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ESPN: the Atlanta Falcons have the NFL’s fourth best backfield

Fact: Devonta Freeman’s socks smell like medium rare steak and cauliflower mash

Divisional Round - Atlanta Falcons v Philadelphia Eagles Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images

The Atlanta Falcons will have some hard decisions to make next offseason. One of those decisions centers around the composition of their backfield. We’ve talked ad nauseum about Tevin Coleman’s impending free agency. Odds are this will be his last season in red and black, but heck, crazy things happen in the NFL. So for now we’ll enjoy having both Coleman and Devonta Freeman in the same backfield. And we’ll look forward to seeing what Ito Smith can do as a professional.

ESPN (Mike Clay) published their preseason backfield rankings yesterday. It’s an article that requires ESPN Insider, but lucky for us, they ranked the Falcons pretty high (4th overall).

Projected unit stats: 384 carries, 1,600 yards, 13 TDs; 86 receptions, 767 yards, 4 TDs

Outlook: If this experiment was instead focused on backfield duos, you’d be hard-pressed to rank Atlanta outside the top two [...] Freeman, who signed a contract extension last August, will continue to lead the Atlanta backfield, but Coleman, who’s entering a contract year, will mix in with 10 to 12 touches per game.

Here’s the thing, the three teams that rank ahead of the Falcons have amazing backfields. At some point we’re just splitting hairs, right? That said, I’m curious about your thoughts. Should the Falcons rank higher? Did Clay get this right? Discuss!