Projecting the Falcons’ offensive starters after the draft

  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
·4 min read
In this article:
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.

One of the many things we love about the NFL draft is that it gives us an idea of each team’s vision for their roster. Atlanta took Kyle Pitts in the top five last year and Drake London with the eighth overall pick in the 2022 draft, showing the team’s preference for big, physical pass-catchers.

Check out our post-draft projection of the Falcons’ starting lineup on offense.

QB: Marcus Mariota

Jason Getz-USA TODAY Sports

Despite the team drafting Desmond Ridder in the third round, Marcus Mariota is still more likely to enter Week 1 as the starting quarterback. Mariota has the edge in experience, he won’t turn the ball over and he’s familiar with Arthur Smith’s system. Don’t be surprised to see Ridder at some point during the season, though.

RB Cordarrelle Patterson

Stan Szeto-USA TODAY Sports

Patterson is back and should again carry the load for the Falcons offense. The team added a few different running backs over the offseason, including rookie Tyler Allgeier. However, the Falcons released Mike Davis after the draft, so I don’t expect much to change for Patterson.

WR1 Drake London

(AP Photo/John Locher)

London, even as a rookie, should be the team’s top wide receiver. He’s got elite size and a huge catch radius that should make him a favorite for quarterback Marcus Mariota. Pairing up London with Pitts has the potential to create headaches for opposing defenses.

WR2: Auden Tate

Mike Dinovo-USA TODAY Sports

Tate had a decent year back in 2019, racking up 40 catches for 575 yards and a touchdown but hasn’t done much since. The 25-year-old should provide quarterback Marcus Mariota with another big target on the outside.

WR3 Olamide Zaccheaus

(AP Photo/Gary McCullough)

Olamide signed his free agent tender a few weeks ago and should provide a good option in the slot along with Damiere Byrd. Zaccheaus has more experience in Atlanta’s system than any wide receiver on the team.

TE1: Kyle Pitts

(AP Photo/Danny Karnik)

Things won’t get any easier for Pitts in year two. After Atlanta lost both Russell Gage and Calvin Ridley, the speedy tight end will enter the season as the team’s undisputed No. 1 target. Pitts finished with over 1,000 yards in 2021. Can he outdo those numbers in 2022?

TE2: Anthony Firkser

George Walker IV-USA TODAY Sports

Signing Firkser prior to the draft solidified the team’s No. 2 tight end spot. The Falcons did select Georgia tight end John FitzPatrick with their final draft selection, however, he’s not likely to take reps away from Firkser.

LT: Jake Matthews

(AP Photo/Danny Karnik)

Matthews needs no explanation here. Not only is there no other starting-caliber left tackle on the roster, the Falcons just signed Matthews to a three-year extension at the start of the offseason, ensuring stability on the blind side of the offensive line.

LG: Jalen Mayfield

Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

Mayfield had a rocky rookie year, but in his defense, he was thrown into a tough situation and gained valuable experience. Atlanta didn’t sign a viable replacement and despite drafting Georgia guard Justin Shaffer in the sixth round, the Bulldog is unlikely to unseat the former Wolverine this season.

Center: Matt Hennessy

(AP Photo/John Bazemore)

Hennessy had an up-and-down year, but he showed enough to enter the season as the favorite to start again at center. Second-year lineman Drew Dalman could be in the mix as well, although I think it’s another year of Hennessy in Atlanta.

RG: Chris Lindstrom

(AP Photo/Alex Menendez)

Lindstrom should soon have his fifth-year option picked up since he’s a clear part of the team’s long-term future. The former first-round pick has a chance to establish himself as one of the NFL’s premier right guards with another year of high-level production.

RT: Kaleb McGary

Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports

Even though the team hasn’t picked up McGary’s fifth-year option, Atlanta didn’t address the position in the draft as many expected. This leads me to believe head coach Arthur Smith and OC Dave Ragone are looking to build continuity — for 2022 at least — along the offensive line. The bulked up McGary has a lot to play for this season and I think he holds off Germain Ifedi and Elijah Wilkinson.

[polldaddy poll=11105390]

[lawrence-related id=94795,94780,94776,94767,94650,94663]

1

1