Posted: 7:23 am Wednesday, May 14th, 2014

DEPTH CHART: Where Matthews, Freeman fit on offense 

By D. Orlando Ledbetter

FLOWERY BRANCH – Unsolicited, the Falcons’ brass kept making a point about there being an “open competition” throughout the roster.

Jake Matthews, 6-5, 305, OT, Texas A&M: The son of Hall of Fame guard Bruce Matthews. (Associated Press)

Jake Matthews, 6-5, 305, OT, Texas A&M: The son of Hall of Fame guard Bruce Matthews. (Associated Press)

They say that every offseason, but for some reason they seemed more sincere this year.

I think that applies to the defensive side of the ball. The offense is pretty much set.

First-round pick Jake Matthews will have to beat out Lamar Holmes, Ryan Schraeder and Mike Johnson for the right tackle spot.

Devonta Freeman (Associated Press)

Devonta Freeman (Associated Press)

“He has a great skill set not only on the field, but off the field,” Falcons coach Mike Smith said. “He’s got great lineage, we all know his family background. He has been in the NFL since the day he was born, so we are really excited about that.”

Fourth-round pick Davonta Freeman will have to supplant Jacquizz Rodgers as the No. 2 running back and maybe the heir apparent to Steven Jackson.

“He’s a versatile back,” Falcons general manager Thomas Dimitroff said. “He has the ability to tote the rock as a lead back. He’s a strong back. He runs with some authority and some anger to his running style. He can catch the ball well, and for us we thought he was a real versatile addition to our running back group.”

Here’s my early take on how to stack the offense.

Everyone is not accounted for (deep reserves and undrafted rookie signees).

We will tweak this depth chart as we move forward to the rookie minicamp (friday through Sunday), the OTAs (May 27-June 12) and the mandatory minicamp (June 17-19):

 DEPTH CHART: OFFENSE

WR Julio Jones, Drew Davis,

LT Sam Baker, Lamar Holmes

LG Justin Blalock, Mike Johnson

C Joe Hawley, Peter Konz

RG Jon Asamoah, Gabe Carimi

RT Jake Matthews, Ryan Schraeder

TE Bear Pascoe, Levine Toilolo

Slot WR Harry Douglas, Darius Johnson

WR Roddy White, Harry Douglas

QB Matt Ryan, Dominique Davis

RB Steven Jackson, Davonta Freeman and Jacquizz Rodgers

FB  Patrick Dimarco, Roosevelt Nix

THE ATLANTA FALCONS 2014 DRAFT CLASS

Round 1 / 6 — Jake Matthews, RT, 6-5, 308, Texas A&M

Round 2/37 – Ra’Shede Hageman, DE, 6-6, Minnesota

Round 3/68 – Dezmen Southward, FS, 6-0, 211, Wisconsin

Round 4/103 – Devonta Freeman, RB, 5-8, 206, Florida State

Round 4/139 – Prince Shembo, LB, 6-1, 253 Notre Dame

Round 5/147 – Ricardo Allen, CB, 5-9, 187, Purdue

Round 5/168 – Marquis Spruill, LB, 6-1, 231, Syracuse

Round 7/253 – Yawin Smallwood, LB, 6-2, 246, Connecticut

Round 7/255 – Tyler Starr, LB, 6-4, 250, South Dakota

 

64 comments
DarlaLewis
DarlaLewis

Seem like it's just musical chairs right now, time has way of working the starting lineup out....

SeldomFound
SeldomFound

DLed, it seems to me that Mike Johnson is critical to Atlanta's outlook on the o-line. How is he and where does he project in all of this?

Also, what is the deal with the F alcons and Antone Smith? Why so few touches?

slydawg
slydawg

"First round draft pick Jake Matthews will have to beat out Lamar Holmes, Ryan Schraeder, and Mike Johnson for the right tackle spot."

