All Air Force receivers are expected to be, first and foremost, good blockers. In that regard, the Falcons do lose two good blockers to graduation in Ben Peterson and Daniel Morris. However, in the more traditional receiver skills of pass catching, speed, and route running ability, the Falcons have two excellent returnees in Kyle Patterson and Brandon Lewis, their top two pass catchers from last year.
In addition, returning from turnback will be a very promising talent in David Cormier. a three star receiving recruit in 2017. At 6’ 3” and 210 pounds, he is very reminiscent of recent stars Jalen Robinette, Marcus Bennett, and Geraud Sanders.
Adding some experience in reserve will be wideout Jake Spiewak and tight end Dalton King.
- Kyle Patterson
- Dalton King
- David Cormier
- Jake Spiewak
- Brandon Lewis
- Micah Davis
Patterson led the team in receptions last year with 12 in 5 games (he missed one game due to COVID protocol). I’ll put that statistic in context - no tight end has led the Falcons in receptions since 2002 when Adam Strecker led the team with 14 in 13 games. The last Falcon tight end to have more than 12 receptions was Garrett Griffin with 16 in 2014, and he is in the NFL now with the New Orleans Saints.
Patterson is an exceptional talent who could easily be first team All-Mountain West if the Falcons target him enough. I haven’t reviewed all the tapes but I don’t remember any dropped passes and I do remember a couple good grabs on high passes. I also remember a couple false starts when he was anxious to execute his blocking assignment, but he was only a sophomore and will improve on that.
There is a reason he was recruited by Oregon State, Washington, Arizona, and Alabama.
It has been a long wait to see the next iteration of a recent series of good Falcon wideouts. Cormier is a junior in eligibility, but has not seen any game action. Early in his career he was buried behind Marcus Bennett and Geraud Sanders. Last year, he was the presumed starter before the postponement of the Mountain West season, and he took the turnback option to save some eligibility.
All reports about Cormier have been positive regarding his hands and strength. In a recent interview given by fullback Brad Roberts, he specifically mentioned the great receivers the Falcons had returning, and mentioned Cormier by name. The caveat is of course that we have not seen him in game day action.
I already covered Lewis in my preview of the running backs, you can read it here. As a receiver out of the backfield, he provides higher top end speed than the other receivers. As a group, these three receivers have complimentary skill sets that should force defenses to maintain coverage on all three and not sell out to stop the run.
Given the fact that the Falcons need to replace their entire offensive line, it’s certainly possible that we might see more passing action than the last two years when the Falcons averaged 10 passes per game. With the strong receiving corps and further development in the passing game by Haaziq Daniels, I expect the Falcons will push the attempts up closer to 15 per game.
My next article will focus on that offensive line.