The first preseason depth chart is here for the Atlanta Falcons. If you feel a tingle of excitement going through your body when you read that sentence, you’re in for a fair bit of disappointment when you remember just how inaccurate these kinds of depth charts tend to be.
Bijan Robinson is not the third running back. Xavier Malone, he of the impressive training camp, is not the last receiver on the depth chart. Clark Phillips is not solely the third-stringer nickel back. And so on. Rookies tend to be down the depth chart here in preseason, and this whole thing has very little in the way of predictive power. That’s what you need to keep in mind when you look at the depth chart, which is also shared below.
Falcons Depth Chart
|QB||Desmond Ridder||Taylor Heinicke||Logan Woodside|
|RB||Cordarrelle Patterson||Tyler Allgeier||Bijan Robinson||Carlos Washington||Godwin Igwebuike|
|WR||Drake London||Scotty Miller||Josh Ali||Penny Hart||Slade Bolden||Matt Sexton||Xavier Malone|
|WR||Mack Hollins||KhaDarel Hodge||Frank Darby||J.J. Arcega-Whiteside||Keilhan Harris|
|TE||Kyle Pitts||Parker Hesse||John FitzPatrick|
|TE||Jonnu Smith||MyCole Pruitt||Tucker Fisk|
|LT||Jake Matthews||Josh Miles||Barry Wesley|
|LG||Matt Hennessy||Matt Bergeron||Jonotthan Harrison||Michal Menet|
|C||Drew Dalman||Ryan Neuzil||Jovaughn Gwyn|
|RG||Chris Lindstrom||Kyle Hinton||Justin Shaffer|
|RT||Kaleb McGary||Jalen Mayfield||Tyler Vrabel|
|DL||Grady Jarrett||Timmy HOrne||Justin Ellis||LaCale London|
|DL||David Onyemata||Ta'Quon Graham||Carlos Davis||Albert Huggins|
|DL||Calais Campbell||Joe Gaziano||Zach Harrison||Caeveon Patton|
|OLB||Bud Dupree||Lorenzo Carter||Kemoko Turay|
|ILB||Kaden Elliss||Mykal Walker||Tae Davis||Mike Jones|
|ILB||Troy Andersen||Nate Landman||Andre Smith|
|OLB||Arnold Ebiketie||Ade Ogundeji||DeAngelo Malone|
|CB||A.J. Terrell||Cornell Armstrong||Breon Borders||Natrone Brooks|
|CB||Jeff Okudah||Tre Flowers||Darren Hall|
|NB||Dee Alford||Mike Hughes||Clark Phillips III|
|S||Jessie Bates||Jaylinn Hawkins||DeMarcco Hellams|
|S||Richie Grant||Micah Abernathy||Lukas Denis||Cliff Chattman|
|PR||Mike Hughes||Penny Hart||Scotty Miller|
For all that, there are a few observations worth making here.
- Mike Hughes being in the lead for the punt returner job, and only Hughes, Penny Hart, and Miller being on the depth chart does loosely define the contours of that job. Hughes and Miller are almost assured roster spots for this Falcons team, so either one winning it just gives them an expanded role. Hart, meanwhile, likely needs to win that role to make the roster over the likes of rookie Zay Malone or Frank Darby.
- Josh Miles and Barry Wesley being listed at left tackle matters insofar as the team doesn’t have a lot of compelling backup options for Jake Matthews—even if Jalen Mayfield makes the roster, I’m not sure the team is going to be thrilled about the idea of treating him as a true swing tackle given his pass protection woes in 2021—and they figure to be in the mix for it. Wesley’s ability to play multiple spots on the line could give him a leg up for the last roster spot on this offensive line.
- The fact that the team is listing two tight end groupings tells you how often they plan to use two tight ends versus, say, three wide receivers. That should not come as a shock given what we know about Arthur Smith’s offense and how often we saw Parker Hesse on the field this past year.
- Dee Alford being listed as the top option at nickel cornerback reflects what we’ve seen all summer, but it’s worth remarking on his meteoric rise from CFL signing to useful reserve to presumptive starting nickel. It has taken a tremendous amount of work to get here, even by the standards of work NFL players put in, and Alford should thrive as a starter because of that.
What else did you find worth remarking on from this depth chart?