Taylor Gabriel has earned his stripes in Atlanta and deserves to stick around

The speedy wide receiver has been a huge addition for the Atlanta Falcons since they claimed him off of waivers.

Taylor Gabriel has earned his stripes in Atlanta and deserves to stick around
Taylor Gabriel dives to score his 2nd touchdown against the Arizona Cardinals | Source: David Goldman - AP Photo

Back on September 3rd, the Cleveland Browns released wide receiver Taylor Gabriel after just one season with the team. The next day, the Atlanta Falcons swooped in to claim Gabriel off waivers and haven't looked back since.

Gabriel and Shanahan Reunite

The Falcons bringing in Gabriel was likely down to offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan, who worked with the 25-year old in Cleveland back in 2014.

The speedster was expected to play as the fourth or fifth receiver but since Week 8, has emerged as high as the third receiving option in the NFL's best offense. Gabriel's 21 catches on the season don't seem like they would produce much but the former-Browns receiver has 378 receiving yards and five total touchdowns.

Gabriel has quickly improved throughout the season and has become a fan favorite in Atlanta, especially after his two touchdown performance in the 38-19 win over the Arizona Cardinals.

The game against Arizona put Gabriel in the national spotlight thanks to his electrifying moves but with two receiving touchdowns of 45+ yards and a rushing touchdown this season, Gabriel is a threat in this Atlanta offense.

Future with the Falcons

Gabriel's performances since Week 8 have cemented his role in the Falcons high-flying offense, despite having no more than five catches in a game this year. 

The 25-year old's speed and ability to make defenders miss has been key for Atlanta, adding a new dimension to the offense and opening up the rest of the field. Alongside one of the league's most dominant receivers, Julio Jones, and Mohamed Sanu, Gabriel has a big future in Atlanta's receiving core and should find himself with a contract extension at the end of this season.

After initially being undrafted in 2014 before being discarded by the Browns a season later, Gabriel has proven to have a big future in the NFL and deserves his role with the Atlanta Falcons. While he may not be a big name in the league, he's certainly capable of a big play every time he has the ball in his hands.