We said way back in April that this year’s draft class was unlikely to be chock full of the immediate impact rookies we saw a year ago, and for pretty simple reasons. The Falcons already had an established lineup heading into 2017, and besides their first round pick, they didn’t figure to be bringing anyone in who would be a mortal lock for playing time and/or excellence.
Thus far, the 2017 season has borne that out. The Falcons have given the second-fewest snaps in the NFL to rookies this year, with Takkarist McKinley leading the way and Duke RIley getting quite a few snaps until his injury. Besides those guys and one start for Damontae Kazee, the rookie class has either been inactive, on the practice squad, or stuck on special teams.
Again, none of that is unexpected or particularly troubling. Takk is playing well right now, but the rest of this class is loaded with potential but has no easy road to playing time. That means 2018 and beyond are more logical arrival times for guys like Kazee, Eric Saubert, and Sean Harlow, all of whom could be competing for real playing time then.
When you notice that teams like the Patriots and Chiefs (and weirdly the Cardinals) are at the bottom of this list with the Falcons, you realize you shouldn’t necessarily feel bad about this. We’ll hope that the entire class works out over the long haul.