During a press conference ahead of the matchup with the Buccaneers, Arthur Smith announced that Jalen Mayfield had done enough during the week of practice to justify getting the nod at left guard.

Mayfield had a historically bad performance in his first professional game ever; in fact, Pro Football Focus graded his pass blocking worse than I’ve ever seen. He is a third-round pick, so giving up on him would be hasty. Terry Fontenot drafted him to be an eventual starter, maybe not this soon, but one lousy outing shouldn’t deter their projection.

Drew Dalman was the only other viable option on the roster to start at left guard. He played sparingly in the season opener but was effective when he was in the game, outside of a false start penalty. Still, it is the right move to go with Mayfield. He had his struggles, but with Josh Andrews returning at the earliest in Week 4, they should stick with the rookie third-round pick, unless of course, the staff dips into the free-agent market and brings in a starting-caliber guard.

This article first appeared on SportsTalkATL and was syndicated with permission.

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