This is the joke of the off season ...lmao

Being drafted #6 overall makes that a foregone conclusion.

slydawg
slydawg

How does Gurley or Yeldon fit on this depth chart?

HonestInformed
HonestInformed

I tried one post several times, but apparently my words about the NO Saints could not get past the AJC filter!

HonestInformed
HonestInformed

He began his rookie 2011 season as the Bears' starting right tackle. In Week 2 against the New Orleans Saints, Carimi suffered a season-ending injury to his right knee, that included the dislocation of his kneecap and which required multiple surgeries, including one in December to repair connective tissue around his patella and medial collateral ligament. He played two games for the 2011 season, starting both of them at right tackle. In 2012, controversy ensued when the Saints were found working with a bounty program, which led to questions over whether Carimi was among the players targeted. The Saints are low character _____________ (you fill in the blank).


The question is whether or not his knee and leg strength has returned after the horrible NO Saints incident. I hope he ends up being a super solid RT and Mathews becomes a stellar LT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

HonestInformed
HonestInformed

Carimi was cut by Lovie Smith in Chicago.........signed by TB and then cut by Lovie Smith when he arrived at TB. I am hopeful he has something to offer, but simply needs a second chance.........he essentially lost his "second chance" in TB when they hired Lovie Smith. He must have some talent since he was a 1st round draft pick, he won the 2010 Outland Trophy, as the nation's top collegiate interior lineman. He was also a unanimous All-American, and the Big Ten Offensive Lineman of the Year!!

HonestInformed
HonestInformed

DOL indicated Carimi has been cut twice and this is probably the “end of the road for him”:


I am not so sure about this comment and I am not ready to throw in the towel just yet.

tyger
tyger

O ye, of little faith...


Not to beat dead horse...errr (bird)

Baker, Carimi, Johnson, Konz unreliable...


Matthews, Blaylock, Hawley, Asamoah, Holmes...

the future...but...


Baker, Blaylock, Hawley, Asamoah, Matthews

will get the nod...


Is that so bad???.... not really...but

Baker just wont/cant hold up, so essentially...


Handcuffing the Unit...taking reps, cohesiveness...

Delaying the inevitable...but maybe...just maybe...


Sam Baker rises like Lazarus!!!

Knees, back, elbow, spleen, ankles, wrist, neck...

all miraculously healed...


Hallelujah!! Hallelujah!



Mr_Ected
Mr_Ected

Still scratching my head why the Falcons didn't draft Connor Shaw deep in the 7th Round, or didn't make a play for him as an UFA.  Dude signed with Cleveland, who according to Joe Tess also picked Johnny Mansell, so that's not exactly the perfect landing spot for him  We could have used this young man, who literally lives around the corner.  Missed opportunity on a potential back-up.

warfalcon
warfalcon

LETS GO FALCONS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

ryesouvie
ryesouvie

They can't bench Baker due to his contract. Matthews will start at RT and will be our LT sooner than later. My question is how hard is it to switch from LT to RT if a guy has been playing the LT position his entire career? Baker protection Ryan's blindside scares me... I love the Matthews pick and the Freeman pick. I like the kid from Minnesota as well. Go Falcons!

NorthFlaFalcon
NorthFlaFalcon

I like everyone except our Tight Ends ... who the heck are those guys? ... and our backup QB ... need to find an experienced QB to hold a clipboard and be ready to go in and produce, in case Matt goes down.

Quackmeyer
Quackmeyer

GameWarden.....Smith did not do anything to the Falcons.  That's why he is not on the 3 deep.  Good on special teams.  So that may keep him on the roster.  Odd man out is Rodgers.  Nothing to see there.  Time to move on.

Dennymo
Dennymo

Does Baker have some pictures or something?

BeastOPS
BeastOPS

Let the man have his own identity.  You don't have to follow "son of Hall of Famer Bruce Matthews" every time you type his name.  We know his lineage.

Agile
Agile

Prince Shembo, now that's a name.  What is a Yawin?

