Atlanta Falcons: Seven Final Preseason Position Battles

Atlanta Falcons Ito Smith (Photo by Sam Greenwood/Getty Images)
Atlanta Falcons Ito Smith (Photo by Sam Greenwood/Getty Images) /
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Atlanta Falcons
Atlanta Falcons Ito Smith (Photo by Sam Greenwood/Getty Images) /

Most of the Atlanta Falcons roster is set, but all is not decided. Here are seven positions battles to watch for, as the Atlanta Falcons play the Miami Dolphins, tonight at Mercedes Benz Stadium.

Running Back

The Atlanta Falcons have had one on the best running back tandems in the NFL, over the last three seasons. Devante Freeman and Tevin Coleman are a phenomenal duo, and sit firmly entrenched at the top of the Dirty Bird’s depth chart. The concerning thing for Atlanta is Tevin Coleman is a free agent after the upcoming season, making the third running back a potential long-term replacement for him.

Ito Smith is a candidate, and the favorite to win the third running back spot on the Atlanta Falcons depth chart. Ito Smith is a 5’9 195 pound tailback out of Southern Mississippi. He was drafted in the fourth round of the 2018 draft, and is known for his elusiveness. Ito rushed for over 1400 yards, each of the last two seasons, scoring 17 and 13 touchdowns.

Smith hasn’t shown well adjusting to the speed of the NFL thus far. He has rushed for just 42 yards on 17 carries. That’s a paltry 2.5 yards per carry. Tonight is the opportunity for Smith to redeem himself, and solidify his roster spot. Our Kit Anderson wondered if the Atlanta Falcons struggles, are a cause for concern in this article.

Malik Williams, a 6’3 221 pound running back out of Louisville, is the top challenger for the final running back spot. He only rushed for 531 yards and four touchdowns, in a shared backfield, but he averaged a robust 7.9 yards per carry. Unlike the Atlanta Falcons other running backs, Williams has a brushing power running style.

Malik Williams has run the ball 11 times for 35 yards this preseason. He is averaging 3.2 yards per carry. Could a strong showing by Williams convince the Atlanta Falcons to keep four running backs?

Could tonight persuade the Falcons front office to cut a running back drafted in the middle rounds, for the second consecutive year? Certainly an interesting story line to watch for tonight. Other candidates expected to be considered, are Justin Crawford from West Virginia, and Terrence McGhee from LSU.