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Who will be the Falcons new regime’s first draft pick not to make the roster?


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This is a really interesting question. Arthur Smith has said no sacred cows graze his pastures but still I think it’ll be hard to give up on guys you’ve drafted so recently. If I had to guess I’d say Mayfield or Darby. Darby’s at least had flashes.. Mayfield not so much. He’s had games where he’s look ok this off-season but not enough that I could see the team keeping him around if a better player at his position becomes available. 

The Falcons are set to face the Jaguars this Saturday in their final preseason game before gearing up for the regular-season opener against the Saints. However, the front office will have to trim the roster to 53 players before that. Plenty of exciting position battles have to work themselves out prior to then too. The most notable being the starting center battle between Drew Dalman and Matt Hennessy, but a slew of battles are taking place down the depth chart that could result in one of the new regime’s draft picks not making the roster.

For reference, below are Terry Fontenot’s two draft classes. 

2022 Draft Class

  • 1st round, No. 8 overall pick: WR Drake London
  • 2nd round, No. 38 overall pick: OLB Arnold Ebiketie
  • 2nd round, No. 58 overall pick: LB Troy Andersen
  • 3rd round, No. 74 overall pick: QB Desmond Ridder
  • 3rd round, No. 82 overall pick: OLB DeAngelo Malone
  • 5th round, No. 151 overall pick: RB Tyler Allgeier
  • 6th round, No. 190 overall pick: OL Justin Shaffer
  • 6th round, No. 213 overall pick: TE John FitzPatrick

2021 Draft Class

To me, a few draft picks are in danger of not making the final 53-man roster. At wide receiver, Darby is competing with Damiere Byrd, Jared Bernhardt, Stanley Berryhill, Cameron Batson, and KeeSean Johnson for what could be one or two roster spots. In reality, it’s likely a three-man battle between Darby, Byrd, and Bernhardt. The Falcons’ sixth-round pick from a year ago has done little in terms of on-field production, but Darby is certainly a firecracker and positive influence in the locker room.

However, Bernhardt has made it nearly impossible for the team to keep him off the roster. He’s shown up in bunches, recording three receptions for 67 yards in the team’s loss to the Jets, and he also hauled in the go-ahead touchdown the week prior against the Lions. Darby’s lack of production could result in a practice squad stint.

At tight end, John FitzPatrick will be competing with Parker Hesse and MyCole Pruitt for what could only be one roster spot if the team keeps Feleipe Franks on the active roster. Pruitt had a great showing against the Jets, but it all depends on the Falcons’ preference for the last tight end on the roster. It’ll likely be the best blocker, which could be any of them at this point.

 

Last but not least, the offensive line should be interesting. Two draft picks could be in danger of losing their roster spots — Justin Shaffer and Jalen Mayfield. Shaffer is a rookie, so the uninspiring performance against the Jets will likely be overlooked. However, the same cannot be said for Mayfield, whose struggles have been well-documented.

After being forced into action as a rookie, it’s been nothing but rough outings for the former Michigan Wolverine. The Falcons elected to start Elijah Wilkinson for both preseason matchups thus far, but even with the second-team offense against backups, Mayfield hasn’t been encouraging.

Contrary to popular belief, Mayfield was actually decent in limited action in the Falcons preseason opener against the Lions, but he still looked just alright against a lousy team’s backups. Vying for a starting position, Mayfield needs to be dominating reserve players. Instead, he looked average. That’s not going to be good enough.

It was even worse against the Jets last night. Mayfield again ran with the second-team offense and had several miscues in pass protection, along with penalties in the red zone, which kept the Falcons from scoring touchdowns. There really isn’t much he’s done to inspire confidence that he can one day become a viable starting option in Atlanta.

If I had to guess, I think Darby is the most in danger of losing his roster spot because finding receivers to play special teams isn’t challenging. And at this point, Bernhardt has shown more promise as a receiver.

