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Falcons Release First Depth Chart; Surprises?

The Atlanta Falcons released their first depth chart of the season. There are some obvious selections and a few surprises.

The Atlanta Falcons roster has seen a lot of changes, some before camp opened and some even as camp is underway. There are dozens of new faces among the free agents and drafted players. Some familiar faces have been missing through injury or NFL protocol.

But through it all, we now have a depth chart.

Most of the players one might expect to make up the first team offense are in place. Matt Ryan is at quarterback, new running back Mike Davis is at the top, and last season's leading receivers are all first-team.

Cordarrelle Patterson, one of the surprises of camp, is listed second-team at running back behind Davis. Patterson has been a receiver his entire career as well as an All-Pro kick returner, but he's been doing his best Derrick Henry impersonation at Flowery Branch. At 6-2 and 240 pounds with wide receiver hands, he's a wild-card that will be interesting to watch on Friday.

READ MORE: Falcons have 2 X-Factors on Offense

Arguably the only surprise is seeing Willie Beavers listed as first-team right guard. Incumbent starter Kaleb McGary just returned from the PUP list, so that he wasn't tops right away isn't a surprise.

But rookie Jalen Mayfield has been getting a lot of work with the ones during training camp and preseason practice, and he's been relegated all the way back to third-team behind Beavers and McGary.

McGary is still the presumed starter when the season gets started on September 12, but coach Arthur Smith said not to expect him to play Friday night against the Titans. Mayfield should still get plenty of valuable experience during the preseason while McGary works his way back to full fitness.

READ MORE: Jalen Mayfield gets 1st Team Chance

Kyle Pitts is listed as the second string tight-end behind Hayden Hurst. The offense largely includes two tight ends, however. One of the positions is reserved for a pass-catcher, the other for a blocker. Lee Smith is listed as the second starter. But if training camp is any indication, Pitts will get starters snaps, regardless what the depth chart says.

The defense has a lot of new faces. Gone are starting safeties Keanu Neal and Ricardo Allen to the Cowboys and Bengals, respectively. Duron Harmon and Erik Harris were signed as free agents to fill those roles, and they're listed with the first team.

A.J. Terrell predictably mans one of the corner spots with Fabian Moreau beating out Isaiah Oliver for the other cornerback slot.

READ MORE: Russell Gage warns NFL of A.J. Terrell

Rookie safety Richie Grant is listed third-team behind Harris and T.J. Green. Grant has had an excellent preseason and the second-round pick should see a lot of action on Friday.

In an interesting camp battle, second-year corner Chris Williamson is listed behind Terrell but ahead of Kendall Sheffield. Williamson has been a standout at Falcons practice and his good work hasn't gone unnoticed.

Deion Jones and Foye Oluokun, last season's leading tacklers, are listed as starters at linebacker, flanked by Jacob Tuioti-Mariner and Steven Means at outside linebacker.

Dante Fowler, fresh off the COVID-19 list is listed as second-team behind Means.

Atlanta Falcons 1st Team Offense

WR Calvin Ridley
TE Hayden Hurst
LT Jake Matthews
LG Josh Andrews
C Matt Hennessy
RG Chris Lindstrom
RT Willie Beavers
TE Lee Smith
WR Russell Gage
RB Mike Davis
QB Matt Ryan

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Atlanta Falcons 1st Team Defense

DL Grady Jarrett
DL Tyeler Davison
DL Jonathan Bullard
OLB Jacob Tuioti-Mariner
LB Deion Jones
LB Foye Oluokun
OLB Steven Means
CB A.J. Terrell
S Erik Harris
S Duron Harmon
CB Fabian Moreau