Falcons Breakout Candidates: Troy Andersen

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Though the Falcons made more than a handful of notable additions this offseason, drafting and developing is the easiest way to sustainable success. Atlanta’s ceiling in 2023 is heavily reliant on the next crop of players taking that step. Some are just hoping to break out as consistent contributors, while others have star potential. This continues my series of exploring each Falcons breakout candidate, moving on to Troy Andersen.

Check out any other parts of the series if you’ve missed them!

Falcons breakout candidates: Troy Andersen

Heralded for his athleticism coming out of Montana State, the Falcons selected Andersen in the second round of the 2022 NFL Draft. However, that elite athleticism rarely showed up during his rookie campaign.

At 6-4 and 235 pounds, while running a 4.42 40-yard dash, the sky is the limit for Andersen, especially considering what many consider elite intangibles — leadership, work ethic, and football IQ. Still, the mental side of the game is the biggest step for many in the National Football League.

After some shortcomings from Mykal Walker, Troy Andersen was thrust into a starting role. Across five games, he logged 69 total tackles, three of which went for loss and three quarterback hits. His role in 2023 will be even bigger than last year.

Ryan Nielsen expects his linebackers to provide an array of skills requiring intelligence, range, and being able to play downhill while also dropping in coverage, where Andersen struggled mightily in 2022. Those struggles haven’t wavered his defensive coordinator’s confidence, though.

“He has the skill set, he’s big and I know talking with Troy, I’m excited about this particular player,” Nielsen said. “There is definitely a place – he does a lot of things. His skill set allows him to do a lot of things that fit certain things that we want that position to do.”

The Falcons need some of these higher-profile draft picks to start contributing in a major way. Andersen will have a big say in how good this improved defense is this season. If he can be even serviceable against the pass, I like his chances of becoming that breakout candidate we all hope he can be.

Photographer: David J. Griffin/Icon Sportswire

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