Over the weekend, the Falcons released their 53-man roster, and yesterday, their first official depth chart came out. There weren’t too many surprises, but I’ll provide you with my initial thoughts on how Atlanta will line up Week 1 against the Seahawks.
QB1- Matt Ryan
QB2- Matt Schaub
No surprise here… Next.
RB1- Todd Gurley
RB2- Brian Hill
RB3- Ito Smith
RB4- Qadree Ollison
FB1- Keith Smith
There was a competition for the primary backup running back job behind Todd Gurley, and it looks like Brian Hill has won that handily — based on the recent comments from Dan Quinn and the depth chart. Look for him to see the bulk of the work behind Todd Gurley, but I do expect to see Ito Smith a decent bit as well.
WR1- Julio Jones
WR2- Calvin Ridley
WR3- Russell Gage
WR4- Olamide Zaccheaus
WR5- Christian Blake
WR6- Brandon Powell
I never thought Laquon Treadwell would make the roster, but some fans may be disappointed to see the former first-round pick left off. That means Russell Gage will be the primary slot receiver this season. Olamide Zaccheaus and Christian Blake could also see some limited looks. Brandon Powell makes the roster over Chris Rowland as the team’s primary punt returner.
TE1- Hayden Hurst
TE2- Jaeden Graham
TE3- Luke Stocker
There are no surprises at all with this group. Hayden Hurst will be the primary tight end, Jaeden Graham should also see some receiving looks, and Luke Stocker will be used mostly as a blocker.
LT1- Jake Matthews
LT2- Matt Gono
RT1- Kaleb McGary
RT2- Timon Parris
Matthews and McGary will be the starters all season unless something drastic happens. Gono is a versatile piece that could see action at either tackle spot or guard. The Falcons also added Timon Parris from the Redskins as a depth option after he was cut. Hopefully, we don’t have to see him or Gono, but if we do, the Falcons should feel reasonably confident about their backups.
LG1- James Carpenter
LG2- Matt Hennessy
RG1- Chris Lindstrom
James Carpenter and Matt Hennessy battled throughout training camp for the starting job at left guard. It looked like Hennessy had the edge, but an injury late in training camp could have stopped the Falcons from forcing him into action from the jump. However, it’s telling that they listed him as the backup at left guard. If Carpenter slips up, or even if he doesn’t, we could see Hennessy starting sooner rather than later.
C1- Alex Mack
C2- Justin McCray
The Falcons are hoping for one more stellar season out of the veteran Alex Mack. If he were to go down, it would be interesting to see if they stuck with McCray at center or attempted to give the rookie, Matt Hennessy, a chance.
DE1- Dante Fowler Jr., Takk McKinley
DE2- Allen Bailey, Jacob Tuioti-Mariner
DE3- Charles Harris
Nothing too shocking with this bunch. Jacob Tuioti-Mariner was a pleasant addition to the roster, but it is a bit discouraging to see Charles Harris this far down the depth chart. At least he made the 53-man, but that may not be the case once Steven Means returns.
DT1- Grady Jarrett, Tyeler Davison
DT2- Marlon Davidson, John Cominsky
DT3- Deadrin Senat
Overall, it is refreshing to see the Falcons load up on defensive lineman going into Week 1, and fans should be thrilled to see Marlon Davidson and John Cominsky begin the year this high up the depth chart. Expect to see those two in on passing downs while Tyeler Davison is in on early downs.
LB1- Deion Jones, Foye Oluokun
LB2- Mykal Walker, LaRoy Reynolds
LB3- Deone Buccanon
Deion Jones and Foye Oluokun will be on the field the most, as the Falcons will primarily have just two linebackers on the field at the same time. The pleasant surprise here is Mykal Walker. It looks like there is a good chance he could be used as the team’s third linebacker. LaRoy Reynolds will also receive some opportunities in bigger packages.
CB1- A.J. Terrell, Isaiah Oliver
CB2- Darqueze Dennard, Kendall Sheffield
CB3- Blidi Wreh-Wilson
As expected, A.J. Terrell and Isaiah Oliver will be starting on the outside. Darqueze Dennard is listed as a backup behind Terrell, but I expect him to be the team’s primary nickel corner. Sheffield will mostly receive looks in dime package situations, with Wreh-Wilson serving as quality depth.
S1- Ricardo Allen, Damontae Kazee, Keanu Neal
S2- Sharrod Neasman, Jaylin Hawkins
Yes, you read that right. On the Falcons opening depth chart, three safeties were listed as starters. I’m fairly certain Ricardo Allen and Keanu Neal will be used the most, but it looks like Dan Quinn and Raheem Morris have created several looks that will feature all three players. That’s exciting because Allen, Kazee, and Neal are all deserving of significant playing time, and it puts the Falcons best playmakers on the field at the same time.