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Expect undrafted free agents to be important for the Falcons going forward

The Falcons need more UDFAs to contribute in the years ahead.

NFL: Minnesota Vikings at Atlanta Falcons Jason Getz-USA TODAY Sports

The Atlanta Falcons come into the year with relatively few needs and seven draft choices to fill them with, which is nice. They also have a number of large contracts coming up and a handful of depth needs that are either present right this second or may open up in a year or two as the team sheds older players.

Given that, it’s not a surprise to see the Falcons focusing a lot of their energy this spring on undrafted free agent types, as Aaron Freeman at FalcFans recently noted. Those are the kinds of players you need to hit on, however sporadically, to keep the good times rolling for a roster studded with stars.

The Falcons actually have a fairly rich history of UDFAs playing major roles for the team, from the phenomenal Jessie Tuggle to starting right tackle Ryan Schraeder to the excellent Brent Grimes. This year, they’re going to let UDFAs from recent years compete for spots at receiver (Marvin Hall, Reggie Davis), guard (Ben Garland), along the defensive line (J’Terius Jones), cornerback (Deante Burton), and more. That’s good (and probably lucky) scouting, but it’s also a function of the kind of team the Falcons have built.

As Atlanta continues to accumulate talent and hand out extensions, it becomes more and more difficult to pony up to fill crucial reserve roles, and even some starting jobs. That means the draft is critically important, but it also means that if you can nail your evaluations on even one or two undrafted free agents per year and have them take on real roles, you’re making your life much easier. With so few immediate holes and so many intriguing athletes in this class at positions like linebacker, safety, and wide receiver, you might as well shift your focus.