The 2023 Falcons are the deepest team in recent memory. Even during the former regime’s time, those rosters were also top-heavy. Now, it’s got competent depth at a lot of positions.
Starting at quarterback, Taylor Heinicke is among the best backup signal callers in the league. The running back room is arguably the deepest in the NFL. The tight end room has four capable bodies, led by Kyle Pitts and Jonnu Smith.
The defensive front is the deepest of maybe my entire life. Ta’Quon Graham was the second-best defensive lineman last year and will assume a supplemental role in 2023. The cornerback room is also capable of handling a couple of injuries, whereas last year Cornell Armstrong was lining up across from Ja’Marr Chase at one point.
However, there’s one area that is dangerously thin — the offensive line.
I assume the starting five will look like this — Jake Matthews-Matthew Bergeron-Drew Dalman–Chris Lindstrom–Kaleb McGary. That means Matt Hennessy will be the first interior backup, able to step in at either guard position and center. However, the swing tackle position is a glaring void on this team
Ethan Greenidge was primed to win that job but recently suffered a severe injury and was carted off the field. Now, we are at a point where we are hoping Jalen Mayfield is serviceable enough to be the team’s swing tackle, but Arthur Smith noted that it’s up for grabs.
"Somebody has to take that swing tackle spot," #Falcons coach Arthur said. (Jalen Mayfield was working at left tackle the last couple of days) "It's an opportunity for Jalen to see if he can go over there and play as well," Smith added.
— D. Orlando Ledbetter (@DOrlandoAJC) August 14, 2023
The Falcons third-round pick from the 2021 draft hasn’t had a very successful career. Injuries thrust him into the starting lineup as a rookie at left guard, and Mayfield turned in one of the worst seasons we have ever seen. Last year, a back injury kept him sidelined for the entire season.
Now, he’s back to his collegiate position of tackle, but it hasn’t netted better results. Mayfield struggled mightily against the Dolphins at right tackle, but he’s still got an excellent shot at making the roster because of how thin the position group is.
I wouldn’t be surprised if the Falcons used some of their $12ish million in cap space to bring in a more proven player to assume the swing tackle position. When rosters are trimmed, there will also be candidates that become available. Either way, the Falcons need to address the position.
Photographer: David Rosenblum/Icon Sportswire