Wilkinson was not ruled out due to an injury, but rather will miss Week 3 because of a personal matter, according to ESPN’s Michael Rothstein.
With Wilkinson ruled out Colby Gossett or Chuma Edoga will step in for Wilkinson at left-guard.
Gossett took most of the snaps at left guard during the open portion of practice on Friday, according to multiple reports.
Falcons Brought Gossett “Home” Last Fall
The Falcons signed Gossett, a Cumming, Georgia native, home last fall after the North Forsyth alum was waived by the Cleveland Browns.
Gossett started in five games (four starts) at left guard for the Cardinals in 2018.
He then spent the 2019 season on the Browns practice squad before exercising his option to opt-out of the 2020 season due COVID-19.
He initially entered the league as a sixth-round draft pick by the Vikings in 2018 and became the first player in Forsyth County football history to be selected in the NFL draft.
Gossett showed off his versatility in high school, playing on both North’s offensive line and defensive line before committing to App State in 2013. He was a two-time All-Sun Belt Conference as a Mountaineer and started 46 straight games.
So far with the Falcons, Gossett has played in 15 games with just one start.
Falcons Favored Wilkinson Over Jalen Mayfield
Wilkinson is new to Atlanta this offseason after signing a one-year deal with the team back in March. He joined the team following one season with the Chicago Bears. Prior to that, he had spent a few years with the Denver Broncos after going undrafted in 2017.
While he has spent five seasons in the league, he comes with little experience and has only started in a total of 27 games, mainly for Denver where he played both right tackle and right guard. So, when the Falcons signed him, many thought head coach Arthur Smith’s intention was to have him put pressure on Kaleb McGary for a spot.
But, that ended up not being the case as Wilkinson nestled right into the left guard job with Jalen Mayfield as his only real competition.
Mayfield, a 2021 third-round pick for Atlanta, struggled his rookie year after being thrown into a messy offensive line following an injured Matt Gono and Josh Andrews.
With Mayfield still taking time to adjust to NFL and now on injured reserve, Smith and company have favored the way Wilkinson has been playing at left guard.
“I won’t go into specifics, but a lot of times certain things he’s doing are the way it needs to be done,” Smith said last month, via AtlantaFalcons.com. “I think that’s a good thing for Jalen, so he can step up and make it a competition and we’ll see where it goes. We’re not down on Jalen. It’s more about what Elijah is doing right.”
Mayfield landed on IR with a back injury ahead of the Falcons’ Week 1 win over the Saints. He is eligible to return in Week 4 when Atlanta faces the Cleveland Browns.