Now that things are heating up a little bit at the Combine, it’s time to see what’s cooking for the Falcons.
Yesterday, we heard from Arthur Smith and Terry Fontenot on topics ranging from Matt Ryan to cap space. Today, we’ll follow along with interesting tidbits from interviews, confirmed interest from the Falcons in some of the bigger names attending the Combine, and more.
This will not be a tracker full of names. Remember the wise words of Michael Rothstein if you start getting too excited about a player popping up in connection to the team, though we’ll certainly try to get a list rolling at some point for those who love them.
With that reminder, we’re off!
Ex-Georgia Bulldog Jordan Davis working on his pass-rush moves for NFL with @chucksmithnfl #DrRush https://t.co/clkSfzJ5xN— D. Orlando Ledbetter (@DOrlandoAJC) March 4, 2022
UGA fans have not forgotten about the possibility of Davis landing in Atlanta for one nanosecond, but the hype around quarterbacks, receivers, and cornerbacks has grown enough that I don’t see the possibility mentioned as much as I did in, say, January. Davis is already a deeply intriguing player because of his size, strength and potential to be a truly elite run stuffer at the next level, and if he is even a reasonably impactful pass rusher to start his career he’s going to make a team very happy. Perhaps it will be Atlanta.
Recapping day 1 of NFL Combine workouts. How top players linked to Falcons — and some who aren’t — performed. https://t.co/0Whz0lXd3r— Kris Rhim (@krisrhim1) March 4, 2022
Kris rounds up some very intriguing players here. There is seemingly no way someone like, say, Calvin Austin or Desmond Ridder would be in play at #8, but they could certainly be interesting for the Falcons in Round 2. Ridder has been persistently linked to the Falcons in rumors dating back to last fall and could well be the developmental option the Falcons settle on, if indeed they do in 2022.
Austin isn’t 6’4”, but as Rhim notes, his speed and athleticism are deeply intriguing for a team that simply needs more of both at the wide receiver position.
#Falcons https://t.co/EENIrjevru pic.twitter.com/KZs8qzLos7— Kevin Knight (@FalcoholicKevin) March 4, 2022
On one hand, this seems like the year to invest in a wide receiver in the first couple of rounds, as the Falcons seem likely to do. On the other hand, some of the top receivers look impressive not just based on their 2021 on-field results, but what they’re showing off in Indianapolis. It’s not clear the Falcons will have a realistic shot at some of the top receivers in this class if they’re not picking one at #8 or moving down a little bit.
Texas A&M running back Isaiah Spiller says he met with Falcons running back coach Michael Pitre. Compares his game to Le’veon Bell, Adrian Peterson, and Joe Mixon. pic.twitter.com/w9wsTBHlMW— Kris Rhim (@krisrhim1) March 3, 2022
The Falcons are, as you’d expect, talking to all the top backs, as they’ve also touched base with Breece Hall, James Cook, and Zamir White. Atlanta’s need for a young feature back is evident and this feels like the year they’ll end up landing one.
Georgia OL Justin Shaffer has met with the #Falcons. #NFLCombine pic.twitter.com/gItiUTO1I7— D. Orlando Ledbetter (@DOrlandoAJC) March 3, 2022
This feels like the year the Falcons are going to draft at least one University of Georgia player, given the caliber of players available and how closely their best draft options line up with this team’s needs. Shaffer is one to keep an eye on, given that he played well at left guard for Georgia and left guard is an outsized need if the Falcons haven’t lashed themselves to Jalen Mayfield for 2022.
Also in case you missed it, The Falcoholic Live crew talked about the pre-Combine presser and much more last night.
Stay tuned for more updates as they come in.
Drake London, Treylon Burks, Jameson Williams, George Pickens, Chris Olave and Garrett Wilson spoke about Calvin Ridley, Matt Ryan, meeting with the Falcons, and even hunting hogs today.— Kris Rhim (@krisrhim1) March 2, 2022
"I feel like I can provide in that offense." - Chris Olavehttps://t.co/7LvWCYiGPw
Add Chris Olave to the list of receivers who have met with the Falcons, and Olave talked up his fit in the Falcons offense. Another name to file away.
#Falcons GM Terry Fontenot on free agency: “We have to find value. On day one (of free agency), you're not going to see a lot of splashy moves that D. Led can tweet about. That’s not going to happen.” pic.twitter.com/xaGk2r3mBB— D. Orlando Ledbetter (@DOrlandoAJC) March 2, 2022
We knew this, I think, but the Falcons appear to be downplaying even the thought of taking one good-sized swing at a big name free agent in 2022.
Matt Corral said the Falcons were the second team he had a formal interview with. Said Matt Ryan is someone he would want to be like one day: 10+ years with a team, franchise QB, stats to back up an arguably Hall of Fame career. Added he’d be crazy to not want to learn from Ryan.— Tori McElhaney (@tori_mcelhaney) March 2, 2022
The team appears to be doing their due diligence on a quarterback class they’re not as down on as many draft analysts are. If they are hoping to get through the offseason without touching Matt Ryan’s contract, as Steve Wyche indicated earlier this week, they’ll likely a potential quarterback of the future in the building. That doesn’t mean they’re definitely snagging one, but putting the time and effort into learning more about their options is just smart, and Corral clearly recognizes what he’d be stepping into in 2022 if Atlanta drafted him.
USC receiver Drake London said he’s met with #Falcons pic.twitter.com/4MxNKncByn— Gabe Burns (@GabeBurnsAJC) March 2, 2022
Again, this is not surprising but may prove to be noteworthy. The Falcons appear fated to sink significant resources into the wide receiver position even if Calvin Ridley and Russell Gage come back, and London is one of the top receivers in this class, if not the top. London is just 20 years old and is 6’5”, meaning he would seem to fit right in with Kyle Pitts in what would become a land of pass catching giants.
Alabama WR Jameson Williams says Atlanta Falcons were one of his first meetings in Indianapolis — and he adds that the back-and-forth went well— Thor Nystrom (@thorku) March 2, 2022
Williams also recently met with the Dolphins — mentions it would be cool to add to Miami’s collection of Alabama players#NFLCombine
Of course, the Falcons aren’t going to limit their purview to just one receiver. Williams is also just 20 years old and was a tremendous weapon for Alabama, so it’s not shocking the Falcons will be one of approximately 32 teams interested in potentially adding him.
GM Terry Fontenot addresses #Falcons’ decision to release Dante Fowler, Matt Gono https://t.co/4OqcbEqnGI— D. Orlando Ledbetter (@DOrlandoAJC) March 2, 2022
There’s nothing exceptional here, as you’d expect, but basically Fontenot says it was in the team’s best interest to move on from both.
Wednesday, March 2: TE, QB, WR media; OL, RB medical exams and interviews; DL, LB arrivals and interviews
Thursday, March 3: TE, QB, WR measurements, bench press and on-field workouts; OL, RB media and interviews; DL, LB medical exams and interviews; CB, S, special teams arrivals and interviews
Friday, March 4: OL, RB measurements, bench press and on-field workouts; DL, LB media and interviews ; CB, S, special teams medical exams and interviews
Saturday, March 5: DL, LB measurements, bench press and on-field workouts; CB, S, special teams media and interviews
Sunday, March 6: CB, S, special teams measurements, bench press and on-field workouts
Monday, March 7: The last group finally escapes from Indianapolis