On Falcons hot seat Sunday: right tackle Jason Spriggs

Indiana offensive lineman Jason Spriggs performs the vertical jump test at the NFL football scouting combine in Friday, Feb. 26, 2016, in Indianapolis. (AP Photo/Darron Cummings)

Combined ShapeCaption
Indiana offensive lineman Jason Spriggs performs the vertical jump test at the NFL football scouting combine in Friday, Feb. 26, 2016, in Indianapolis. (AP Photo/Darron Cummings)

FLOWERY BRANCH -- Injuries have plagued Jason Spriggs’ NFL journey.

But he’s healthy now and may get his first NFL start since 2018 against the Dolphins with starting tackle Kaleb McGary on the reserve/COVID-19 list.

Spriggs and Colby Gossett competed for the start if McGary can’t pass the NFL protocols in time to face the Dolphins at 1 p.m. Sunday at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens, Fla.

“It’s been a long journey,” Spriggs said. “With everybody in the league, their journey is different. So, I’m just trying to take mine in stride and do as best as I can.”

Spriggs, who’s 6-foot-6 and 301 pounds, was drafted in the second round (48th overall) by the Green Bay Packers in 2016 out of Indiana. He has played in 49 NFL games and made nine starts. He was with the Packers from 2016-18 and spent the entire 2019 on injured reserve with back and elbow issues. He played with the Bears in 2020 and appeared in eight games, with no starts.

Spriggs has been active for all five games this season as the backup swing tackle.

“We’ve got a lot of confidence in Jason Spriggs,” Falcons coach Arthur Smith said. “He’s played a lot of big games.”

Coming out of Indiana, Spriggs was considered an athletic prospect with potential to start in the NFL. He ran the 40-yard dash in 4.94 seconds, which was tops in the linemen group. He also lifted 225 pounds 31 times.

Former Green Bay general manager Ted Thompson traded up nine spots to land Spriggs. However, he did not play well enough to establish himself as the replacement for Bryan Bulaga, and he eventually was released.

“I’d hurt my neck my last year there, early in camp, so I was done for that year,” Spriggs said. “I had a few injuries here and there. Take it with a grain of salt and kept trying to improve. I’ve tried to put my past behind me and move on.”

But the Falcons are ready to roll with Spriggs, if necessary.

“What he’s done is his history,” Smith said when asked if they were comfortable with Spriggs. “That’s why he’s here. He was evaluated in free agency. Obviously, David Ragone, Charles London were with him (in Chicago). Ted Monachino was with him. We liked what (we) saw on film. He’s played NFL games. He’s done a decent job at practice.”

Gossett, who’s 6-foot-5 and 330 pounds, was drafted in the sixth round (213th overall) by the Minnesota Vikings in 2018. He played at North Forsyth High and Appalachian State.

Gossett has played in five NFL games and made four starts with Arizona in 2018.

We’ve got confidence in him,” Smith said. “He’s gotten better every week.”

Offensive tackle Willie Beavers is on the practice squad and could be promoted Saturday.

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Atlanta Falcons Schedule

Eagles 32, Falcons 6

Buccaneers 48, Falcons 25

Falcons 17, Giants 14

Washington 34, Falcons 30

Falcons 27, Jets 20

Bye Week

Falcons at Miami Dolphins, Oct. 24 at 1 p.m.