Ahead of Atlanta’s preseason opener against the Lions, the team released their first depth chart of the 2022 season.
— Atlanta Falcons (@AtlantaFalcons) August 9, 2022
Here’s my reaction to the three phases of the Falcons depth chart, courtesy of the team’s website
|WR||KhaDarel Hodge||Geronimo Allison||Damiere Byrd||Auden Tate||Drake London||Tyshaun James|
|TE||Kyle Pitts||Anthony Firkser||Feleipe Franks|
|LT||Jake Matthews||Rick Leonard||Leroy Watson|
|LG||Elijah Wilkinson||Jalen Mayfield||Justin Shaffer|
|C||Matt Hennessy -OR- Drew Dalman||Ryan Neuzil|
|RG||Chris Lindstrom||Colby Gossett||Jonotthan Harrison|
|RT||Kaleb McGary||Germain Ifedi||Tyler Vrabel|
|TE||Parker Hesse||MyCole Pruitt||John FitzPatrick||Tucker Fisk|
|WR||Olamide Zaccheaus||Bryan Edwards||Frank Darby||Cameron Batson||Stanley Berryhill||Jared Bernhardt|
|RB||Cordarrelle Patterson||Damien Williams||Keith Smith||Qadree Ollison||Caleb Huntley||Avery Williams||John Raine||Tyler Allgeier|
|QB||Marcus Mariota||Desmond Ridder||Feleipe Franks|
Mariota is the starter, which has been confirmed and is now reiterated in the Falcons’ first depth chart. Desmond Ridder is the first backup, while Feleipe Franks is both QB3 and TE5. The receiving core is quite interesting. Olamide Zaccheaus gets the nod over Bryan Edwards, who the team traded for earlier this offseason and has had a pretty good camp. Drake London as the fifth-string is purely Arthur Smith’s tendency of not having rookies high on the depth chart, which includes why Tyler Allgeier is the last reserve among the running backs.
At center, the competition is clearly ongoing between Matt Hennessy and Drew Dalman, which will likely be undecided until Week 1. Elijah Wilkinson gets the nod over Jalen Mayfield, who has struggled in camp thus far and has been dealing with a back injury. Most believe Wilkinson will be the team’s starter at left guard when the Falcons play the Saints in the season opener. Kaleb McGary has apparently done enough to hold off Germain Ifedi.
|DL||Grady Jarrett||Jalen Dalton||Abdullah Anderson||Timothy Horne|
|DL||Anthony Rush||Nick Thurman||Derrick Tangelo|
|DL||Ta’Quon Graham||Marlon Davidson||Darrion Daniels|
|OLB||Adetokunbo Ogundeji||Arnold Ebiketie||Kuony Deng|
|LB||Mykal Walker||Nick Kwiatkoski||Rashad Smith||Troy Andersen|
|LB||Rashaan Evans||Dorian Etheridge||Nathan Landman|
|OLB||Lorenzo Carter||Quinton Bell||Jordan Brailford||DeAngelo Malone|
|CB||A.J. Terrell||Cornell Armstrong||Mike Ford||Corey Ballentine||Matt Hankins|
|S||Richie Grant||Erik Harris||Henry Black|
|S||Jaylinn Hawkins||Dean Marlowe||Teez Tabor||Tre Webb|
|CB||Casey Hayward Jr.||Darren Hall||Isaiah Oliver||Dee Alford||Lafayette Pitts|
The first thing that pops out is Jaylinn Hawkins and Richie Grant as the starting safety duo, which is encouraging. They were expected to take the reins, but it’s great that those expectations are coming to reality. Hayward and Terrell were always going to be the starters. Ade Ogundeji starting opposite Lorenzo Carter was also not shocking. He’s more experienced and stouter against the run than rookies Arnold Ebiketie and DeAngelo Malone.
Mykal Walker and Rashaan Evans get the start at inside linebacker while Deion Jones is still recovering from shoulder surgery. It’ll be intriguing to see what happens to the group when Debo returns; Walker has never been a full-time starter as a pro. The defensive line was as expected, but it is still great to see Graham take the opportunity in stride.
The matchup to watch here is between Pinion and Vernon, with the former having the leg up in the punter competition, given his experience and proven track record.
Thanks for reading my reaction to the Falcons depth chart release; be sure to check out the other Falcons content!
Photo: Rich von Biberstein/Icon Sportswire