Broadcast The Lastest News

The Falcons seem likely to go into the regular season with Marcus Mariota as their starting quarterback over third-round pick Desmond Ridder.

But there’s still a lot to be determined about who will line up in front of whoever’s calling the signals.

Two positions along Atlanta’s offensive line appear to be set: left tackle Jake Matthews and right guard Chris Lindstrom. But other than that, there are questions at left guard, center, and right tackle.

Head coach Arthur Smith sees the offensive line as “a developmental position, and you find guys any way you can.” That means he doesn’t see it as a group where the Falcons can use high picks to draft their way into success up front.

“If you look at people that have had a sustained run of success … it certainly helps them … if you feel great and you take a guy in [the] first round. But it’s not like you need five first-rounders to be a good offensive line,” Smith said, via D. Orlando Ledbetter of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “You need the right guys in there with the chemistry who can play. Versatility is key. It’s a long season. It’s 17 games. You’ve got eight guys up on game day. Guys [must] be able to play multiple spots.”

The team is likely to have Jalen Mayfield, a third-round pick from 2021, at left guard — though he didn’t excel as a rookie. Right tackle Kaleb McGary also struggled through 2021 and had his fifth-year option declined this spring. Matt Hennessy and Drew Dalman are set to compete at center.

But the Falcons also signed German Ifedi and Elijah Wilkinson to push the players already on the team. And Atlanta drafted guard Justin Shaffer in the sixth round, so he has an outside shot at becoming an instant starter.