Feature: Taylor Gabriel, a Diamond in the Rough

A total of 34 players have come out of Abilene Christian University, a private university in Abilene, Texas with a current enrollment of approximately 5,000. Twenty were drafted into either the AFL or NFL, and 14 went undrafted. Falcons wide receiver and Texas native Taylor Gabriel was along the lines of those who went undrafted.

Gabriel, who wasn’t invited to the NFL Draft Combine, finished his collegiate career among the leaders in school history with 215 receptions, 3,027 receiving yards and 27 touchdowns from 2010-13. At his school’s Pro Day, the 5-foot-8, 165-pound wideout showed his flashy speed as he posted a 4.27 seconds time in his 40-yard dash. Gabriel was signed by the Cleveland Browns as a free agent in 2014. After a successful stint on the team’s practice squad he made his debut on Sept. 7, 2014 against division-rival Pittsburgh Steelers, where he caught one pass for five yards. Gabriel spent more time on the practice squad before he was waived by the Browns nearly two years since to exact date of his debut.

On Sept. 4, 2016, the Falcons claimed Gabriel off waivers and has been used effectively in the league’s top-scoring offense. In Week 12 against the league’s top defense, the Cardinals forgot to do their scouting as Gabriel burned their secondary for 75 yards and two touchdowns on just four receptions. Two weeks later in Los Angeles against the Rams, he caught four passes for 82 yards to go along with one touchdown. A playmaker in an offense that has allowed him to flourish, the once overlooked receiver has played a huge part in the Falcons Super Bowl run, and for that, Atlanta placed a second-round tender on Gabriel on March 8 which will keep him around for the time being,

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About Mohamed Abdullah-Bafakih

21-year-old journalist. California bred. Sports enthusiast. Just a college student balancing life's ups and downs but still constantly focused on that upward motion.
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