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 linebacker. The Falcons return a handful of players from last year’s squad—though the status of Deion Jones is uncertain—and also added a number of veterans and a second-round rookie in Troy Andersen.
Next up, rookie second-rounder Troy Andersen.
LB Troy Andersen
Contract: $1.11M cap hit in 2022, rookie contract through 2025
Career Production: Two seasons played at LB | 201 total tackles, 25.5 TFL | 8.5 sacks, 12 PD, 3 INT
2021 Production: 15 games played | 147 total tackles, 83 solo, 14.0 TFL | 2.0 sacks, 7 PD, 2 INT
Previous Teams: Drafted in the 2nd Round (58th overall) by the Atlanta Falcons (2022)
Perhaps the most versatile and unique player in all of college football during the 2021 season, Troy Andersen has had quite the career thus far. A high school quarterback and safety, Andersen started off as a running back and reserve linebacker for Montana State his freshman year—earning All-Conference honors. Next season, he transitioned to quarterback, where he’d post over 1,400 rushing yards and once again earn All-Conference honors.
In 2019, he returned to his RB/LB role, but this time played primarily as a linebacker—and, stop me if you’ve heard this before, once again earned All-Conference honors. Montana State didn’t play in 2020 because of COVID, but Andersen returned to the field for his best season yet at linebacker in 2021—earning Defensive Player of the Year honors in the Big Sky. As you can see from his RAS chart, Andersen is a special, one-of-a-kind athlete. He truly does have the versatility to play almost anywhere on offense or defense.
All that versatility does come with a cost however. Andersen is sort of a “jack-of-all-trades, master-of-none” player at this stage of his career. His ability to play all over the field is valuable, obviously, but he’s still developing his instincts, tackling, and other technical skills at linebacker. Considering how easily he transitioned between positions in college, I wouldn’t bet against Andersen finding his way on to the field earlier than expected. I also wouldn’t be shocked if Andersen has some sort of limited “gadget” role on offense, considering his playmaking ability.
Projection: Troy Andersen is one of the most athletic players in the NFL and should find his way on to the field quickly. I’d expect Andersen to immediately make an impact on special teams, and he could factor in as a sub-package coverage linebacker at some point in his rookie season. Going forward, the sky is the limit for Andersen’s NFL potential.