Reaction to the Falcons first depth chart

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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. 

Quarterback

QB1- Matt Ryan

QB2- Matt Schaub

 

No surprise here… Next. 

Running Back

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. 

Wide Receiver 

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. 

Tight End

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. 

Offensive Tackle 

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. 

Offensive Guard

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. 

Center

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. 

Defensive End

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. 

Defensive Tackle 

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. 

Linebacker

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.

Cornerback

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. 

Safety

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. 

 

 

 

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