With the 2021 NFL regular season in the rear view mirror, it’s a time of transition for fans of teams who didn’t make the playoffs. I’m happy to report that the New Orleans Saints are included in that group, but sadly, so are our beloved Atlanta Falcons. With a 7-10 finish, the Falcons laid claim to the 8th overall pick in the 2022 NFL Draft—which could end up being an ideal position to select a top prospect or to trade back with QB-needy teams.
Since we’ve now had a few weeks to digest what was ultimately a mediocre season, now is the ideal time to look back on some of the key decisions of 2021. First things first: the hiring of Arthur Smith and Terry Fontenot. We asked fans to grade the coaching staff’s performance last season, and here’s what they had to say.
Fans were fairly split on their opinion of Arthur Smith and Co., but most had a favorable opinion. The majority (60%) gave the coaching staff a “B”, which seems pretty optimistic in my humble opinion. Next up was “C” with 30%, which is approximately where I would’ve voted. I think the staff did a solid job, but it wasn’t anything spectacular in Year 1. Finally, 10% of surveyed fans actually gave Smith an “A”. That’s a very rosy interpretation of 7-10, but considering the roster, I can see that angle.
Next up, we asked fans if they still believed the selection of Kyle Pitts at 4th overall in the 2021 NFL Draft was the right decision.
I doubted fans would dislike the Pitts pick, but I was a little surprised to see near-universal agreement with the selection at 4th overall considering how the season played out. 90% of fans still believe Kyle Pitts was the right call at the top of the draft. With Pitts blowing through rookie records—beating even Julio Jones’ numbers—and nearly matching the legendary first season of Mike Ditka, it’s hard to be upset with the pick. Here’s to hoping Pitts continues his ascent in 2022.
Finally, we asked fans to weigh in on one of the biggest topics surrounding the team right now: a potential trade of star wide receiver Calvin Ridley. Opinions are all over the place on whether the team should trade Ridley and what the compensation would need to be, but we wanted to know if fans thought a trade was likely to go down or not.
It seems that fans almost unanimously believe that Ridley will be traded this offseason. I’m guessing that stems from a lot of speculation from media about the two sides potentially seeking a fresh start. Whether Ridley gets traded or not probably depends upon the compensation offered, in my opinion. If an offer of a 1st-round pick comes in, I think Atlanta would strongly consider it. Anything less would be tough to justify.
If you’re interested in having your voice heard, head over to SBNation Reacts and sign up.