We are finally in the dog days of summer which means there aren’t many transactions happening around the league.
ALL the latest Falcons news straight to your inbox! Join the Heavy on Falcons newsletter here!
Pinion Was the Only Punter Drafted in 2015
Pinion, 28, was originally selected by the San Francisco 49ers in the fifth round (No. 165 overall) of the 2015 NFL Draft. The Clemson Tiger product was the only punter to come out of that draft class.
As a rookie with the Niners, Pinion put up 91 punts for 3,969 net yards, averaging 43.62 yards per kick. His success continued during his second year in the league when he finished the season with 100 punts for 4,402 total yards. His 100 punts led the NFL that year.
Pinion struggled in his third year, posting career-low numbers of 75 punts for 3,255 total yards in 2017. His numbers continued to dip in 2018, despite earning Special Teams Player of the week in Week 9 where he posted a 64-yard punt.
In 2019, Pinion began a new journey after inking a four-year deal with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Once again, his numbers continued to plummet as he finished the year with a career-low 57 punts for 2,464 total yards.
The same thing happened in 2020. However, the upside was that the Bucs made it to the Super Bowl and won, which Pinion played a role in, punting four times for 150 total yards during the 31-9 victory.
At the end of July, Pinion will enter a training camp battle with Dom Maggio and undrafted free agent Seth Vernon on the roster.
Falcons 53-Man Roster Projection
The full pads will come on once the players report to training camp next month. For the rookies, that date is Thursday, July 21 and for the veterans, it’s Sunday, July 26.
While the competition battles have already begun through optional OTAs and mandatory minicamp, things will certainly heat up.
Until then, ESPN’s Michael Rothstein has projected what the Falcons’ 53-man roster might look like when they approach Week 1 of the 2022 season.
QB: Marcus Mariota, Desmond Ridder, Feleipe Franks
RB: Cordarrelle Patterson, Tyler Allgeier, Qadree Ollison, Avery Williams
FB: Keith Smith
WR: Drake London, Bryan Edwards, Olamide Zaccheaus, Damiere Byrd, Auden Tate
TE: Kyle Pitts, Anthony Firkser, John Raine, John FitzPatrick
OL: Jake Matthews, Jalen Mayfield, Matt Hennessy, Chris Lindstrom, Kaleb McGary, Drew Dalman, Elijah Wilkinson, Germain Ifedi, Justin Shaffer
Rothstein notes that the offensive line is one of the biggest question marks here with the starting center position up in the air and that we could see the Falcons pick someone up in free agency.
DL: Grady Jarrett, Ta’Quon Graham, Marlon Davidson, Anthony Rush, Vincent TaylorOLB: Steven Means, Brandon Copeland or Jacob Tuioti-Mariner
Edge: Lorenzo Carter, Adetokunbo Ogundeji, Arnold Ebiketie, DeAngelo Malone
LB: Rashaan Evans, Mykal Walker, Nick Kwiatkoski, Troy Andersen, Deion Jones
CB: A.J. Terrell, Casey Hayward Jr., Isaiah Oliver, Darren Hall, Mike Ford, Dee Alford
Safety: Jaylinn Hawkins, Richie Grant, Dean Marlowe, Erik Harris
K: Younghoe Koo
P: Seth Vernon
LS: Liam McCullough
It’s notable to add that Rostein made his first roster projection before the Falcons signed Pinion, but the veteran should have an edge to make it through final cuts with seven years of experience in the league.