 

 

 

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If I had to guess, I’d say mayfield or Darby. I really don’t see any potential or growth from mayfield personally. Taking into account he’s been getting beat like a drum, and committing penalties, can’t have both. And Darby, just havnt seen much really and see more potential from the other guys 

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1 minute ago, Diesel_Bird said:

If I had to guess, I’d say mayfield or Darby. I really don’t see any potential or growth from mayfield personally. Taking into account he’s been getting beat like a drum, and committing penalties, can’t have both. And Darby, just havnt seen much really and see more potential from the other guys 

Honestly if they want to keep Darby around and not hurt the team I’d say the best thing to do is cut him. I don’t think many teams will be looking to snatch him up and you could bring him back on the practice squad. I’d much rather them go with KeeSean Johnson. He had experience and though he hasn’t gotten many snaps when he did he passed the eye test for me. Crisp route, catches really well and has YAC potential with good size at 6’1 201lbs. Most importantly he has NFL experience. 

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1 hour ago, Diesel_Bird said:

If I had to guess, I’d say mayfield or Darby. I really don’t see any potential or growth from mayfield personally. Taking into account he’s been getting beat like a drum, and committing penalties, can’t have both. And Darby, just havnt seen much really and see more potential from the other guys 

I'm telling y'all, Mayfield is a lock. I would say it's goodbye and PS for Fitz and Darby. Everyone else is pretty safe. Avery Williams though, they'll give him a year to be that gadget guy, but if Bernhardt returns a punt or kickoff to the house, he should start eyeing the door. 

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23 minutes ago, celtiksage said:

I'm telling y'all, Mayfield is a lock. I would say it's goodbye and PS for Fitz and Darby. Everyone else is pretty safe. Avery Williams though, they'll give him a year to be that gadget guy, but if Bernhardt returns a punt or kickoff to the house, he should start eyeing the door. 

Probably right 

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3 hours ago, Jesus said:

All last season all everyone did was complain about Richie Grant. He's played all preseason and no one is mentioning him. He must be doing pretty well.

When did grant play? Certainly didn't yesterday. Serious question, I don't remember seeing him.

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1 hour ago, Drunken Minotaur Zebra said:

I'll die on the hill that if we started Justin Shaffer and played him like we did Mayfield he'd be our starting LG.

I get where people are coming from but he’s an easy cut to me. But they don’t pay me or anybody else here to make these decisions, I’m just pontificating like everybody else 👍

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Ridder and Pitts.  What have those guys done?

Seriously, there are a few things to think about.  While the 2021 draft looks like a typical draft selection, the 2022 draft is off the charts.  I don't follow the draft success of 32 teams, but I cannot recall a draft list that is as striking at the 2022 Falcons. 

Another thing to consider is that the draft picks of TF with input from the scouts and coaches is one season old.  Cutting a guy like Mayfield would be tough.  The guy was yanked from his position, stuffed into LG, and thrown to the wolves with no viable backup when things got bad.  There may be no sacred cows, but the Falcons owe this guy an opportunity to develop. 

While Dalman, Mayfield, Williams, and Darby are possibilities, there are a lot of FAs that are trying to make the cut.  How many of those have not performed well?  How deep do we have to go with drafted players when some of these FAs did not impress IMHO?

Obviously, I know nothing but have lots of questions.

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This is all going to come down to the needs for week 1.  Have to remember, we may have Marlon Davidson coming off scoped knee, which probably means we keep an extra Interior DL for week 1, on 53.  We don't know the status of Etheridge yet, (as I had him on the 53 prior to injury).  His status may determine an extra spot for a guy who will bring ST snaps.  I think Abdullah Anderson is on the 53 already, so may open a spot for Horne or Tangelo.  I think on the ST side, with Etheridge not available, may open the spot to keep an extra TE or RB.  Who provides the best ST option?  I think Franks would be cut, and brought back to PS, if Etheridge was healthy.  But, with a spot open, they will lean into the best ST player for week 1.  

Mayfield is making the team.  Shaffer may be cut, and brought back on PS because he offers no ST value.  But, could be back up on 53 when later in year.

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13 minutes ago, atljbo said:

Do you not count the PS as the team ?

That is a tough question.  The 53 man roster is definitely the team.  But, the PS is kind of squirrely to me.  Players can be claimed.  There are so many situations I don't think I can accurately summarize.  They are on the team "some".

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7 hours ago, Jesus said:

All last season all everyone did was complain about Richie Grant. He's played all preseason and no one is mentioning him. He must be doing pretty well.

Now that you mention it I haven't seen 1 mention of grant all 3 preseason games even as I was watching them I don't recall if he even got a lot of snaps or anything

At least I know he is smothering whoever he has been guarding

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