Falcons RB position battle will be something to watch throughout preseason

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The Falcons released their first official depth chart on Tuesday, and Chase has already given his initial reaction, but there is plenty to unpack during this period with 90 players still on the roster. Chase noted the right tackle position battle, but I wanted to go into more depth regarding the team’s running backs after the newly acquired D’Onta Foreman was listed as Atlanta’s fourth-stringer.

Terry Fontenot brought in Foreman on a one-year deal after he was previously in Tennessee with Arthur Smith. The former third-round pick is a bruising back with a similar body type and running style as Mike Davis, Qadree Ollison, and Caleb Huntley, who were already on the roster. The acquisition is a bit confusing when most people believed the depth chart looked like Mike Davis (RB1), Cordarrelle Patterson (RB2), Qadree Ollison (RB3), and Javian Hawkins (RB4).

The official depth chart lists Davis as the starter, Patterson as the backup followed by fullback Keith Smith, then Ollison as the third running back. Where it gets interesting is the fourth running back spot, occupied by Foreman. Huntley and Hawkins are the fifth and sixth running backs on the roster.

Arthur Smith and Terry Fontenot have clearly placed emphasis on rookies earning their keep, so this shouldn’t come as a shock that Foreman is ahead of the two undrafted rookies. Disregarding Keith Smith, I believe the Falcons will keep four backs.

Davis and Patterson are locks to make the roster at this point, so that leaves two roster spots up for grabs. As I said before, Davis is a similar type of back as Huntley, Ollison, and Foreman, so I expect the front office to keep one of them. Hawkins is closer to Patterson, so I see his road to making the final 53-man roster a bit easier than the others.

With all that being said, I could totally envision Smith disregarding running styles and opt to bring the four best guys. It could be Ollison and Foreman as the two backs behind Davis and Patterson, but we won’t know until they get live reps. Arthur Smith noted this specific battle as something he’s excited for and that he will give each of these guys their carries. Something that should be noted that David Walker brought up on Talkin’ Birdy — the fourth running back will likely have to make an impact on special teams to differentiate himself from the group. It’ll be something to watch for all preseason long.

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