Former Arkansas QB Shines at TE for Falcons

Photo courtesy of Atlanta Falcons

A former SEC quarterback at Florida and Arkansas, Feleipe Franks seems to be finding his footing in the NFL — but not behind center.

Franks was the starting quarterback for the Gators throughout the 2017 and 2018 seasons. In 2019, he suffered a broken ankle and missed a majority of the season. The injury led to Franks entering the transfer portal and landing at Arkansas for the 2020 season.

Arkansas was in a major rebuilding phase under then first-year head coach Sam Pittman. With many questions at the quarterback position, Franks was a breath of fresh air.

He went on to become a team captain and led Arkansas to its first SEC win in 20 games. Franks set the single-season school record for completion percentage at 68.5%. He capped a solid season in Fayetteville with 17 touchdown passes and only four interceptions.

Transitioning to the NFL

Franks was picked up by the Atlanta Falcons as an undrafted free agent in 2021. He played in nine games last season and made an appearance at quarterback in Week 11. His only pass attempt ended in an interception in a 25-0 loss to the New England Patriots.

His brother, Jordan Franks, is a tight end for the Kansas City Chiefs. At 6-foot-6 and 235 pounds, that’s where Franks is getting a shot this offseason. The transition seems to be going well.

Video of Franks trucking cornerback Teez Tabor, another Florida standout, on Saturday got more than its fare share of buzz:

“Right now he’s working more at tight end than at quarterback,” Atlanta offensive coordinator Dave Ragone told reporters.

Franks wouldn’t be the first athletic Arkansas quarterback to play a different position in the NFL. Matt Jones was famously — or infamously — selected in the first round of the 2005 NFL Draft by the Jacksonville Jaguars. Although he never blossomed into a star, Jones averaged more than 500 yards receiving over his four seasons in Jacksonville.

Franks’ size, footwork, and knowledge of the offense could very well make him a good tight end in the NFL. If he continues to excel at this position, Franks will join one of his former Florida pass catchers in the tight ends room in 2021 first-round pick Kyle Pitts.