New Atlanta Falcons DL David Onyemata sacking Matt Ryan Chuck Cook-USA TODAY Sports
Atlanta Falcons News Projects 10-New Starters for Atlanta Falcons

The Atlanta Falcons were incredibly busy during free agency and the NFL Draft, and it should show on the field.’s Gregg Rosenthal projects 10-new starters for the Falcons on offense and defense.

QBDesmond RidderDECalais Campbell*
RBBijan Robinson*DTGrady Jarrett
WRDrake LondonDTDavid Onyemata*
WRMack Hollins*EdgeLorenzo Carter
TEKyle PittsMLBTroy Andersen
TEJonnu Smith*WLBKaden Elliss*
LTJake MatthewsCBA.J. Terrell
LGMatthew Bergeron*CBMike Hughes*
CDrew DalmanCBJeff Okudah*
RGChris LindstromSJessie Bates*
RTKaleb McGarySRichie Grant
*New Starter

Rosenthal took some liberties with his starting lineup including a base-nickel package for the defense that put Okudah and Hughes on the field at the same time instead of a third linebacker like Mykal Walker.

With a four-man secondary, Rosenthal isn’t sure Okudah beats out Hughes for a starting spot.

Don’t assume Jeff Okudah will start. I have him penciled in, but there is a reason it only cost Atlanta a fifth-round pick to acquire the former first-round pick from Detroit. Veteran Mike Hughes has been better overall as a pro, and rookie Clark Phillips III could make sense as a nickel back.

Gregg Rosenthal,

He also starts the Falcons in a two-tight end set. The Falcons will see plenty of 12 personnel next season on offense, but conspicuous by his absence is playmaker Cordarrelle Patterson. Rosenthal mentions Robinson and Allgeier at running back, but laments the depth at wide receiver without bringing up Patterson in either position.

Assuming Mack Hollins is this team’s WR2, the next best options at wideout are KhaDarel Hodge and … Scotty Miller? The roster-building for this season remains unfinished.

Gregg Rosenthal,

Rosenthal is right to wonder about the depth at wide receiver for the Falcons, but a four-wide receiver set could include Pitts, Patterson, and London with Robinson in the slot and Allgeier at running back.

Those are five-dynamic weapons for the Falcons with serious run-after-the-catch possibilities.

He hasn’t quite given up his fixation with Ridder in a negative way. Baffled by the Falcons’ unwillingness to chase an unattainable target (Lamar Jackson), Rosenthal is still pining for a quarterback change in Atlanta.

Desmond Ridder doesn’t face true competition with Taylor Heinicke as his backup. But I still believe it’s possible coach Arthur Smith could bring in former pupil Ryan Tannehill in a trade with Tennessee, depending on how August goes for the Falcons and Titans.

Gregg Rosenthal,

The Falcons trading for Ryan Tannehill might be as unpopular as the Hawks trading Dominique Wilkins. There seems to be zero interest in Atlanta for making a move like that.

The Falcons have poured a lot of their draft picks into the offensive side of the ball, so it’s not surprising to see the only new-rookie starters on offense. They put most of their free-agent money into the defensive side of the ball with veterans.

Much to the dismay of the national media, Desmond Ridder will be the starter again after a 2-2 finish to 2022. However there’s no doubt the Atlanta Falcons are going to look very different in 2023 no matter how they line up.

Scott Kennedy
Scott Kennedy is an Atlanta native and 20 year media veteran including time as Director of Scouting at, Managing Editor at 247Sports, VP Content Operations at Sports Illustrated and more. Scott has appeared as a recruiting and NFL Draft analyst on dozens of media including ESPN, NFL Network, USA Today, NY Times, and more.

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