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Intriguing players to watch in Falcons vs. Jaguars

There can only be five, and they must be intriguing.

Syndication: Detroit Free Press Junfu Han / USA TODAY NETWORK

With the Atlanta Falcons headed overseas to face the Jacksonville Jaguars in Week 4, naming five Falcons hasn’t gotten any easier. But inevitably I must persevere to find an intriguing quintet.

Drake London

Given that he’ll be playing in his namesake city, Falcons wideout Drake London certainly portends a great deal of intrigue. This isn’t the first time London’s name has made this list. And the last time it did, it preceded a game in which he had six catches and a touchdown.

Perhaps being named a second time will prove serendipitous in this weekend’s box score.

Kyle Pitts

Speaking of repeat performances, the last time Falcons tight end Kyle Pitts played in London resulted in his first career 100-yard game when the Falcons beat the New York Jets in 2021. Such production has proven mostly elusive in the years since.

In fact, his three-game totals from this year don’t match the 119 yards he had on that particular Sunday versus the Jets. Perhaps another overseas trip will revive his production once more.

Desmond Ridder

Second-year quarterback Desmond Ridder is immersed in intrigue. This season represents an important evaluation year for him, and thus it deserves weekly attention. As I noted last week when naming him, he is approaching an informal deadline that saw previous Falcons quarterbacks Marcus Mariota and Matt Ryan have their breakout performances under head coach Arthur Smith.

The clock is ticking for when Ridder will have his own breakthrough performance, and each clack rings louder than the previous one.

Nate Landman

With linebacker Troy Andersen down for the rest of the year, it is Landman who is tasked with filling the void. Landman performed well two weeks ago in Andersen’s absence against the Green Bay Packers, but that substitution was only temporary.

Now the former undrafted Landman is faced with a more extended and demanding undertaking of starting the remaining 14 games this season. Intrigue abounds concerning whether Landman can measure up.

Jeff Okudah

Falcons cornerback Jeff Okudah made his 2023 debut last week, playing 11 snaps as part of a three-headed rotation at cornerback also featuring Tre Flowers and Mike Hughes. Coach Smith has already indicated that Okudah will see an increased workload against the Jaguars. What exactly that expanded role entails, coupled with Okudah’s performance, makes for plenty of intrigue.

That’s especially true since he’ll likely be tasked to face a formidable opponent in former Falcons wideout Calvin Ridley. Okudah’s physical style of play is exactly what could potentially give Ridley fits, with the latter known more for his finesse style thanks to superb route-running and struggles making contested catches. While Sunday’s game won’t be Okudah’s official introduction as a Falcon, containing Ridley will make for an excellent first impression.

Are there other intriguing Falcons that you can name?