Falcons football is here as the team travels to Detroit to take on the Lions in their preseason opener. Atlanta has a ton of starting positions up for grabs that will need to be sorted out between their Week 1 matchup against the Saints. Here are the Falcons top position battles to watch tonight:
Through training camp, the most liberal starting rotation has come at center between Drew Dalman and Matt Hennessy. This battle will likely go down to the final preseason game, but the player who takes “command” as a leader is the one who’ll be the starter. Hennessy started every game for the Falcons last season, but he and Dalman went through a two-week stretch where they rotated every two offensive series. Obviously, it didn’t work out, but the staff remains unsatisfied with Hennessy’s production. Dalman likely gets the nod if it’s neck and neck since the regime invested in him directly.
Jalen Mayfield began as the Day 1 starter, but it’s been Elijah Wilkinson every day since. Adding insult to injury for the 2021 third-round pick, Mayfield recently suffered an injury, which could solidify the position battle. The best man will win the job, but you’ve got to know the front office and coaching staff would prefer their third-round pick to beat out the veteran.
Kaleb McGary‘s clock is running out in Atlanta. The team decided against picking up his fifth-year option, revealing how the staff and front office feel about the former first-round pick. The Falcons brought in Germain Ifedi to compete for a starting spot this offseason. I’d be shocked if he unseats McGary as the fourth-year tackle has taken every rep with the first-team offense.
After moving to the slot for Dean Pees permanently, Oliver had his best stretch of games as a pro to begin 2021. Unfortunately, his season ended prematurely after suffering a torn ACL. The Falcons’ defense suffered as a result, given the revolving door at the nickel position. Oliver is the favorite to win the job, but reports out of Flowery Branch suggest Darren Hall is giving him a run for his money. Mike Ford has had plenty of burn with the first-team defense too.