Jalen Mayfield was the biggest disappointment of the 2021 Atlanta Falcons draft class. The guard was consistently in the starting lineup and continually failed to offer any consistent pass protection allowing Matt Ryan to take an unfair amount of punishment.
While patience will likely be the route Atlanta opts to take with the young guard it is the wrong move for a franchise that must protect an aging quarterback.
Matt Ryan’s age hasn’t shown as of yet in his game or ability to stay on the field. He has remained an iron man taking punishment no other veteran in the league endured and suiting up game after game.
Allowing Jalen Mayfield to line up in front of Matt Ryan next season is the wrong move for the Atlanta Falcons
Jalen Mayfield is headed into his second year, after a rough rookie season, it seems likely Atlanta could opt to take a patient approach. Not giving up on one of their draft picks attempting to develop Mayfield and hope he can take a step forward.
This is all well and good if Atlanta opts to find a starter to sit ahead of Mayfield and use Jalen as a depth option. However, starting him yet again would be a huge mistake for a team that has an aging quarterback who has a long history of hits absorbed.
No matter how tough Matt Ryan is if they continue to line players up like Jalen Mayfield in front of him Ryan isn’t going to be able to hold up. The patient approach with Jalen Mayfield only works if you are a rebuilding team with a quarterback who has a chance to get outside of the pocket.
While Ryan will use his legs to the best of his ability he isn’t a scrambler and isn’t going to be nearly as effective if forced out of the pocket. Even if Jalen does show progression how big of a jump can the Falcons reasonably expect?
The guard was in the bottom of the league at his position and often was guiding a defensive lineman in Matt Ryan’s direction. Progression for Jalen isn’t going to come fast enough to protect Ryan.
Benching or moving on from Mayfield are Atlanta’s only moves if they want their offensive line to take a step forward next season. Any other decision would be a mistake, one that could cause an injury to the one player that gives Atlanta a chance in the NFC South next season.