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Atlanta Falcons Wideout Harry Douglas: Primed for a Breakout in 2009

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Atlanta Falcons Wideout Harry Douglas: Primed for a Breakout in 2009
(Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)

Atlanta Falcons wide receiver Harry Douglas is no stranger to doubters; he's never been considered a top-shelf receiver—he's no Roddy White or Randy Moss.

He's often heard that he's too short (5'11"), too light (171 pounds), too skinny or too slow (4.5 forty) to be an elite receiver.

As a senior coming out of Jonesboro High School in Jonesboro, Ga, he wasn't highly-touted, but he was respectable and garnered the attention of such high profile schools as Georgia, Pittsburgh, and Missouri.

He decided on the University of Louisville and set out to prove that he was a better than average player with some serious pro potential to be had for the team that took a gamble on him.

His career at Louisville started off slowly, but by the time he left he was considered one of the best on his team and in the Big East, garnering first-team honors and loads of respect.

Douglas found his way back to his home state of Georgia via a third-round draft selection by the Atlanta Falcons in 2008 and immediately became a possible candidate for the second wide-receiver slot on the team.

Michael Jenkins would eventually win out but Douglas took his opportunities where he found them and made quite an impression on the team in limited play.

By season's end he had 23 catches for 320 yards and a touchdown.

Now, entering into his second full-season, he will have the chance to possibly break free and make a name for himself in an Atlanta offense that looks to be potent in 2009.

How?

Well, for one, the presence of Tony Gonzalez is sure to attract some worthy attention as he is likely to get the lions share of Ryan's short-to-intermediate passes—particularly when he isn't acting as a blocker for Michael Turner.

However, when there is a pass play, look for Douglas to line up in the slot alongside Gonzalez and cause some mismatches with the opposing defenses.

He will find ample lanes to run through with defenses concentrating on a)Michael Turner and b) Tony Gonzalez. When they do, they will miss the bolt that will be Harry Douglas flying 15-20 yards up the field for the big catch.

He may only be 5'11" and weigh a paltry 171 lbs, but he is deceptively quick and can be counted on to make big plays down field when given the chance—last season, with limited targets (39), he managed to make five catches of 20 or more yards.

Further, Douglas is good enough to work his way into the coveted number two slot if he continues to play as well as he did last season—Michael Jenkins doesn't have a stranglehold on the position, despite performing well last season, and could find himself pushed if he reverts to his 2007 self.

Either way, the Falcons will continue to find ways to get Douglas into the game—he was often in on special teams plays last year and performed well. 

All Douglas needs is opportunity. The talent is there—for anyone who believes his size will get him into trouble, tell that to the defenders who have had a hard time bringing him down once he has the ball in his hands.

At the end of the day, it may seem like a long shot that Harry Douglas will be anything more than a passing thought, but it won't be the first time Douglas has had to prove the doubters wrong.

Look for him to open some eyes and close some mouths this coming season.

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