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 2021 fourth-round interior offensive lineman Drew Dalman.
C/G Drew Dalman
Age: 23 (24 during 2022 season)
Contract: $1.02M cap hit in 2022, rookie contract through 2024
Career Production: 17 games played | 68 snaps played, 2 penalties, 0 sacks allowed | 78.3 overall PFF grade
2021 Production: Same as above
Previous Teams: Drafted in the 4th Round (115th overall) by the Atlanta Falcons (2021-present)
The Falcons had big shoes to fill at center in 2021. All-Pro veteran Alex Mack contemplated retirement before signing with the San Francisco 49ers, leaving Atlanta with a significant void at the pivot. 2020 third-rounder Matt Hennessy seemed the obvious candidate to take over—and did in training camp—but the new regime elected to bring in some additional competition. One of two fourth-round picks in 2021, Drew Dalman had a distinguished career at Stanford as one of the premier zone blocking centers in college football.
Dalman is an elite athlete, as evidenced by his 9.90 RAS. He’s lightning-quick, agile, and explosive—all the hallmarks of a high-level zone-blocking lineman. Dalman also possesses good size for a center at over 6’3, though he weighed in a little light at 299. He did put up a little bit of a fight in training camp with Hennessy, but wound up as the primary interior reserve instead. Atlanta didn’t need to call upon Dalman outside of a handful of snaps, but he was active in all 17 games in 2021.
On those snaps, Dalman acquitted himself very well with an impressive 78.3 overall PFF grade. As you’d expect from his college tape, Dalman was a strong run blocker who was a little shakier in pass protection. He also committed two penalties in just 68 snaps, which is quite high. Still, the brief glimpses we got of Dalman last season were encouraging. He’ll compete for the starting center job once again—and was getting the starting reps in Atlanta’s most recent OTA session—but should be quality depth at worst in 2022.
Projection: Drew Dalman will compete for the starting center job with Matt Hennessy in training camp after an encouraging rookie season. At worst, Dalman should wind up as the primary interior reserve once again.