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Reviewing the Falcons roster after a late flurry of pre-draft signings

Cordarrelle Patterson and Duron Harmon join up. Where does that leave the 2021 Falcons?

Atlanta Falcons v Tampa Bay Buccaneers Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

We’re under two weeks away from the 2021 NFL Draft, blissfully. Whether you’re been out there knife-fighting about prospects or just quietly waiting to see what the Falcons do in their first draft under a new front office, this will be a welcome time.

In the meantime, we’re still considering the roster as it is today, and how Atlanta can infuse fresh talent into this team and hopefully hit a couple of major needs along the way. The team somewhat surprisingly added a couple of significant pieces over the past two weeks, but their journey through nine picks (give or take a couple, we’ll see) is still an awfully compelling one.

Let’s take a look at where the team stands today.

Offense

QB Matt Ryan

RB Mike Davis
RB/WR Cordarrelle Patterson
RB Qadree Ollison
RB Tony Brooks-James

FB Keith Smith

WR Julio Jones
WR Calvin Ridley
WR Russell Gage
WR Olamide Zaccheaus
WR Christian Blake
WR Chris Rowland
WR Greg Dortch

TE Hayden Hurst
TE Lee Smith
TE Jaeden Graham
TE Ryan Becker

LT Jake Matthews
RT Kaleb McGary
OT/OG Matt Gono

LG Josh Andrews
RG Chris Lindstrom
OG Willie Wright
OG/OC Willie Beavers

OC Matt Hennessy


The talent here is evident. Matt Ryan is perfectly capable of running an offense with a bruising, well-rounded back like Mike Davis, two great receivers in Julio and Ridley and another extremely capable one in Gage, and a tight end with the ability Hurst brings to the table. Three-fifths of this offensive line is set today, and as long as this group stays healthy, Arthur Smith should ensure they make plenty of noise.

What does this team still need?

  • A backup quarterback, either Ryan’s heir apparent or just someone who can step in if anything happens.
  • Another running back, I’m guessing. Ollison is unproven, Brooks-James is far from a lock to make the roster, and Atlanta just cut ties with Ito Smith. Unless they love Ollison—and hey, can’t rule that out—they’ll be looking to draft someone.
  • More competition on the interior of their offensive line, where Josh Andrews/Matt Gono and Matt Hennessy figure to start alongside Chris Lindstrom. The team can survive with a below average starter at one of those spots but won’t be happy if they have to do it at both positions.
  • Generally, depth everywhere would be helpful. You could still upgrade the reserves at receiver and tight end and add more useful pieces to the line.

Defense

DL Grady Jarrett
DL Steven Means
DL Marlon Davidson
DL Tyeler Davison
DL John Cominsky
DL Jonathan Bullard
DL Deadrin Senat
DL Chris Slayton

OLB Dante Fowler
OLB Jacob Tuioti-Mariner
OLB Barkevious Mingo

ILB Deion Jones
ILB Foye Oluokun
ILB Mykal Walker
ILB Brandon Copeland

CB A.J. Terrell
CB Isaiah Oliver
CB Fabian Moreau
CB Kendall Sheffield
CB Tyler Hall
CB Delrick Abrams
CB Chris Williamson

FS Duron Harmon
SS Erik Harris
S Jaylinn Hawkins
S T.J. Green


I feel better than I did earlier this offseason, but I don’t exactly look at this defense as currently constructed and think they’re in for a great year. The draft will help and Atlanta could always pile up a few other affordable free agents if they free up space, but as it stands they need a lot of growth from new additions and young players like Marlon Davidson and A.J. Terrell to get to above average.

The Falcons need...well, a little bit of everything, honestly. I could live with their defensive tackle group as it stands today, but adding talent at safety and capable pass rushers is an absolute must, and help at cornerback, linebacker, and defensive end more generally is critical. At least they have two safeties who can start in a pinch, something they did not have a week ago.

Special Teams

K Younghoe Koo

P Sterling Hofrichter

P Dom Maggio

LS Josh Harris


Koo is an excellent kicker, the team has two young punter options to choose from, and Harris is one of the league’s best long snappers. I think this group is pretty well set, though you can’t rule out Atlanta adding competition at any position here, punter very much included.

Once the draft is over, we’ll have a hell of a lot better picture of what this roster might be.