Falcons training camp injury likely solidifies position battle

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The Falcons haven’t even made it out of training camp without a new starter emerging along the offensive line. The team has been rotating early and often at the position, and Elijah Wilkinson is likely the favorite at left guard. Adding insult to injury for the 2021 third-round pick, Mayfield recently suffered an injury, which could solidify the position battle.

After surrendering 40 sacks last year, the Falcons needed a change. There’s competition along a majority of the offensive line, three of whom were some of the worst pass protectors in the league — Mayfield being the very worst in pass sets. Think about that for a second: the worst offensive lineman in the entire NFL in pass protection. That’s a problem. Mayfield began as the Day 1 starter, but it’s been Wilkinson every day since. And it’s probably because of plays like this:

For the sixth consecutive practice, Wilkinson ran with the starters. And now, dealing with an injury, Mayfield is probably securing his spot as a reserve player for at least the 2022 season. The Falcons needed change along the front, and Wilkinson should provide a breath of fresh air; however, it is concerning that a third-round pick seems to be fizzling out before his second season as a pro. The front office took a leap of faith in selecting a right tackle and attempting to play him at left guard, which has blown up in their faces. It’s far too soon to call it quits on Mayfield, but it will be an uphill battle just for him to secure a starting spot.

Photographer: Cliff Welch/Icon Sportswire

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