NFL.com sees Falcons 6th round pick pushing for starting job
The consensus around the Atlanta Falcons draft is that they nailed it, as they were able to get a potential superstar at the wide receiver position, addressed the pass rush, grabbed a potential franchise quarterback, and even selected a potential starting guard according to NFL.com.
Chad Reuter put together a list of 12 potential third-round picks who could push for a starting job for their team and his list included one of Atlanta’s sixth-round picks.
NFL.com sees Falcons rookie, Justin Shaffer, as a potential starter on the line
The Atlanta Falcons used one of their sixth-round picks on Georgia’s Justin Shaffer, a big offensive guard who will push guys around.
With Atlanta’s struggles at the left guard position last year, you can certainly see why Chad Reuter ranked Justin Shaffer ninth on his list. If Jalen Mayfield does not step up, it could open the door for the rookie.
Here is what he said about Justin Shaffer potentially starting:
"The Falcons’ 2021 third-round pick, Jalen Mayfield, struggled transitioning from his college position, right tackle, to guard as a rookie. If Mayfield can’t get the job done early in 2022, or if he falls to injury, Shaffer’s ability to bully defenders off the ball could earn him a starting role during his first year with the Falcons."
To say Jalen Mayfield just struggled is an understatement, he was a constant liability and easily one of the worst guards in the league last season. However, it was his rookie year and he was playing a different position than he did at Michigan his last year, so perhaps a year of development will do wonders for him.
With that being said, we all will have to see him play better to believe it and if he does not, then watch out for the late-round selection to take his job.
Shaffer and Mayfield have similar styles of play as they are powerful guys that can struggle to block quick defenders. If the coaching staff sees Shaffer as the better option, they will have to issue putting him as the starter to open up the season.