Diddler-on-the-Roof
Diddler-on-the-Roof

I love how they keep saying that Matthews is our Right tackle... Sam Baker is average, and has really been a bust.  He's had 1 1/2 healthy seasons for the Falcons.  He's always injured, and he's nothing spectacular.  Matthews is our future LT, Baker has been a bust

DawgDadII
DawgDadII

If the first string stays healthy the offense should be potent. Freeman should add needed spark out of the backfield and hopefully more, and the O-line can't help but be light years better, possibly even average by NFL standards. If the first string starts going down so will the team. I still see this as an 8-8 team that could rise up and land a playoff spot if they stay healthy and play well.

decatur_g
decatur_g

Good article on Devonta Freeman:


http://www.tallahassee.com/story/sports/college/fsu/football/2014/05/07/football-helps-fsus-devonta-freeman-escape-tough-background/8814575/


I like the pick.  Physically, he is similar to some other guys I liked for the Falcons over the past two years (Andre Ellington, Christine Michael, Stepfan Taylor, Tyler Gaffney, Zac Stacy). Not sure if his footspeed is better or worse than those guys.

Nolan Nawrocki gives him some positive reviews in his NFL.com draft preview.

UGA76
UGA76

I wish Atlanta had brought in a few more OL guys.  Dallas Lee is a lock to make the roster if the decisions are made on production.  My guess is there are other "lunch pail" OL guys out there that would be a major improvement over last year's group of under achievers. Atlanta needed 4 new OL starters and got one in free agency and one in the draft.  I hope Dallas Lee is one from free agency and they find another one.  

Falcons73
Falcons73

There's nothing more important than an update on the Falcons depth chart on May the 14th...keep up the good work DOL.

Game Warden
Game Warden

 Why no Anton Smith listed on the 3-deep?? Just what did he ever really do to the Falcons??  I don't see Devontae being any better, or Jacquizz for that matter!!

Dman
Dman

This Offensive line looks so much better than what we finished the year with. We should be able to score more points this year with protection. I like our teams roster...

harworkinman
harworkinman

Why is no one suggesting that Matthews may play left tackle this year and Holmes remain on the right side? Holmes improved a lot over the course of last season and Baker is injury prone.

Barves_Loss_Agian
Barves_Loss_Agian

They need 2 go a head and cut Jaxson he did nuttin but fall down all last year. 

DarlaLewis
DarlaLewis

I don't know what the big fuss is, Matthews will start period.  Freeman will get his share of carries because Steven Jacksons carries will be monitored. At thirty one years old you have to keep him fresh down the stretch especially if the Falcons have a winning record....

RangeRover
RangeRover

Scary to think what would happen should Ryan not get off the ground.  This is total irresponsibility not having a legitimate backup QB.

JackClemens
JackClemens

Why will Bear Pascoe beat out Levine Toilolo in your opinion D-Led?

Falcons63
Falcons63

@ryesouvie Matthews played RT behind Luke Joekel until his Sr. year at A&M.  He is regarded as a solid run blocker.. an absolute for a RT.  If Baker should get injured this year, Matthews will be a much better option than last year when Holmes got thrown to the wolves at LT. 

notPlanB
notPlanB

A Smith had 5 carries for 145 yards. Two touch downs and a 29 yard per carry avg. When someone does that, it may be a fluke but should be given a chance to find out. Had he been given that chance and was played alot in the last 4 games and was a fluke, we had the possibility of drafting in the 2nd spot.  We can guess who we would have picked with #2 but think how much different it would have been to pick 2nd in the other rounds.

DirtyBird504
DirtyBird504

@Diddler-on-the-Roof Not quite a bust..... but almost.  Baker is an above average LT when he is healthy.  See the 2012 season.  He did a great job that year.  Problem is he is hurt more often than healthy.  If he is healthy this season and the rest of the line stays healthy, the Falcons will have a pretty potent offence.  Matt, Julio, Roddy, Jackson, and Quizz will be able to do their thing...


