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Tyler Allgeier Falcons

Could Falcons’ Tyler Allgeier End Up Being Most Impactful Rookie RB?

  • Justin Melo
  • July 25, 2022
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Atlanta Falcons rookie running back Tyler Allgeier isn’t receiving enough attention. According to a recent report from The Athletic, Allgeier has an excellent opportunity to serve as Atlanta’s starting running back throughout the 2022 campaign. Unlike most rookie running backs, Allgeier landed in an ideal situation from a lack-of-competition standpoint. Depending on how the chips may fall, Allgeier could become the most productive first-year ball-carrier across the entire league.

Many of the higher drafted backs are facing stiffer competition by comparison. Kenneth Walker III has Chris Carson and Rashaad Penny in Seattle. Breece Hall has Michael Carter in New York. James Cook has Devin Singletary in Buffalo. Rachaad White has Leonard Fournette in Tampa Bay. In Atlanta, it shouldn’t take Allgeier much for him to leap past veteran journeyman Damien Williams on the Falcons’ depth chart. This perhaps clears a pathway for Allgeier to be immediately productive. Opportunity is half the battle and among running backs, where touches mean everything, it’s sometimes all of the battle.

Williams also joined the Falcons earlier this offseason to help complete a totally revamped running back room (last year’s lead back was Mike Davis, who was released from his contract in May). Williams signed a one-year contract worth $1.6 million. The 30-year-old Williams spent the 2021 campaign as the third-string running back in Chicago, backing up David Montgomery and Khalil Herbert. Williams only started two games due to injury and totaled just 164 rushing yards. Allgeier is better positioned to claim Atlanta’s starting job than Williams is.

Allgeier is no stranger to heavy workloads. The Youngstown, Ohio native was a workhorse in 2021, handling 304 touches (276 rushing attempts, 28 receptions) for the BYU Cougars. Allgeier totaled career-highs in yards gained from scrimmage (1,800) and touchdowns (23). Allgeier’s advanced vision also makes him an ideal scheme fit in Smith’s zone-based rushing attack. He’ll be able to handle whatever Atlanta throws his way.

Falcons Head Coach Arthur Smith is hoping to oversee a more successful running game in 2022. Last year’s Falcons fielded the league’s 31st-ranked rushing attack, averaging just 85.4 rushing yards per contest. Only the Houston Texans (83.6/game) were worse. This was unacceptable to a coach like Smith, who previously coached Derrick Henry during his 2,000-yard season in Tennessee. Allgeier’s physical and aggressive running style will be appreciated by Smith, who understands how an efficient rushing offense can help open up the rest of his playbook. Allgeier is potentially a big part of the solution.

The Falcons will attempt to lean on their running game in hopes of removing the pressure off the passing game’s shoulders. Marcus Mariota is expected to begin the season as Atlanta’s starting quarterback. Rookie Desmond Ridder may eventually push Mariota for the job. Neither passer should be tasked with throwing the football 35-plus times on a weekly occasion. A productive Allgeier could help pave the way for a balanced, efficient offense.

It will be interesting to monitor how the returning Cordarrelle Patterson impacts Allgeier’s touches. Patterson led the Falcons in rushing attempts (153) and rushing yards (618) last season. He was rewarded with a new two-year, $10.5 million contract for his efforts. Patterson finally enjoyed a breakout campaign under coach Smith, but the Falcons would be wise to limit Patterson’s workload going forward. Patterson had a career-high 205 touches last season, and he averaged just 31 yards from scrimmage throughout the final five games. Patterson is a do-it-all weapon, and allowing Allgeier to handle a traditional backfield role (he’s a throwback bruiser, after all) would free up Patterson to stay fresh while excelling elsewhere.

There are several rookie running backs who carry the potential to make sizable impacts in year one. Many of them were drafted earlier than Allgeier and are more talented overall players than the former BYU product. Few of them have landed in the environment Allgeier has, which promotes immediate impact and opportunity.

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Justin Melo