The running back position has always been a position that the Falcons have focused on replenishing every year, either via the draft, free agency, or both. This offseason, they only made one big change.
After parting ways with Devonta Freeman, the Falcons replace him with All Pro Todd Gurley. This was the only change made to the group, which means coach Dan Quinn and general manager Thomas Dimitroff are content with the position as a whole.
The Falcons now have Gurley, Ito Smith, Brian Hill and Quadree Ollison as your presumptive RBs that make the final 53. There’s also Craig Reynolds, but he is a long shot to make the roster. What’s interesting is Coach Quinn seems to have made a slight change in the type of RB he covets. With the exception of Smith, all in this position group are at least 6 feet tall and 200 lbs. He’s leaning more towards big, fast and physical running backs (sound familiar?), with Smith being more of a change of pace back. That makes a lot of sense given that Dirk Koetter has always found use for powerful backs, dating back to his days in Jacksonville.
The overall outlook of the running back group is a good one. Todd Gurley is your starter, and Smith, Hill and Ollison are your backups that will be vying for playing time. There has been lots of talk about Gurley’s arthritic left knee.
Speaking as someone that deals with arthritis, Gurley’s knee is more than manageable at his age if kept on a “pitch count.” Trust me when I say others are more worried about Gurley’s knee than he is. If the RB group can remain relatively healthy, it will be one of the strongest groups on the roster this season.