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Projecting roles for the Falcons' rookie class

Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports

The Falcons' rookie class is going to be counted on in a big way, if only because the alternatives at many of the positions the team drafted this year are not stellar. It does leave you wondering exactly who will


Keanu Neal: Starter at strong safety

No question in my mind he'll slide right into the starting lineup and start every game, so long as he's healthy.

Deion Jones: Starter at middle linebacker

So long as he can bulk up a little bit and fare well this summer, I don't anticipate Jones having much trouble beating out Paul Worrilow for the starting job here, especially because the team has repeatedly talked about how much they prize Worrilow's versatility and can easily slide him into a backup role where he'll see snaps.

Austin Hooper: Backup tight end

If Hooper can block, he'll likely be in games a lot, because he's already potentially one of the better red zone weapons on the team. He'll be the backup to Jacob Tamme and will see fewer snaps, however.

De'Vondre Campbell: Backup linebacker (primarily weakside)

Campbell is one of the more interesting players from this class, because I think he has an outside shot to grab a starting spot this fall. More than likely, though, the team will lean on him as a core special teamer and backup to the likes of Philip Wheeler or Sean Weatherspoon.

Wes Schweitzer: Backup guard

There's a lot of bodies at guard, but Schweitzer should be able to hang on to a roster spot as a reserve pretty easily. He'll hope for more in 2017 and beyond, but if he tops out as a decent backup, that'll be just fine for a sixth rounder.

Devin Fuller: Backup receiver/returner

Fuller will be buried on the receiver depth chart, but he'll return kicks and punts for Atlanta. Or so I assume.


That's two full-time starters and four reserves, with Fuller seizing an important role. I expect Hooper to get on the field a lot in two tight end sets and in specific red zone packages, and I think Campbell can take on a much larger role, depending on his readiness, so it's safe to say I have pretty high expectations for this class. I just don't know how good they'll be in those roles just yet.

Share your projections with us.