Preseason depth charts are only so predictive, but when they're full of fairly major surprises, you stand up and take note regardless.
The Falcons released theirs today, and while some moves are expected (like Ricardo Allen at starting free safety), others are stunners. Here's a brief collection of thoughts about the depth chart:
- The team has Mike Person at left guard and Chris Chester at right guard, with Jon Asamoah as the backup to Chester. This is a massive surprise because A) Asamoah is arguably the team's most talented lineman and B) we all had assumed Chester would slot in quite naturally at the hole at right guard. Instead, the versatile Person looks to be running at left guard and battling James Stone for that honor, and Chester appears likely to join the starters on Friday night against the Titans.
Whether this is a purely motivational tactic for a banged-up Asamoah or the team sincerely believes having Chris Chester ahead of him at right guard is what's best for the team remains to be seen, but either way, this is the change that threw me for a loop. It's worth stressing that this is mighty early to be placing a ton of stock in this, and the team is moving Mike Person and James Stone between center and left guard just today, so this clearly isn't set in...well, stone. It's still something worth watching closely.
- Roddy White is listed as a starter. You can wrest that out of his cold, dead hands.
- Jake Rodgers is currently running ahead of Demarcus Love at right tackle, though both are predictably behind Ryan Schraeder. This might be nothing, again, but if Rodgers can show enough he might be able to beat out his frankly weak competition for a backup tackle gig.
- Ra'Shede Hageman is running ahead of Jonathan Babineaux. This is what probably should happen, given Babs' age and the world-destroying potential of our boy Shede, but it's still a mild surprise to see it line up this way.
- Tyson Jackson is still listed as one of the team's starting defensive ends. With Adrian Clayborn impressing, I really think you'll at least see a timeshare opposite Vic Beasley, but the weight loss and position shift does appear to be bringing out a better T-Jax.
- Joplo Bartu and Nate Stupar are listed ahead of Allen Bradford and Marquis Spruill. File that one away for later, especially with Bartu, who I wasn't sure would catch the attention of the new coaching.
- Charles Godfrey is currently listed as the third-string strong safety, behind both William Moore and Kemal Ishmael. Either we misread the competition before Ricardo Allen came charging on to the scene, or Godfrey has really not impressed the staff thus far.