Atlanta’s once again leaning heavily on their rookie class, and this week two players who were inactive against the Saints got quite a bit of run against the Rams.
In this week’s edition of the Falcons rookie report, we talk about Tyler Allgeier’s debut, DeAngelo Malone’s first action, and of course, Drake London’s continued excellence.
WR Drake London: Still Atlanta’s leading receiver
London is great. The team’s leading receiver by a wide margin, London was once again the most effective and productive receiving option on the field, and his rapport with Marcus Mariota is paying immediate dividends. The Falcons will continue to run the passing game through him until Kyle Pitts gets rolling, and London should be at worst the 1B option for Mariota even if Pitts starts drawing heavy targets.
OLB Arnold Ebiketie: Playing increased role
Ebiketie didn’t come up with another sack in his second NFL game, but he did out-snap Adetokunbo Ogundeji, signaling he’ll get significant run in the weeks ahead. The capable rookie pass rusher has shown real promise since the summer and should be expected to be in the mix to lead the team in sacks by the end of the year.
ILB Troy Andersen: In on defense, core special teamer
Andersen received just under 10 snaps on Sunday against the Rams on defense, and it looks like the Falcons will try to mix him in there occasionally. His biggest impact will still be on special teams, where he’s among the Falcons’ leaders in snaps each of the past two weeks and had a huge blocked punt against the Rams on Sunday.
Expect a 2023 arrival as an impact defender—maybe that’s overly optimistic, but I’m hopeful—and some highlight reel plays on special teams in the meantime.
QB Desmond Ridder: No snaps Sunday
Ridder will sit until the Falcons are ready to get him into games, which isn’t going to be this early in the season so long as Marcus Mariota is healthy. Expect him to get into the starting lineup sometime after midseason unless the Falcons lose a lot and Mariota struggles.
OLB DeAngelo Malone: Active as a reserve
Malone was active for the first time Sunday and mixed in as a part of the outside linebacker rotation, managing a pair of tackles. He should be on the field most Sundays as the Falcons try to bring as much pressure as they can, given that Malone has real upside in that regard.
RB Tyler Allgeier: Active and getting carries
Allgeier actually matched Cordarrelle Patterson’s carries on Sunday, though his weren’t quite as effective as CP’s. The bruising rookie back showed he can block effectively this summer, caught a few passes and has a running style the team favors, so especially with Damien Williams on the shelf for a few weeks, you should look for him to have a significant role on Sundays.
DL Timothy Horne: Significant reserve role
For the second straight week, Horne played quite a bit, and he actually outsnapped Abdullah Anderson and Anthony Rush in this one. The coaching staff clearly likes the undrafted free agent and their line depth is thin, which more or less ensures that Horne will play 15-20 snaps on Sundays unless they make a major addition.
LB Nate Landman: Special teams role
Landman continues to play a significant special teams role and will be active on gameday for that alone, but his role on defense will be limited unless injuries crop up.
WR Jared Bernhardt: Handful of snaps Sunday
Bernhardt got on the field for two snaps, but was not targeted in the passing game. He’ll likely have a small role in 2022, but when Ridder eventually takes over the rapport the two developed in preseason might get him a few looks.