Injury has been a factor for the Falcons all summer. First they lost Avery Williams to a devastating injury early on, and since then ailments suffered by Matt Hennessy, Mike Hughes, and others have impacted their availability in practices and the first preseason game. The infectiously energetic Frank Darby was just waived with an injury designation, as well, which means the team’s depth picture is taking a hit along the way.
That will be true with the latest injury to Ade Ogundeji. When we heard he was getting a second opinion on a foot injury earlier today, as the team noted in their story about his trip to injured reserve, it did not sound like a good sign. Sure enough, Ogundeji is headed to IR, which means his season (or at least the first several weeks) may be over before it truly began.
It’s an unfortunate blow for Ogundeji, a player the Falcons had relied on heavily over the past two seasons. He played in 32 games and started 27 from 2021-2022, with 75 combined tackles, three sacks, a fumble recovery, and a pass deflection over that span. He was a favorite of former outside linebackers coach Ted Monachino, who envisioned him as a vital cog at the position, so he had lost one of his advocates on the coaching staff when Monachino was let go. Still, the durability and consistency, plus a consistent role on special teams and his youth, figured to at least give Ogundeji a strong shot at making the team even with new additions.
It seemed as though Ogundeji would be fighting to have a major role this year with multiple additions to the outside linebacker group and the expected growth from Arnold Ebiketie and especially DeAngelo Malone potentially cutting down on his playing time. Now, Ogundeji will be lost for the season, meaning he’ll be pushing again for a roster spot after recovering in 2024.
This likely opens the door for Kemoko Turay to make the roster, assuming the Falcons do keep more than four listed outside linebackers in Lorenzo Carter, Ebiketie, Malone, and Bud Dupree.
The team also announced that they’ve cut offensive lineman LaColby Tucker, who spent a short time with the team, and have added defensive lineman Demone Harris. A former undrafted free agent who has appeared in 14 games since 2018 with three different teams, Harris will join a spirited competition for reserve roles along the defensive front, and will look to stand out in preseason action to help him make the case for a role.
If my math is right—and it rarely is—the team still has an open roster spot to work with. While we wait to see how they fill it, please wish Ogundeji well on his recovery, and join me in hoping that we do not see any other Falcons hitting injured reserve here in the preseason.