Atlanta Falcons Depth Chart Predictions: Running Back
Dec 21, 2014; New Orleans, LA, USA; Atlanta Falcons running back Devonta Freeman (24) carries the ball as New Orleans Saints defensive back Terrence Frederick (37) defends during the third quarter at Mercedes-Benz Superdome. Mandatory Credit: Chuck Cook-USA TODAY Sports
"With free agency almost certainly at a close, we will go through every position and predict the depth chart in this series each day. Already done: Quarterback, and today we will go over running back. Although Devonta Freeman has had an impressive rookie season, the Atlanta Falcons will surely look towards the draft to split time with Freeman in the backfield. His name is…. (next slide) A new era of running backs has started with the release of Steven Jackson early in the off-season and while it is hard to predict who will be the official starter in day one, it isn’t very tough to sketch out the basics. Jackson has been the rock and bell-cow of the team, but the team felt he wasn’t right for the new scheme. Even with the impressive Devonta Freeman waiting in line, the Atlanta Falcons will probably look towards drafting another running back to split time with Freeman. Without further ado, let’s predict the depth chart of the 2015 Atlanta Falcons. Next: First-String RB1. Jay Ajayi Dec 31, 2014; Glendale, AZ, USA; Boise State Broncos running back Jay Ajayi (27) runs for a 1 yard touchdown during the first half against the Arizona Wildcats in the 2014 Fiesta Bowl at Phoenix Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports Remember this name: Jay Ajayi. If the Atlanta Falcons are smart, they should “roll the dice” in the second round on the young workhorse in Ajayi. Here’s a few reasons why he is such a good fit. Works very well with the new zone-blocking scheme. Extremely patient and disciplined behind the line of scrimmage Doesn’t just sprint into a hole, waits patiently and hits a hole when it’s there Next: Second String RBDevonta Freeman Aug 8, 2014; Atlanta, GA, USA; Atlanta Falcons running back Devonta Freeman (33) runs for yardage as Miami Dolphins linebacker Andrew Wilson (45) pursues during their game at the Georgia Dome. The Falcons won 16-10. Mandatory Credit: Jason Getz-USA TODAY Sports Devonta Freeman was impressive in his rookie season behind a porous line, showing flashes of his up-going potential. He hit holes hard, and always seemed to have the fight to churn out a couple more yards after contact. I wouldn’t count Freeman as a back-up, in fact expect him to get his fair share of the carries with a draft pick (Ajayi?). The future is bright for Freeman. Next: Third String RBAntone Smith Sep 18, 2014; Atlanta, GA, USA; Atlanta Falcons running back Antone Smith (35) scores a touchdown past Tampa Bay Buccaneers free safety Dashon Goldson (38) in the third quarter of their game at the Georgia Dome. The Falcons won 56-14. Mandatory Credit: Jason Getz-USA TODAY Sports The home run hitter will rotate in for passing situations and provide that bang when the team needs it. Want to know how explosive he can be at times? In 2013, Smith averaged 29 yards per carry for 145 yards and 2 TD’s, and 2014 was no joke either. Last season, Smith averaged 6.3 ypc for 144 yards and 2 TD’s, and even added 222 yards (17 yards per catch) for 3 TD’s through the air. Next: Fourth String RB (?)None The Falcons will be set with three young bucks, so Jerome Smith will have not much use for the team and will be cut. With free agency almost certainly at a close, we will go through every position and predict the depth chart in this series each day. Already done: Quarterback, and today we will go over running back."