FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. -- There was some unnecessary consternation among Falcons fans when Kyle Pitts was listed behind Lee Smith on the first depth chart released during the 2021 preseason.
Was Pitts actually a quote/unquote backup? Nope. That was clear watching last year's open training camp practices.
Head coach Arthur Smith generally puts rookies on the back end of the depth chart at this stage of the preseason.
That's why you shouldn't freak out upon seeing No. 8 overall NFL Draft pick Drake London listed at the No. 5 receiver behind KhaDarel, Hodge, Geronimo Allison, Damiere Byrd and Auden Tate. He typically runs with the first unit in training camp practices, and has been productive even against top Falcons cornerbacks. It's fair to expect London will play a ton once the regular season begins, as a top receiver worthy of being listed first at his position.
- Ade Ogundeji 'quietly' coming into his own on Falcons defense
- Updating top five Falcons position battles
- How Arnold Ebiketie found his way to football, then to the NFL
- Positional breakdowns: Quarterbacks; Running backs; Receivers/Tight ends, O-line; D-line; ILBs, EDGE; Secondary
- Training camp storylines: Line of scrimmage; Edge rush, Quarterbacks
When we get close to the regular season, we'll see the depth chart ring a bit closer to expectation and what we've seen play out over the course of the preseason and joint practices with the Jets and Jaguars.
So, as a larger point, let's not take this depth chart as scientific fact. Let's use it to talk about the roster, who the Falcons have and how things compare to what we've seen in camp to this point.
There are some positions below, maybe the majority of them, that are dead accurate. Marcus Mariota is the clear QB1 at this stage, with Desmond Ridder as No. 2 and Feleipe Franks taking some periods away from tight end to call signals.
Drew Dalman and Matt Hennessy are locked in a true battle for the starting center spot, and having both listed as equals seems appropriate. Left guard Elijah Wilkinson has consistently been working with the first team over Jalen Mayfield, as you see below.
Bryan Edwards is listed behind Olamide Zaccheaus, but Edwards seems like the frontline guy even through both guys will play a lot. KhaDarel Hodge and Geromino Allison have had standout moments, as much or more than others also vying for the fourth and fifth receiver spots.
Ade Ogundeji and Lorenzo Carter have generally been first-unit edge rushers, though rookies Arnold Ebiketie and DeAngelo Malone might slot in higher in depth charts down the road. We'll see how things shake out during an intensely competitive period coming up, with games and joint practices creating separation and helping establish starting and rotational roles.
|WR||KhaDarel Hodge||Geronimo Allison||Damiere Byrd||Auden Tate||Drake London||Tyshaun James|
|TE||Kyle Pitts||Anthony Firkser||Feleipe Franks|
|LT||Jake Matthews||Rick Leonard||Leroy Watson|
|LG||Elijah Wilkinson||Jalen Mayfield||Justin Shaffer|
|C||Matt Hennessy -OR- Drew Dalman||Ryan Neuzil|
|RG||Chris Lindstrom||Colby Gossett||Jonotthan Harrison|
|RT||Kaleb McGary||Germain Ifedi||Tyler Vrabel|
|TE||Parker Hesse||MyCole Pruitt||John FitzPatrick||Tucker Fisk|
|WR||Olamide Zaccheaus||Bryan Edwards||Frank Darby||Cameron Batson||Stanley Berryhill||Jared Bernhardt|
|RB||Cordarrelle Patterson||Damien Williams||Keith Smith||Qadree Ollison||Caleb Huntley||Avery Williams||John Raine||Tyler Allgeier|
|QB||Marcus Mariota||Desmond Ridder||Feleipe Franks|
|DL||Grady Jarrett||Jalen Dalton||Abdullah Anderson||Timothy Horne|
|DL||Anthony Rush||Nick Thurman||Derrick Tangelo|
|DL||Ta'Quon Graham||Marlon Davidson||Darrion Daniels|
|OLB||Adetokunbo Ogundeji||Arnold Ebiketie||Kuony Deng|
|LB||Mykal Walker||Nick Kwiatkoski||Rashad Smith||Troy Andersen|
|LB||Rashaan Evans||Dorian Etheridge||Nathan Landman|
|OLB||Lorenzo Carter||Quinton Bell||Jordan Brailford||DeAngelo Malone|
|CB||A.J. Terrell||Cornell Armstrong||Mike Ford||Corey Ballentine||Matt Hankins|
|S||Richie Grant||Erik Harris||Henry Black|
|S||Jaylinn Hawkins||Dean Marlowe||Teez Tabor||Tre Webb|
|CB||Casey Hayward Jr.||Darren Hall||Isaiah Oliver||Dee Alford||Lafayette Pitts|
|P||Bradley Pinion||Seth Vernon|