What role will each Falcons rookie assume in 2023?

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Terry Fontenot and Arthur Smith just completed their third draft with the Falcons. The hope is that all six of their selections will have an immediate impact, but the reality is probably far from that.

Bijan Robinson

I don’t have to say much about this one. Bijan Robinson might have been the best prospect in the draft, and the Falcons didn’t take him eighth overall for him to ride the pine. He will be the team’s starting running back, assuming the bulk of the carries, but he won’t be a traditional running back. Arthur Smith will find a number of ways to get the balls in his hands as much as possible. Robinson will be a thrill to watch on Sundays and could blossom into a legitimate MVP candidate.

Matthew Bergeron

Because of the Jaylen Mayfield fiasco, a lot of Falcons fans are understandably wary of how a rookie that played tackle in college will transition to guard in the NFL. I’m a little more hopeful, however. Bergeron is a much better prospect than Mayfield ever was coming out of college, and I have to think the Falcons learned from their mistake. We’ll see how it pans out, but there’s no doubt that Bergeron was drafted 38th overall to be the Falcons starting left guard from day one. If he isn’t, sound the alarms. The Falcons may have made another terrible decision on Day 2 of the draft.

Zach Harrison

Harrison was a third-round pick, but his role will be minuscule compared to Robinson and Bergeron. He has all the physical traits teams desire in their pass rushers, but he didn’t live up to expectations at Ohio State. The Falcons are betting on his upside and their ability to develop him. With a revamped defensive line, they don’t need to rely on Harrison to produce as a rookie. If he does, that’s amazing, but I’m expecting his first year to be filled with a lot of learning and not much playing.

Clark Phillips III

Phillips may have been a fourth-round pick, but he will compete for the starting nickel job this offseason, and I believe he will win it. He was one of the best defensive players in the entire country at Utah, and if he were a few inches taller, he probably would have been a lock to go in the first round. His frame undoubtedly caused him to fall in the draft, which could end up being a blessing for the Falcons. I loved this pick; he can have an immediate impact on the defense.

DeMarcco Hellams

A seventh round pick, The Falcons won’t be expecting much from Hellams. He will be battling to make the roster, but even if it does, it will likely be for special teams purposes. If Hellams ends up playing many snaps on defense, something likely will have gone terribly wrong.

Jovaughn Gwyn

Like Hellams, Gwyn is a seventh-round pick that will be competing for a roster spot. Perhaps he can develop into something with time, but I highly doubt we see him on the field much in 2023 unless there are a barrage of injuries.

Photo: Gregory Fisher/Icon Sportswire

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