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 edge rusher. One of the weakest position groups on the roster in 2021, the Falcons have spent considerable resources reshaping it this offseason. Only 2021 fifth-rounder Adetokunbo Ogundeji returns from last year’s roster.
Next up is 2021 fifth-rounder Adetokunbo Ogundeji.
EDGE Adetokunbo Ogundeji
Age: 23 (24 during 2022 season)
Contract: $885K cap hit in 2022, rookie contract through 2024
Career Production: 16 games played, 11 games started | 33 total tackles, 18 solo, 5.0 TFL, 1.0 sack, 6 total pressures, 13.2% missed tackle rate | 1 PD | 54.2 overall PFF grade
2021 Production: Same as above
Previous Teams: Drafted in the 5th Round (183rd overall) by the Atlanta Falcons (2021-present)
It’s been an eventful offseason for Atlanta’s edge rushers, as the group has seen almost a complete makeover in less than one year. Dante Fowler Jr., Steven Means, James Vaughters, and Brandon Copeland all departed in free agency. Only Adetokunbo Ogundeji, a fifth-round selection in the 2021 NFL Draft, returns from the league-worst 2021 pass rushing group.
As a Day 3 pick, Ogundeji was expected to be a developmental player who could work his way into the rotation as the year went on. Due to injury and ineffectiveness in front of him, Ogundeji found himself active for 16 games and wound up starting 11 of them. As you might expect for a mid-rookie rookie, Ogundeji’s first season was a little bit up-and-down. Ogundeji has terrific size at length at 6’4.5, 260 and with 35” arms. He was a good run defender and edge setter with 5.0 TFL, and was most effective on early downs. As a pass rusher, Ogundeji struggled to make an impact, with just one sack and 6 total pressures.
The good news is that Ogundeji now has a year of experience under his belt and should have a better supporting cast around him. Atlanta can allow Ogundeji to play to his strengths as a featured early-down OLB—which might lead to him getting a number of starts this season against the run-heavy offenses on the schedule. Hopefully, he continues to develop as a pass rusher and can grow into a 3-down role.
Projection: Adetokunbo Ogundeji should have a significant role as an early-down specialist in 2022. If he can continue to develop as a pass rusher, we could see Ogundeji become the long-term EDGE3 for the Falcons and a featured part of the rotation.