Terry Fontenot, Arthur Smith and Arthur Blank have descended upon Indianapolis like the predatory falcon attacking its prey — except here, instead of eating the prey, it will pepper it with questions in the hopes of finding out who it will pay millions. Indianapolis at March is the time where every team will talk to nearly every player and we start to heavily evaluate what kind of meeting it was: was it a formal interview, did a coach just chat up the prospect between drills, was the general manager included?
The Falcons, picking at 8, should be performing due diligence on most of the top prospects. That should mean even the likes of Bryce Young and Will Anderson Jr., both extremely unlikely to be available to Atlanta even with a trade up, should get some sort of chat. That’s not to say we can’t learn anything.
I’d like to give a shout out to both Sports Illustrated’s Daniel Flick and Fox 5’s Miles Garrett for killing the combine coverage for Falcons fans.
While I do want to get to interviews and meetings, this note from Flick has to be very interesting to Arthur Smith.
This draft class is absolutely loaded with 215+-pound runners. Just rolling through the combine list and it’s one after another after another.— Daniel Flick (@DFlickDraft) March 4, 2023
Even Atlanta’s lightest rusher, converted corner Avery Williams, is nearly 200 pounds. The rest of the running back group are 220 to 230 pounds. Smith likes big runners. And may like the draft’s top runner at 6-foot-0, 222-pounds.
Bijan Robinson has met with the Falcons.— Daniel Flick (@DFlickDraft) March 4, 2023
“It went great … we’ll see where it goes,” he said with a smile. pic.twitter.com/VvHNnR6E8i
While Atlanta would be taking a very interesting approach to a rebuild (going TE, WR, then RB at the top of the draft in three straight seasons), there’s no question Smith is considering it. After all, it should produce the league’s best run offense.
The Falcons are sniffing around more than just Robinson.
Former Alabama/Georgia Tech RB Jahmyr Gibbs … who has met with the Atlanta Falcons…— Zach Klein (@ZachKleinWSB) March 4, 2023
On his transition from Tech to Bama pic.twitter.com/k1Z2IubX6m
Gibbs has good size (he’s light for an Arthur Smith back) but has a different skill set as a shifty runner and versatile pass catcher. He’d fit as Atlanta’s 2nd-round pick.
The Falcons are kicking the tires on quarterbacks. I don’t think that’s decisive on if Atlanta is truly looking at upgrading over Desmond Ridder. Teams should know plenty about a top player if they fall to their spot, or if they’d have a target for trading up. Interviews start with Ohio’s C.J. Stroud.
QB C.J. Stroud on the #Falcons pic.twitter.com/fqYnvgNkGJ— Miles Garrett (@MilesGarrettTV) March 3, 2023
Will Levis has been an offseason “riser” after an injury-riddled final season at Kentucky. He presents a scheme fit with athleticism, but may not last until the 8th pick.
Kentucky QB Will Levis told me he interviewed with the #Atlanta #Falcons. “Yes,” he said. “That was my first interview.” pic.twitter.com/S30dGPLOhK— D. Orlando Ledbetter (@DOrlandoAJC) March 3, 2023
One passer testing very well is Florida’s Anthony Richardson. While the trend has recently been shorter, smaller quarterbacks, Richardson provides some old-school size.
Anthony Richardson has officially weighed in at the NFL Combine.— NFL Rookie Watch (@NFLRookieWatxh) March 4, 2023
Weight: 244 pounds
For context, Cam Newton was 6’5” 248 lbs, Derrick Henry is 6’3” 246 lbs, Von Miller is 6’3” 246 lbs.
Oh, and Richardson can still do a backflip.
The Gators QB is a UNICORN of… https://t.co/q4uW7gpDyu pic.twitter.com/UhyEfxNThi
Oh, and he interviewed with Atlanta. Where Richardson goes right now varies pretty widely, but he’s been popular in interviews.
Anthony Richardson on his formal visit with the Atlanta Falcons:— Zach Klein (@ZachKleinWSB) March 3, 2023
“I had a great visit with the Falcons and I told them I could run a faster 40 than Kyle Pitts ” pic.twitter.com/ZLh982kVNL
Arguably the draft’s top lineman, facing very serious legal allegations, was previously lined up for a meeting with Atlanta. There is not much clear about the Georgia tackle’s situation, both legal and in the draft.
NFL league sources tell me Jalen Carter was supposed to visit with the Atlanta Falcons tonight, but has since pulled out of the meeting.— Zach Klein (@ZachKleinWSB) March 1, 2023
While Atlanta doesn’t have a need at tackle, the team needs to do a better job at building depth through the draft while keeping an eye on the future. We aren’t sure if Kaleb McGary will be on the roster in 2023, or how long the staff expects to hold onto Jake Matthews (who just turned 31, very young for an OT). It wouldn’t put fans in seats, but adding the draft’s top tackle makes sense.
Northwestern OT Peter Skoronski told me after his podium session that he had a formal interview with the #Atlanta #Falcons. His grandfather Bob Skoronski played for the #Packers from 1956 to 1968. pic.twitter.com/IJIfqb955M— D. