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Falcons earn a B- from ESPN for their 2019 offseason

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NFL Draft Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images

The Falcons are coming off a pivotal offseason, one way or the other. If everything goes smashingly and the offensive line overhaul sticks, the updates to the defense add much needed toughness and pass rushing acumen, and the team’s fortunes improve greatly, it’s an immediate win and a long-term one. If this team falters despite all those additions and the regime in place is out, the team has at least set themselves up with some intriguing young players over the long haul, especially along the offensive line and in the secondary.

Really, this Falcons offseason fell somewhere between the splash of 2016 (when major signings like Alex Mack and a huge draft class launched a Super Bowl team) and the much quieter and less thrilling 2017 offseason. The Falcons spent money, but it was in service of bolstering their offensive line and their depth. The Falcons made a ton of picks, but again they were in service of the lines and improving 2019 depth, though some of their secondary pickups have more upside. At the end of the day, they came away with three likely new starters on the offensive line and key reserves dotting the entire roster.

It’s the kind of largely unsexy but effective offseason that you’d probably give a B to, if you were grading. And hey, ESPN gave it...a B-! You’ll need Insider to read the whole story, but here’s a little color.

“They did a lot for their offensive line, but I feel like they are exposed at running

back and corner, and their pass rush is a concern,” an evaluator said. “Maybe

they think [fourth-round pick] John Cominsky can be a Tyrone Crawford type

or an Adrian Clayborn from their Super Bowl team.”

I included this one mostly so you could understand that the concerns animating this kind of grade can be weird and largely inaccurate. I don’t feel like cornerback and running back are concerns the way, say, defensive end and even safety are. But I do understand the concern that while the Falcons did much to address their self-proclaimed latest weakness, they’ve left themselves with holes that could become major problems if injuries or ineffectiveness hit. I share those concerns.

This does have the opportunity to be one of those offseasons we look back on very fondly. If the team lands multi-year starters with Chris Lindstrom and Kaleb McGary, if Adrian Clayborn adds stability and quality to the defensive end rotation, and if key reserves like Chris Cooper and Tyeler Davison show up to help propel this team deep into the playoffs, a B- may seem like a grossly unfair grade in a couple of years. For now, though, it reflects the completely fair question marks around this team’s (pretty strong-looking) offseason.