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Examining an intriguing Falcons starters projection from ESPN

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Vaughn McClure delivers an interesting and radically different set of starters than we might expect.

Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports

Depth charts and roster projections in late July are kind of like diamonds to a man bobbing in the open ocean: Cool to look at, but not much use.

Still, my interest was piqued by Vaughn McClure's latest stab at projecting starters, which features some radical departures from what we've discussed all offseason. Given how plugged-in McClure is, chances are at least a few of these will turn out to be correct, and the entire exercise is worth considering in light of how little we know about Dan Quinn's plans for this football team.

It should be noted that some of these players are only starting in certain packages, per McClure's projections, but those are still some striking choices. Tyson Jackson has already been written off by many in the fanbase, and while we're inclined to give Ra'Shede Hageman and even Lamar Holmes credit for slimming down, Jackson has gotten none. While Mooney's easy to root for, DiMarco is the much more established player. And so on.

It says a lot about the spirit of competition that Quinn and company have rolled out—as well as the uncertainty that comes with a roster in a state of flux—that every choice here had me at least nodding briskly, because you can see that possibility unfolding. I think the days of staid rosters are largely over, and we have absolutely no way to know whether recent draft choices and/or beloved veterans have the leg up they might have a year ago. Combine that with McClure's habit of nailing a lot of the team's moves and I think you have to weigh this list carefully.

Give McClure's full list a read and let us know which choices surprised you. I'll be considering five roster bubble players in the days ahead, based partially off this list.