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Falcons depth chart offers a few surprises

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It can still change, but expect this to be close to the real thing on Thursday.

NFL: Kansas City Chiefs at Atlanta Falcons Jason Getz-USA TODAY Sports

With a short week ahead of them, the Atlanta Falcons needed to get things in order quicker than most other teams. Along those lines, the team site has already released a depth chart for the Thursday night game which offers a few surprises, but is mostly what we’ve been expecting.

We’ve already discussed the fact that Justin Hardy is the listed punt and kickoff returner here.

Offense

While the team site lists Wes Schweitzer as the starter at right guard, Dan Quinn has already confirmed that Brandon Fusco will be the actual starter. While Ben Garland is listed as the backup at LG, he’s likely the immediate backup for Alex Mack as well. Justin Hardy is still listed as the immediate backup for Julio Jones, while Calvin Ridley is listed behind Mohamed Sanu. You can expect to see Ridley on the field far more than Hardy, especially with the aforementioned return duties that Hardy will be taking on.

There aren’t many other surprises on the offensive side of the ball.

Defense

The starting defensive ends shouldn’t be a surprise, with Vic Beasley and Takk McKinley listed in those roles. There was little doubt that Grady Jarrett would start in the middle, and it looks like veteran Terrell McClain will join him there. Rookie Deadrin Senat is listed behind McClain while Jack Crawford is listed behind Jarrett. You can expect to see all four guys get playing time, with Crawford coming in on passing downs and Senat relieving either McClain or Jarrett as well.

Duke Riley will be the starter alongside Deion Jones and De’vondre Campbell. Interestingly, Foye Oluokun is listed as Campbell’s backup, while Kemal Ishmael is backing up Riley. Richard Jarvis is listed as the third backup to Campbell. Presumably, Riley would slide over to the middle if Jones needed to come out for any reason.

In the secondary, Jordan Richards isn’t even listed yet, but is the presumed backup to Keanu Neal. Damontae Kazee is the backup at free safety. Rookie CB Isaiah Oliver is listed behind Robert Alford while Brian Poole is backing up Desmond Trufant. Don’t expect to see too much of Oliver as it’s clear he’s still developing and learning Dan Quinn’s system.

What are your thoughts on the initial depth chart for the 2018 Falcons?