With football season inching closer, Atlanta Falcons fans are gearing up for the preseason opener against the Detroit Lions.
Though preseason games obviously don't carry the satisfaction of regular season football, Friday evening's game will offer enough to scratch the itch -- especially since, per Lions head coach Dan Campbell and Falcons head coach Arthur Smith, starters are expected to play for a brief amount of time.
Here's three things to look out for as we inch closer to the NFL season ...
How will rookie quarterback Desmond Ridder fare against NFL defenses?
Possibly the most important story of the preseason surrounds the team's third-round draft pick from the 2022 NFL Draft. Ridder showed off skill in college as an athletic pocket passer who could mentally break down defenses.
However, his unimpressive arm strength and overall physical limitations left significant questions on how he would be able to handle the faster play speed of NFL defenses.
Given that the current starting quarterback is veteran Marcus Mariota, Ridder should get a chance to play for most of the game.
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How will rookie wide receiver Drake London look against an NFL-level secondary?
The No. 8 overall draft pick in the 2022 draft is currently listed as the No. 5 wide receiver on the depth chart. Something about that doesn't feel quite right.
This may mean that London gets a lot more snaps than the rest of the presumed starters, allowing him to show off his size, speed, and separation ability at an NFL level.
How will rookie running back Tyler Allgeier fit into the running offense?
Earlier in camps, there were reports that the fifth-rounder out of BYU was presumably the starting running back in an otherwise thin room.
However, Allgeier, like London, is listed far lower than expected on the depth chart, currently buried at No. 8.
It's worth seeing if this means he will see the lion's share of snaps as a "backup" against Detroit. It's also worth seeing how the team approaches the design of the running game in these snaps, as this will likely mirror the running scheme the team employs during the fall.