FLOWERY BRANCH — Falcons general manager Thomas Dimitroff has stated his pleasure with the state of the team’s current roster.
“I think we are at a spot right now that, quite honestly, is the most talented overall,” Dimitroff said while appearing on The MMQB Podcast with Albert Breer in May. “… As a whole group, I’m wildly excited about where we are. It’s just a well-rounded group.”
With only two starters to replace on offense and a young and developing defense, Dimitroff has good reason to praise the assemblage of talent.
However, there are some issues.
Derrick Coleman appears slated to replace Pat DiMarco at fullback at that may be an upgrade.
Ben Garland and Wes Schweitzer will battle to start at right guard. While Chris Chester was considered the weakest link on the line, there’s not guarantee that Schweitzer or Garland will be an upgrade. Neither has started an NFL game at the key spot.
We have Schweitzer and Garland bracketed in the top spot for now.
Also, offensive line coach Chris Morgan must find a swing-tackle to backup Jake Matthews and Ryan Schraeder, who both started all 19 games last season. Tom Compton, who played 10 snaps for Schraeder in the Super Bowl, was not re-signed.
If Schweitzer or Garland can’t cut it and the Falcons don’t like the backup tackles, Dimitroff could find himself in the market rifling through the veteran scrap heap after teams cut-down to 53 players.
Defensively, the big issues revolve around first-round pick Takkarist McKinley and his recovery from shoulder shoulder surgery along with the recovery from biceps surgery of defensive end Adrian Clayborn. Any setbacks will hurt the plan to improve the pass rush.
Along the linebacking corps, with DeVondre Campbell’s move over the strongside linebacker there is a opening at weakside linebacker. The Falcons took a long look at Kemal Ishmael. They also have Duke Riley and Jermaine Grace at that spot. That will be a fierce competition in training camp.
The secondary is set and the Falcons are deep at cornerback. About the only key spot is who’s going to back up Ricardo Allen at free safety. Sharrod Neasman appears to be the leading candidate.
Nickel back Brian Poole played 835 snaps last season (75.2 percent) and has to be considered a starter.
On special teams, Andre Roberts, who suffered a back injury during minicamp, and Justin Hardy will be battle for the top return job. Roberts appears to be a lock for the punt returner job, but the Falcons will decide later on the kickoff returner.
Here’s a look at the post-offseason DEPTH CHART:
WR 11 Julio Jones, 14 Justin Hardy, 19 Andre Roberts, 1 Reggie Davis, 17 Marvin Hall
LT 70 Jake Matthews, 66 Kevin Graf, 79 Will Freeman
LG 67 Andy Levitre, 64 Sean Harlow, 72 Cornelius Edison, 69 Marquis Lucas
C 51 Alex Mack, 63 Ben Garland, 61 Travis Averill, 62 Cam Keizur
RG [71 Wes Schweitzer, 63 Ben Garland], 68 Trevor Robinson
RT 73 Ryan Schraeder, 76 Daniel Brunskill, 75 Andreas Knappe
TE 81 Austin Hooper, 80 Levine Toilolo, 82 Joshua Perkins, 86 D.J. Tialavea, 85 Eric Saubert, 49 Darion Griswold
WR 12 Mohamed Sanu, 18 Taylor Gabriel, 13 Devin Fuller, 15 Nick Williams, 16 Anthony Dable, 87 Deante Burton, 7 Josh Magee
QB 2 Matt Ryan, 8 Matt Schaub, 4 Matt Simms, 4 Alek Torgersen
RB 24 Devonta Freeman, 26 Tevin Coleman, 28 Terron Ward, 38 Brian Hill, 35 B.J. Daniels
FB 40 Derrick Coleman, 39 Tyler Renew
DE 99 Adrian Clayborn, 98 Takkarist McKinley, 96 Martin Ifedi
DT 92 Dontari Poe, 77 Ra’Shede Hageman, 92 Joe Vellano
DT 97 Grady Jarrett, 91 Courtney Upshaw, 74 Taniela Tupou
DE 44 Vic Beasley Jr., 95 Jack Crawford, 90 Derrick Shelby, 93 Chris Odom
SLB 59 DeVondre Campbell, 44 Vic Beasley Jr., 50 Brooks Reed, Jack Lynn
LB 45 Deion Jones, 53 LaRoy Reynolds, 52 Josh Keyes
WLB 36 Kemal Ishmael, 42 Duke Riley, 56 Jermaine Grace, 55 J’Terius Jones
CB 23 Robert Alford, 29 C.J. Goodwin, 25 Akeem King, 39 Janor Jones, 38 Taylor Reynolds
NB 34 Brian Poole, 33 Blidi-Wreh-Wilson, 27 Damontae Kazee
CB 21 Desmond Trufant, 32 Jalen Collins, 30 Deji Olatoye, 41 Quincy Mauger
S 37 Ricardo Allen, 20 Sharrod Neasman, 35 Marcelis Branch
S 22 Keanu Neal, 36 Kemal Ishmael, 48 Jordan Moore, 49 Deron Washington
K 3 Matt Bryant, 6 Mike Meyer
KO 5 Matt Bosher
P 5 Matt Bosher
KR 19 Andre Roberts, 14 Justin Hardy, 13 Devin Fuller, 38 Brian Hill
PR 19 Andre Roberts, 14 Justin Hardy, 13 Devin Fuller, 18 Taylor Gabriel
LS 47 Josh Harris
H 5 Matt Bosher
THE FALCONS 2017 DRAFT