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Mack Hollins 'Stepping Up' as Leader on Falcons Offense

Mack Hollins is only three months into his tenure as a receiver for the Atlanta Falcons, but he's already making his presence known around the team's facilities.

Atlanta Falcons record-breaking receiver Drake London was speaking with reporters Wednesday when he saw a face appear in the window behind him.

London paused, glanced and made eye contact with fellow receiver Mack Hollins, who intently listened to each word his teammate said.

All London could do was smile, laugh and continue to answer questions - but not to be lost in the moment is the clear chemistry developing between he and Hollins.

"We love Mack," London said, shortly thereafter.

The reason for the fast-growing friendship between the two is simple in London's eyes; there's a common personality and drive shared by players that Falcons coach Arthur Smith and general manager Terry Fontenot have added to the roster over the past three years, making it easy for the new pieces to blend together.

This budding relationship is particularly important when considering that Hollins, 29, is currently the favorite to be Atlanta's No. 2 receiver, flanking London.

Sure, the Falcons have plenty of weapons on offense, be it London, tight ends Kyle Pitts and Jonnu Smith, or running backs Bijan Robinson, Tyler Allgeier and Cordarrelle Patterson, which makes Hollins' actual usage less clear ... but he's proven early on in his time in Atlanta that he's going to be impactful in one way or another.

Thus far, Hollins, who's entering his seventh year as a professional, has starred as a leader on the young Falcons' offense, in which he's the oldest pure wideout and sixth oldest overall player.

When discussing top veteran presences, Falcons quarterback Desmond Ridder singled out Hollins - as opposed to a number of other new additions - as particularly impressive.

"In that wide receivers room, it's a lot of young guys and Mack has done a great job of stepping up, taking those guys under," Ridder said. "Whether it's in the weight room, whether it's in the film room, whatever it may be, he's one of those first guys to be vocal about it and be able to go in and get everybody going ...

"And make sure that everybody's working hard and not doing just the stuff to get by, rather to make everyone better."

But Hollins is more than just a potent veteran leader - he has a chance to be a legitimate option for Ridder and Atlanta's offense this fall, fresh off a career year with the Las Vegas Raiders.

Entering 2022, Hollins had played in 65 games with eight starts during stints with the Philadelphia Eagles and Miami Dolphins. At those stops, he saw 98 targets and logged 56 receptions for 750 yards and six touchdowns.

But in his one season with the Raiders, Hollins came close to matching if not exceeding each of those numbers, being targeted 96 times and hauling in 57 catches for 690 yards and four scores.

In addition to his newfound uptick in offensive production, the 6-4, 221-pound Hollins brings a strong special teams background to Atlanta, starring as a gunner and being named a special teams captain in Las Vegas last year.

Raiders punter A.J. Cole dubbed Hollins "the Davante Adams of special teams," in reference to the All-Pro receiver's stellar play, with Adams chiming in that Hollins is "a superstar all-around to me."

Why? Ask the 21-year-old London, who praised Hollins' ability to balance his easy-going nature with professionalism and bringing a seasoned voice to an otherwise inexperienced receivers room.

"He's been a great vet in our room to help us," London said. "He brings an energy every day - he's always joking around, but at the same time, we're serious in that room, and he also brings that, as well."

And now, Hollins will aim to help bring the Falcons back to the playoffs for the first time since 2017 - something he's already playing a large part in by setting a strong foundation and providing mentorship during the summer months.

You can follow Daniel Flick on Twitter @DFlickDraft

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