2014 Depth Chart: Atlanta Falcons

| May 13, 2014


2014 depth update ATL

 [Chart last updated: 7/7/14]


•  Devin Hester is graded purely for any work he gets as a wide receiver. As a returner he still looks a good player, if not quite the electric one he once was.

•  Despite his abysmal year, the Falcons may well still see third-rounder Lamar Holmes ahead of Ryan Schraeder on their depth chart. They are generally loyal to high draft picks regardless of production and don’t be surprised if Holmes gets more opportunities in training camp than the 2013 free agent.

•  There are two first-rounders, two seconds a third and a fourth in that defensive line rotation but not one outside Jonathan Babineaux who you can trust to get consistent pressure. It looks like they’ll stop the run with ease but supplement the pass rush from the linebackers/edge rushers? That’s a different story.

•  Since being selected 19th overall in 2010, Sean Weatherspoon’s career has been the very definition of “mixed bag”. The poor rookie season he endured is always a risk for draftees but he then followed that with a stellar sophomore year and all looked rosy. Unfortunately, he regressed markedly in 2012 before struggling with injury last year. How do you grade that? I say he’s still a valuable player but completely understand those calling for a lesser mark.

•  I initially had Desmond Trufant down as “High Quality” but Khaled rightly talked me down. He had a fine rookie season but its right to see more of him given his grades weren’t totally off the charts before going further.


Roster Battles

1.  Left Outside Linebacker

This really isn’t an area of strength for Atlanta and thanks to Kroy Biermann’s Week 2 injury, we never really got to see if he could regain any of the promise of his early career. Jonathan Massaquoi got 540 reps although most of those (410) came with his hand down in a four-man front. Maybe the defense doesn’t turn out quite like this and they end up using more of a 4-3 strong-side linebacker type which brings Joplo Bartu into the mix. How the whole thing pans out will certainly be interesting.

2.  Left Inside Linebacker

Last year Paul Worrilow got more hype than his actual performances dictated because of his high tackle numbers and a few sacks on blitzes. The truth, however, was that he struggled in both run defense and pass coverage and only a slightly worse performance from Akeem Dent sees the UDFA as the incumbent. There was also much later round draft activity in this area, but whether they become useful additions to the defense or simply special teams fodder remains to be seen.

3.  Left Cornerback

For a rookie season, Robert Alford’s was not disastrous but he did have poor days; most notably against Washington in Week 15. It’s probable the Falcons’ front office want him to come through, but in case he doesn’t, they have insurance in the form of both UFA Josh Wilson and this year’s fifth-round draftee, Ricardo Allen. Wilson wasn’t great for the Redskins last year but that was more the exception than the rule. He’s generally been a steady starter without ever recreating his fine 2010 season with the Ravens that got him the high value Redskins deal in the first place.


Click here to see all of the depth charts we’ve covered.


Follow Neil on Twitter: @PFF_Neil

Comments (17)

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  1. David says:

    Any chance you can create a second version of these charts which perhaps uses subscripts or fill styles rather than colors for people who are color blind?

    • PFF_Neil says:

      Styles are fine but subscripts won’t work unfortunately. It won’t fit inside the work day with everything else that’s going on and the need to keep these up to date from now on. If someone can send me an excel colour/pattern scheme that works for colour blind people I’ll do a find and replace and publish them separately on each team page as a link. If you can do this contact me on this page or via Twitter at @PFF_Neil

      • David says:

        Since you are using Excel, how about using a custom ‘number’ format which includes a ‘key’ suffix? for example, you can use the custom format:
        @” – (GS)”
        Then, if the text in the field is ‘Desmond Trufant’ it will display as Desmond Trufant – (GS)

        If you have actually created excel styles for Elite, Good Starter, etc., then you can simply edit the style and select custom ‘number’ and then input appropriate text like above and you can get the text appended simply by applying the style without having to change the field contents or manually format each cell, which will fit with what I presume you are doing now.

        • PFF_Neil says:

          I tried but Excel isn’t flexible enough to let you append within find and replace unfortunately.
          I will reiterate though, if someone wants to give me a set of styles/colours that will work for colour-blind people in Excel I will make the changes and post them too.

  2. Jason Pevitt says:

    I understand its just one mark difference, but how do you have Julio Jones not marked as Elite? He was off to a great start to the year before injury

    • PFF_Neil says:

      You answered your own question really. In the balance of probability, if Julio had completed his year, he might well have been graded elite but unfortunately 298 snaps, does not a season or an “elite” make.

      • Jason Pevitt says:

        I guess I don’t understand the way you guys look at that stat. He played 298 “elite” snaps before being injured. He’s coming back fully healed so why would he not be currently considered “elite?”

  3. Hola Backgrinder says:

    I seem to recall Sean Weatherspoon being rated as one of the worst LB’s in the league against the run, surprised to see him listed as a good starter here.

  4. Torrence says:

    No love for Antone Smith :(

    • PFF_Neil says:

      Just not seen enough of him as a runner to give a valid opinion. We like to get a decent amount of data. Five carries, however good they were, doesn’t qualify.
      I will say this though – as a gunner he was great (I had him as the 6th best in the NFL).

  5. B17 says:

    I remember one of PFF rankings for CBs graded Trufant as the 7th best CB in the NFL. how is that not elite?

    • bowmanrtr says:

      The criteria they lay out for the “elite” tag is on the main page for all of the depth charts. It’s the best 50 players in the league regardless of position, his ranking compared to other cornerbacks is irrelevant. I’m as excited about Trufant as any other Falcons fan; however, he is not there, yet.

  6. jjjj says:

    so.. much… yellloooow

  7. GESBoulder says:

    Minor detail … QB Dominique Davis was waived by Atlanta

  8. DnY says:

    Dezmen SouthwARd*