Falcons rookie could push Cordarrelle Patterson for starter reps

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The Falcons didn’t have many players to boast about last season, but Cordarrelle Patterson completely captivated the fan base with his versatile style of attacking defenses and infectious personality. You don’t often hear about players in the NFL breaking out in their ninth season, but that’s precisely what Patterson did, setting career highs in receiving, rushing, and total touchdowns — 618 rushing yards (4.0 YPC), six rushing touchdowns, 548 receiving yards (10.5 YPR) and five receiving touchdowns. However, a rookie could push for some of his starting reps.

The Falcons selected Tyler Allgeier in the fifth round of the NFL draft earlier this offseason, and the former BYU Cougar is set to assume a prominent role in the backfield. For a myriad of reasons, Patterson will likely see fewer rushing attempts this season.

Patterson is vital to Arthur Smith’s offense and gives Atlanta a versatile chess piece. He will obviously be a big part of the Falcons in 2023, but his usage will depend on what Atlanta needs from him. He can have a pass-centric role, given the team’s lack of receiving options outside of Kyle Pitts and Drake London. Obviously, Patterson is still valuable as a runner, but the roster may dictate him to be more of a receiver in 2022, which is where Allgeier comes into the fold.

The Falcons drafted an immediate contributor in Allgeier to take a bulk of the carries out of the backfield, while Patterson assumes more of a mercenary-like role on offense; wherever Atlanta needs him at a particular instance is where the veteran will be deployed. Allgeier is a massive reason why the Falcons will be able to save Patterson’s legs.

At Brigham Young, Allgeier totaled 1,601 rushing yards on 276 attempts while reaching the end zone 23 times during the 2021 campaign, which works out to an impressive 5.8 yards per carry. He has unbelievable field vision, allowing him to find holes, which is imperative for a running back in Smith’s zone scheme offense.

The Falcons are trying to change the identity of the team. It begins with setting the tone when running the ball, and Allgeier will help in that department. He’s a physical, hard-nosed style runner. Many believe he has the potential to break out as a solid contributor as a rookie.

With Allgeier and Patterson assuming most of the touches out of the backfield, that leaves few opportunities for the other backs on the team. However, there is one player, in particular, fans should be excited to see — Avery Williams, who switched from defensive back to running back and is already impressing the staff.

I mentioned he could have a similar impact to a familiar face for Falcons fans — former Saints weapon Darren Sproles.

I could see a Darren Sproles-like role for Williams, giving Arthur Smith and the Falcons offense one more weapon out of the backfield. He’s already dangerous with the ball in his hands, so as long as he can learn the position, Williams should be able to get on the field in special packages.

Photographer: Jeff Speer/Icon Sportswire

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