FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. – Today's Early Bird Report includes a look at the Falcons' projected depth chart and a few positions of strength as well as what the Saints might do to replace Mark Ingram during his suspension.
FALCONS HEADLINES FROM AROUND THE COUNTRY
ESPN: Falcons depth chart: Wide receiver an even bigger threat
The Falcons already had a strong roster in place heading into last month's draft, leaving them with only a few needs and the opportunity to bolster their depth greatly. Atlanta did just that at a few positions, but it was wide receiver that may have gained the largest boost.
In detailing the Falcons’ projected depth chart after the draft, ESPN's Vaughn McClure lists Julio Jones and Mohamed Sanu as the returning starters with first-round pick Calvin Ridley just behind them at No. 3. That trio should make for some exciting offense this fall.
One of the more interesting areas the Falcons addressed in the draft was the secondary. With the addition of second-round cornerback Isaiah Oliver, the Falcons now have a deep and talented secondary, leaving some to wonder how they might utilize all of the players at their disposal.
"The one-time Pro Bowler Trufant had a down year last season and looks to regain his swagger," McClure writes. "The addition of second-round pick Oliver could make things interesting because he's better suited outside, meaning Alford or Trufant could be pushed into a nickel role. Kazee also could be a wild card at nickel, and he and Poole could be safety candidates. Bethel might have been the biggest free-agent pickup as a special-teams ace."
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BIGGEST NEWS FROM AROUND THE NFL
NFL.com: Saints not planning to sign RB to replace Ingram
The NFL announced Tuesday that New Orleans Saints running back Mark Ingram would be suspended for the first four games of the season after violating the league's performance-enhancing drug policy.
This is of course noteworthy for Falcons fans, as Atlanta will host New Orleans in Week 3 – within the window of Ingram's suspension. According to NFL.com writer Herbie Teope, a team official told NFL Network's Steve Wyche that the Saints don’t plan on pursuing another available running back to fill Ingram's role while he is suspended.
The Saints will presumably rely on second-year player Alvin Kamara, who was sensational in his rookie season and was named NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year. In 2017, Kamara gained a total of 1,554 yards from scrimmage and scored 13 touchdowns.
Other running backs on the Saints' roster include Daniel Lasco, Jonathan Williams, Trey Edmunds and sixth-round draft pick Boston Scott.
Here are some more articles from around the league: