Falcons rookie Jalen Mayfield getting action at right tackle

Credit: Curtis Compton / Curtis.Compton@

Credit: Curtis Compton / Curtis.Compton@

With offensive tackles Kaleb McGary and Matt Gono on the physically-unable-to-perform list, rookie Jalen Mayfield is getting a lot of action with the first team at right tackle.

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McGary started at right tackle and Gono, who’s in a neck brace, was the backup swing tackle last season. Mayfield, who played at Michigan, was selected in the third round of the 2021 NFL draft.

Mayfield spent most of the offseason at left guard.

“You’ve got to have real competition. With some of the injuries or protocols we are having to move guys around,” Falcons coach Arthur Smith said Friday. “I always look at it like we’re in the solution business. We have to find solutions to those problems.”

McGary will return soon from his undisclosed injury soon. Gono will miss all of training camp.

“You’d love to have everybody healthy, it’s just not going to happen,” Smith said. “That’s not the reality in the NFL. So you have to attack. You can’t spend a lot of energy (thinking) what if this guy was here? He’s not. That’s where a guy like Jalen (comes in).

Smith said it’s too early to tell if Mayfield is better inside at guard or outside at right tackle.

“We know what he played in college and how we evaluated him,” Smith said. “We think he has the skill set that gives him a chance inside as well. It just depends on the health of our team.

“Is he going to earn that spot out there at right tackle? If he’s not, we’ve got to make the right decision. If he’s not going to play right tackle, he has to be able to play inside or play multiple spots.”

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