The Atlanta Falcons have been praised for having a great draft in 2022, however, you cannot put any stock into that as we have yet to see any of them take the field. It usually takes a few years before you can start looking back at the overall impact a draft class has had.
The Falcons were able to address a lot of positions that were in vital need of talent, but which of these players will start for the team during their first season in the NFL?
Which 2022 draft picks for the Falcons will start in week one?
Starting off the draft, the Atlanta Falcons were able to snag their top player, that being Drake London, a talented wide receiver out of USC.
With the way the Falcons wide receiving core is set up, you can certainly expect that London will have the greatest chance to start on day one among all the rookies, which is usually the expectation for first-round picks. He should be listed as the top receiver on the depth chart.
From here on it gets much murkier in trying to figure out who will start. The Falcons traded up early in the second round to grab a pass rusher in Arnold Ebikiete.
Obviously, the Falcons’ pass rush is awful but it is likely that Ebikiete will initially come off the bench with Lorenzo Carter and Ade Ogundeji being listed above him. He should be the first guy off the bench though.
Troy Anderson was the second pick by the Falcons in the second round. He is a ridiculous athlete but from game one he will likely be sitting behind Deion Jones, who is hoping for a bounce-back year, and Mykal Walker who has more experience.
Here is where it gets very interesting, will Desmond Ridder be able to beat out Marcus Mariota as Atlanta’s opening day quarterback? The answer right now is leaning towards no. Mariota has experience with Arthur Smith’s offense which should give him a huge advantage.
If Arnold Ebikiete is not starting at edge rusher, then DeAngelo Malone will probably not either, assuming he does not destroy the competition during the preseason.
Tyler Allgeier will be the primary bruiser in the backfield but Cordarrelle Patterson will be the primary starter at running back.
Finally, the last two players—Justin Shaffer and John FitzPatrick—will probably not start, however, out of the two of them, Shaffer has the better chance to be a starter but it will take a lot of work by him. FitzPatrick will serve as a blocking tight end behind Kyle Pitts and others
So, in this prediction, the Falcons only have one rookie starting from game one, but they have a ton more depth than they did a month ago. Most of the rookies will have a significant role off the bench.