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Tajae Sharpe Featured, Making Falcons Roster Decisions Harder

Veteran wide receiver Tajae Sharpe was around the ball a lot in the Falcons open practice at Mercedes-Benz Stadium on Saturday.

Wide receiver has been a loaded position group for the Atlanta Falcons in recent years. Even without Julio Jones, that's no different this summer.

The Falcons coaching staff will have difficult decisions to make as it chooses who to include in the wide receiver room to begin the season. Veteran Tajae Sharpe isn't making it easy on them. 

Sharpe was featured often in the team's final open training camp practice at Mercedes-Benz Stadium on Saturday afternoon. 

WATCH: Highlights from Atlanta Falcons Practice at Mercedes-Benz

And not just with the second-team offense. Sharpe received targets from both Matt Ryan and A.J. McCarron.

Sharpe had an opportunity on a pass in the corner of the end zone from McCarron towards the beginning of the second half of Saturday's practice. The ball appeared to be overthrown at first, but Sharpe tracked it down and did an excellent job of dragging both his feet while making the catch.

The referee ruled Sharpe out of bounds. While McCarron did avoid the cornerback draped over Sharpe, he overthrew the veteran wideout. Still, sitting in the stands, I couldn't tell on the big Mercedes-Benz Jumbotron whether Sharpe's feet were definitely out of bounds.

There was obviously no review because this was a practice. Had this occurred in a real game, though, Sharpe was close enough to inbounds that a challenge would have been warranted.

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In the opposite end zone later in practice, Sharpe received another inaccurate pass, this time from Ryan. Sharpe hauled it in with one hand, but again, he was out of bounds. Still, the one-handed grab looked impressive from my viewpoint.

Fans can interpret Sharpe's high volume of targets and near-touchdown catches Saturday one of two ways. The Falcons could have already identified Sharpe as on the roster bubble, so the coaching staff gave him lots of opportunities to leave an impression Saturday.

READ MORE: X-Factors: Falcons Have Two On Offense

Although he scored some style points with catches nearly inbounds, Arthur Smith probably isn't going to be overjoyed with near-misses.

On the other hand, Sharpe being involved Saturday could also signify that he's a serious contender for a roster spot.

"Tajae's (Sharpe) has had a nice camp. He made a few catches out there," Smith said in his post-practice press conference. "I'm very pleased with the competition going on. We sit there, and Terry [Fontenot] have preached it, and then it's our job to implement it, and those guys, they're buying in. You've got to give them a fair shot."

Sharpe received more targets Saturday than he did all of last season. He officially played in just four games, receiving three targets and making no catches with the Minnesota Vikings. The Vikings waived him in late December, and Sharpe spent the rest of the season on the Kansas City Chiefs practice squad.

Smith is familiar with Sharpe from his days on the Tennessee Titans coaching staff. The Titans drafted Sharpe in the fifth round of the 2016 NFL Draft. He posted 92 catches for 1,167 yards and 8 touchdowns over four seasons in Tennessee, one of which he spent the entire year injured.