ATLANTA — The three-day weekend that is the NFL Draft provided the Atlanta Falcons and their fans eight new players and a slew of potential new starts to follow as the team looks to fill a variety of holes on the roster.
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Saturday afternoon, the Falcons grabbed BYU running back Tyler Allgeier and a pair of Georgia Bulldogs. In the sixth round, it was 334-pound offensive guard Justin Shaffer who played his high school ball at Cedar Grove. With their last pick, in the seventh round, they took tight end John FitzPatrick, who played his high school ball at Marist.
All three players will have a chance to stick with the team as the Falcons look to rebuild a roster that went 7-10 in 2021.
Allgeier joins a group of running backs that includes: Mike Davis, Cordarrelle Patterson, Qadree Ollison and Keith Smith from last years team, along with new additions Damien Williams and Caleb Huntley.
Shaffer will be competing with five others for one starting guard job on the offensive line. Chris Lindstrom, who graded out as one of the best linemen in the NFL, will man the left guard slot. FitzPatrick, an imposing 6 foot, 7 inch tight end will be competing with six others for a job backing up star TE Kyle Pitts.
The Falcons had a busy weekend, starting Thursday night when they grabbed former USC wide receiver Drake London with their first round draft pick. London is expected to make an immediate impact to the receiver group, which without the suspended Calvin Ridley, lacks any big name or highly regarding players.
Getting pass rushers Arnold Ebiketie and DeAngelo Malone in the second and third round respectively should improve the team’s woeful pass rush while inside linebacker Troy Andersen will shore up the inside.
Grabbing quarterback Desmond Ridder in the third round was considered a steal by most draft experts. Ridder played all four seasons at the University of Cincinnati and is considered very similar to free agent quarterback, Marcus Mariota whom the Falcons signed this offseason.
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The Falcons will hold off-season workouts at the end of May and the first two weekends in June. The team will hold an official “mini-camp” beginning on June 14.
Training camp is expected to start in late July and the regular season is expected to start the second weekend of September. The NFL has not released the opening weekend matchups at this time.
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