The Falcons just played in their final preseason game against the Steelers last night, and it wasn’t pretty in many instances, particularly along the offensive line.
Granted, Pittsburgh played their starters while Atlanta’s were on the sidelines in street clothes. T.J. Watt lined up across from Tyler Vrabel, and it went exactly how you’d expect — Taylor Heinicke was sacked in a near instant.
We are sticking along the front for this piece, which is about 2021 third-round pick Jalen Mayfield, who got some burn in the second half but looked very bad. Mayfield’s time with the Falcons may be coming to an end.
There are not many things working in his favor to make the final 53-man roster, but Atlanta’s paper thin offensive line depth is certainly one. However, if I had to guess, he’ll be on the practice squad or playing in another city by next week.
Eric Edholm went as far as to include him in his roster bubble piece, dubbing the Michigan product a trade candidate, which is unbelievable and hilarious at the same time. Edholm included guys like Trey Lance in this section, so it’s a bit strange seeing someone like Jalen Mayfield in the same conversation. Here’s what he had to say about him:
It has been tough sledding so far in the NFL for Mayfield, who was a third-round pick in 2021. He actually started 16 games at guard as a rookie, and though he struggled mightily at times, the Falcons appeared to have plans for him. But Mayfield lost last season, spending all of 2022 on injured reserve with a back issue.
Even after moving Mayfield back to his college position of tackle, he’s struggled this summer and recently was seen working with the third-team offense. I thought about listing Mayfield as a possible cut candidate, but with as many OL-needy teams as there are out there, someone might be one willing to send something to Atlanta in return for a 23-year-old blocker with some upside, flexibility and starting experience.
The Falcons don’t have many reserve options behind the starting five offensive linemen. Ethan Greenidge and Matt Hennessy were expected to be the club’s primary backups, but unexpected injuries curbed that plan.
Now, we are looking at Josh Miles, Ryan Neuzil, and Kyle Hinton as potential reserves — none of whom are inspiring options. The Falcons will be watching other clubs’ roster cuts very carefully because their depth along the offensive line is nonexistent.
Photographer: David Rosenblum/Icon Sportswire