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Falcons post-draft roster review: Running back

Are the Falcons planning to move on from a 2x Pro Bowler?

NFC Championship - Green Bay Packers v Atlanta Falcons Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

The 2017 NFL Draft is over, and the Falcons are essentially done making major moves between now and training camp.

The running back position will have a little more intrigue than expected with newest addition and fifth round pick Brian Hill. The bruiser may be a part of a running back tandem that does not include Devonta Freeman.

Current Depth Chart

Starter: Devonta Freeman

Backup: Tevin Coleman

Third-Stringer: Brian Hill/Terron Ward

It is definitely possible that all four backs could stick on the roster, considering the top two backs have a tendency to get small, nagging injuries. It’s a little more likely that Ward doesn’t make the cut, and Coleman and Hill jump up one spot on the depth chart next year with Freeman potentially gone.

The Falcons have remained optimistic they can and will keep Freeman. I’m all for paying the man, but it is unclear how that is possible. The team has enough space to pay their rookie class and buy a cup of coffee. It would be a lot easier to stay cheap at running back and focus their cap space on the offensive line and pass catchers.

2017 Outlook

This will be a strong group of running backs. Hill fits as a bigger back that can move the pile in short yardage scenarios. I expect Freeman to get the bulk of the carries, but fewer than his 281 offensive touches during regular season last year. If Freeman only has one year left in Atlanta, Coleman should get a better chance to “audition” for the starting spot. Hill should receive a limited role and can be brought along slowly, but should easily eclipse Ward’s 32 offensive touches last year.