We'll see


GO FALCONS!!!

oldcrackerfan
oldcrackerfan

@decatur_g  

I like the idea of this guy in the Falcon's backfield.  I've read the article you refer to, and he's got the right kind of motivation and plenty of it.  I you can't pull for a young man like this, who can you pull for?

notPlanB
notPlanB

Antoine Smith kicked MS's dog.

notPlanB
notPlanB

Holmes and Schraeder should be a better backups this year and will be needed when Baker goes down to injury. Hope Konz is hitting the weight room. Eighteen reps on the 225 bench press in 2012 is in the catagory of what the cheerleaders lift. Another great OL pick by TD.

JackClemens
JackClemens

Also, while Asamoah and Matthews are significant pieces, does Carimi have anything to offer, really? Will he play?

notPlanB
notPlanB

Even a great player playing 1 1/2 or 2 years in a 6 year stint is a bust IMHO and odds are he will be injured next year. I wanted one more OL in the draft. Matthews will not get a chance for LT because TD gave Baker a 6 million to 9.3 million contract for the next 5 years.

Falcons63
Falcons63

@DOrlandoLedbetter @harworkinman Dled should know that Baker's contract makes him the starter at LT...  It's not Smith being stubborn.... you would have way to much dead money to cut him and he cant run block well enough to play RT.  So...it is what it is.  In two years Bakers cap hit goes down.  When healthy, Baker is adequate at LT.  Obviously, his health has been an issue.  However, word has it that Baker has dropped some weight and is in the best shape of his career.  Nothing like the fear of losing your job to motivate!  Cross your fingers that he holds up.

Rijker
Rijker

@DOrlandoLedbetter


"Dominique Davis has been developed for two years. He should be ready to go."

DOL confirmed for not watching pre-season games in 2013.

Dman
Dman

Davis played horribly last year. Looked increadably lost on the field. We should have drafted a QB for the backup. How is Renfree developing?

JSSN
JSSN

@DOrlandoLedbetter @JackClemens  

Funny Ledbetter, they've come full cycle back to a type of "maximum protection" scenario that many failed to realize was the hallmark of Mike Mularkey's scheme! Whenever they ventured away from it, teams made them pay for it! No TE on the roster can run fast deep seam routes. So, that means they better pass protect not just adequately; but it has be exceptional in nature! You're asking wideouts to go into safety headhunter territory to do the job of the modern TE!

DOrlandoLedbetter
DOrlandoLedbetter moderator

@JackClemens Carimi has been CUT twice by Chicago and Tampa Bay. There will be better options as the backup switch Center/Guard. Likely END OF THE ROAD for him. 

JackClemens
JackClemens

@Dman  Renfree inexplicably delayed signing until past the last possible moment. No fire there, I'm afraid. Davis is nothing special, but then we haven't had a competent backup in years. Redman was the closest thing and he was so highly regarded he was selling insurance before Pigtrino signed him.

JSSN
JSSN

@Falcons63 @DOrlandoLedbetter @JackClemens  

Clabo was not a first round pick! He was always considered a "developmental prospect!" He bounced around his first three seasons for that reason! 

Gabe has bounced around because he's regressed, not progressed! He was Jeremy Trueblood bad in Chicago! It is not personal with Lovie Smith. Lovie needed to hit the ground running with Tedford (his OC/Aaron Rodgers old HC at Cal). Anyone whose watched Tampa knows that O-line is what hindered so much of what could have accomplished. Carimi is a resurrection project for a team that should know better! Jerry Angelo is still having nightmares!

Falcons63
Falcons63

@DOrlandoLedbetter @JackClemens  Falcon fan favorite Tyson Clabo played for the Broncos, Giants, Chargers and Broncos again before finally landing with the Falcons.  Not predicting success for Carami, but olineman sometimes develop slowly.  Don't be so quick to give up on olineman.. especially former 1st rd picks.