Now that free agency and the 2022 NFL Draft draft are (mostly) behind us, it’s time to take a closer look at the Atlanta Falcons’ roster heading in to the summer. Outside of a few additions and subtractions here and there in the course of training camp and the preseason, this is the roster Atlanta will be working with during the 2022 season.
We’ll kick things off with a look at the projected starters and players competing for those spots. Next up is the offensive line. Arguably the weakest unit on the roster in 2021, the Falcons have left the starting group intact and made very few impact additions. Two signings came at tackle in Germain Ifedi and Elijah Wilkinson, along with a sixth-round rookie guard in Justin Shaffer.
Next up is veteran tackle addition Germain Ifedi.
OT Germain Ifedi
Contract: $1.05M cap hit in 2022, free agent in 2023
Career Production: 85 games played, 83 games started | 5,483 snaps played, 60 penalties, 25 sacks allowed
2021 Production: 9 games played, 7 games started | 412 snaps played, 4 penalties, 2 sacks allowed | 61.8 overall PFF grade
Previous Teams: Drafted in the 1st Round (31st overall) by the Seattle Seahawks (2016-2019), Chicago Bears (2020-2021), Atlanta Falcons (2022)
While the Falcons haven’t brought in any significant outside competition on the interior offensive line, offensive tackle is another story. Atlanta signed two veterans with starting experience in Elijah Wilkinson and Germain Ifedi. The first one we’ll discuss is Ifedi, who entered the NFL with fanfare as a first-round pick of the Seattle Seahawks back in 2016. He immediately became a starter on the right side, playing both guard and tackle over the length of his rookie contract.
Seattle didn’t pick up his fifth-year option, and Ifedi wound up signing with the Chicago Bears for the 2020 season. He spent two years in Chicago, once again playing both guard and tackle. Ifedi has never quite lived up to his first-round billing, but he has managed to start over 80 games in six seasons. His play has steadily improved from below-average to right around that of a solid starter, peaking with a 65.0 overall PFF grade in 2020.
Ifedi possesses a massive frame with incredible length (36” arms!) and tested out as an elite athlete for his size. As you might expect, he’s been an impactful run blocker but an inconsistent pass protector. His biggest issue has often been penalties, as Ifedi has amassed 13 holding calls and 37 (!) false starts in his career. However, his discipline improved during his time in Chicago, with just 1 holding call and 8 false starts from 2020-2021. Ifedi looks to be a primary challenger to another former first-rounder in Kaleb McGary for the starting right tackle spot, and is likely the favorite for the swing tackle job.
Projection: Germain Ifedi brings significant starting experience and versatility at both tackle and guard. He’ll be a contender for the starting right tackle job, competing with Kaleb McGary and Elijah Wilkinson. At worst, Ifedi should wind up as the swing tackle.