The team’s depth chart shows some players being officially named starters, at least for now, while throwing in some mystery and/or weirdness regarding draft picks that’s far, far more likely owing to tradition than any real concerns about how they’ll perform this year.
Let’s dig into what this depth chart says today and what we can glean from that, with the caveat that none of this is remotely final.
Hodge, Zaccheaus listed as starting receivers
The wide receiver depth chart feels off, to put it mildly, but that’s because of a long-standing habit of coaches putting rookies as low as possible on said depth chart.
Former Detroit Lion KhaDarel Hodge and Olamide Zaccheaus are listed as the top receivers on the roster, with former Packer/Lion Geronimo Allison and former Raider Bryan Edwards listed behind them. Now, if you’re wondering “where on Earth is Drake London,” he’s listed as the fifth receiver on Hodge’s spot on the depth chart behind free agent pickups Damiere Byrd and Auden Tate.
Frank Darby and Cameron Batson fill in the two reserve spots behind Zaccheaus and Edwards for now, at least for now.
For London, this is an extreme formality for his rookie status, with starting reps most likely awaiting the first-round pick as soon as September. They didn’t draft London to stuff him at a spot on the roster where he could be potentially cut; don’t take this too seriously as a sign of how London is progressing. The first unofficial depth chart surely has some trickery afoot, and you’ll see a fair amount of London Friday.
Notably, this is a huge vote of confidence in Hodge, who can also play special teams at a high level as a gunner. He seems to have a good footing to make the roster at present. What does this mean for Tate, though? It’s likely a sign that he and fellow free agents Byrd, Batson, and Allison have some work to do to earn roster spots.
Rest of offense shaping up as expected
We knew that Marcus Mariota was named starter at quarterback ahead of Desmond Ridder, and that offensive lineman Elijah Wilkinson was getting the upper hand on Jalen Mayfield for the left guard spot. Both became official Tuesday, at least in an unofficial capacity.
There aren’t many surprises along the offensive line for now, with the center battle still ongoing between Drew Dalman and Matt Hennessy and the team reluctant to name a starter there. The duo are listed as “or,” meaning we’re not getting any insights into who is winning the job for now. Rick Leonard is listed as the swing tackle, and Germain Ifedi is listed as Kaleb McGary’s backup, meaning the 2019 first-round pick is holding down his starting spot for now.
At running back, Cordarrelle Patterson and Damien Williams lead the pack, with Tyler Allgeier all the way at the back as the eighth man listed. Though, like London, don’t be fooled. This is likely just a formality at the moment for a rookie, with Allgeier most likely to take significant snaps this season as a major piece of the running back committee.
The tight end room is as expected. Kyle Pitts and Anthony Firkser are listed as the top passing tight ends, while Parker Hesse and new Falcon MyCole Pruitt are listed as the top two blocking tight ends. That four might be where we go into the season, with Feleipe Franks also drawing time there.
Graham listed as starter on defensive line
2021 draft pick Ta’Quan Graham makes his 2022 depth chart debut as a starter on the defensive line alongside expected names like Grady Jarrett and Anthony Rush.
Graham is listed ahead of 2020 draft pick Marlon Davidson, which must mean the Texas alum has done enough to make the team feel confident that he’s ready for starting reps. Again, none of this is remotely final, but Graham has been a player worth watching.
Evans, Walker, Carter, Ogundeji listed as starters at linebacker
The linebacker group is shaping up as expected, with Rashaan Evans and Mykal Walker leading the inside guys and Nick Kwiatkowski and Dorian Etheridge listed as top reserves.
2022 second-round pick Troy Andersen is listed at the back of the lineup, but again, the team seems to be making this a recurring trend with its rookies this season.
Lorenzo Carter and Ade Ogundeji are listed as the starters on the outside, with rookie Arnold Ebiketie listed behind Ogundeji and Quinton Bell listed behind Carter. DeAngelo Malone is listed at the back, but again, rookie status. Only Ebiketie seems to be unaffected so far, and he and Ogundeji appear to be battling for the starting spot opposite Carter.
Secondary as expected, sans one surprise
The secondary group has shaped out as expected, with Richie Grant and Jaylinn Hawkins listed as starting safeties and A.J. Terrell and Casey Heyward listed as starting corners.
The only big surprise here is that neither Mike Ford nor Isaiah Oliver is listed as the slot corner at the moment. No, that honor goes to Cornell Armstrong, who is listed behind Terrell as the third corner on the roster. Darren Hall follows him, then Ford and Oliver in that order.
We’re not sure if this is just roster savvy hiding the real victor in the slot battle or a sign that, indeed, Armstrong is pushing ahead of the group for that third cornerback spot.
Pinion starter at punter
You already knew that Younghoe Koo would be the kicker and Liam McCullough had the inside track for long snapper, but Bradley Pinion appears to have the punter job locked up for now over UDFA Seth Vernon.
Well, there you have it. This depth chart will undoubtedly shift as the offseason goes on, so tune in Friday for the first preseason game of 2022 and see how the team continues to take shape.