Atlanta Falcons are clearly moving on from Jalen Mayfield
By Nick Halden
The Atlanta Falcons haven’t wasted any time during camp addressing the issue at left tackle shifting Jalen Mayfield to the second team. Mayfield is coming off of a terrible season for the Falcons one that would have gotten many guards benched during the season.
Far too often watching Mayfield last season the guard was beaten the instant the ball was snapped. To put it simply he has consistently looked overmatched at this level and Atlanta had to find an answer at the position if they hoped to keep Marcus Mariota healthy.
Elijah Wilkinson has taken over reps on the first team at the left guard position. It wouldn’t be at all surprising to see Wilkinson or rookie Justin Shaffer start the season and Jalen Mayfield start the year on the bench.
Cutting Jalen is unlikely to happen considering he is only in the second year of his rookie contract and was one of this regime’s first draft picks. Atlanta will likely continue a patient approach attempting to develop Jalen as a reserve giving Atlanta a much better chance of keeping Mariota healthy.
Mayfield was first in sacks allowed with 11-sacks credited to the left guard last season. This number doesn’t completely do justice either when you watch last season and realize how often Mayfield’s poor blocking messed up the lineman around him leading to a negative play.
Jalen finished top-ten in penalties as well with 9 on the season. There is the chance the second-year player takes a step in the right direction but going forward Atlanta cannot afford to put him in the starting lineup until he has proven he isn’t the player he was during his rookie season.
If Mayfield wants a starting role this season he is going to have to go out and win it. Otherwise, the team has to give their other options a chance simply put they cannot be any worse.