The Falcons have released their 53 man depth chart ahead of the September 7th New Orleans Saints game, and it contains only a couple of surprises. One of them is fairly significant, however.
That surprise would be Josh Wilson listed as the starting nickel back. Observers around the team reported again and again that Robert McClain seemed to have sewn up the job, and you can bet McClain will still see significant snaps going forward. Still, it would appear that for at least one game, Wilson will be the first guy out on the field in nickel sets. We'll hope for a big rebound season from the man Steven Jackson destroyed just a year ago.
Joplo Bartu over Prince Shembo is the other move that may raise a few eyebrows. Last year's other UDFA sensation, Bartu had a fairly quiet camp and preseason, with many (including me) predicting that Prince Shembo would overtake him. Shembo may still do so at some point this offseason and he's in line for real snaps, but Bartu retains the starting gig next to Paul Worrilow at the moment. Good for him.
While Lamar Holmes at right tackle isn't a true surprise, it's one of those moves that I wanted to see official before I truly believed it. Building off a reasonably strong offseason, Holmes gets the nod and has the opportunity to prove he belongs as the starter for many years to come. I sincerely hope he dominates.
Devonta Freeman remains the fourth back on the depth chart, a move that I suspect has everything to do with his struggles in pass protection thus far. He'll climb the depth chart steadily this year, assuming he picks up that skill in short order.
Also, it's worth noting that Javier Arenas is currently listed as the direct backup to Alford and Trufant, and the third guy on the nickel chart. He'll be plenty busy, more than likely.
It's worth noting that Jay Adams believes Sean Renfree and T.J. Yates are "knotted up" for the backup gig, though if one had to play, that would likely end pretty quickly.
First #Falcons unofficial depth chart released with the QBs knotted up behind Ryan: http://t.co/pE1Vj4eyk0 #NOvsATL— Jay Adams (@FalconsJAdams) September 2, 2014
The full depth chart follows. Keep in mind that it won't necessarily be completely accurate, as the Saints' depth chart currently doesn't have a center listed. Shenanigans abound this time of year.
WR Roddy White Harry Douglas Eric Weems
LT Jake Matthews Ryan Schraeder
LG Justin Blalock James Stone
C Joe Hawley Peter Konz
RG Jon Asamoah Gabe Carimi
RT Lamar Holmes Gabe Carimi
TE Levine Toilolo Bear Pascoe
WR Julio Jones Devin Hester Courtney Roby
QB Matt Ryan T.J. Yates Sean Renfree
RB Steven Jackson Jacquizz Rodgers Antone Smith Devonta Freeman
FB Patrick DiMarco
DE Kroy Biermann Osi Umenyiora Stansly Maponga
DT Tyson Jackson Ra'Shede Hageman Cliff Matthews
DT Paul Soliai Corey Peters
DE Jonathan Babineaux Jonathan Massaquoi Malliciah Goodman Tyler Starr
LB Paul Worrilow Nate Stupar
LB Joplo Bartu Prince Shembo
CB Robert Alford Javier Arenas
CB Josh Wilson Robert McClain Javier Arenas
S William Moore Kemal Ishmael
S Dwight Lowery Dezmen Southward
CB Desmond Trufant Javier Arenas
K Matt Bryant
P Matt Bosher
LS Josh Harris
Your thoughts on this depth chart?