, he often seems like a bowling ball when he makes contact with defenders, who sometimes can scatter like pins on impact. He’s a physical, punishing runner – qualities Atlanta Falcons coach Arthur Smith likes in his backs, which is why he was a pick who made a lot of sense for the franchise in the fifth round of the NFL draft last weekend.

Allgeier's 50 broken tackles last season at BYU were the most in the FBS, so he’s not inclined to go down on the first hit. He is 5-foot-11, 224 pounds. His style is more of a one-cut back than someone who is going to dance around waiting for a hole to open.

“We love his yards after contact. Love the mental makeup,” Smith said Saturday. “Think he's a guy that should come in here, if he's not contributing on first, second down right away, he's a guy, hopefully, who helps us on fourth down.

“But the opportunity is there.”

The opportunity grew more Monday, when the Falcons cut the back they signed last season to be their early-down, lead back -- Mike Davis. Davis never quite worked out in Atlanta, averaging 3.6 yards per carry and 29.6 yards per game. Cordarrelle Patterson, a converted wide receiver who has a different skill set than Davis, passed him on the depth chart.

Patterson re-signed with the team this offseason. Atlanta also brought back Qadree Ollison and signed Damien Williams. But none of those players will necessarily prevent Allgeier from receiving a real shot to get early work in the Falcons' offense.

Patterson is a different type of back -- a hybrid running back/wide receiver who is more of an offensive option that can line up anywhere on the field. Williams and Allgeier have similar makeup, but Williams has never been a lead back in an offense in his NFL career – having over 100 carries just once, in 2019 with the Kansas City Chiefs. He has never rushed for more than 498 yards in a season, also in 2019 with the Chiefs.

It was clear the Falcons’ running back room needed change after last season, when the club ranked 30th in yards per rush (3.7), 31st in yards per game (85.4), were one of four teams under 400 carries (393) and rushed for only 11 touchdowns -- ranking 27th.

So there will be opportunity for Allgeier to make an impact as a rookie. There is even a chance he ends up as the team’s opening day starter in September because it’s a room that’s wide open. It would have been that even if Davis had remained on the roster.

If you listen to how Smith talked about Allgeier in his post-draft news conference, you get the sense he could have a chance at a real role early on. Smith said he felt like Allgeier was potentially underused at BYU. He called his production -- 276 carries for 1,606 yards and 23 touchdowns last season -- “unreal.”

And Allgeier did it for more than one season. In 2020, he had 150 carries for 1,130 yards -- a 7.5 yard-per-carry average -- with 13 touchdowns. So he’s more than a bruising back. There’s explosion in some of his runs as well.

Like many rookie backs, pass protection will have to be a learned skill, so seeing him on third down might not happen right away. And with Patterson in the offense, there might not be a need.

But the chance is there for Allgeier to at least have a meaningful role in the Falcons' offense in 2022.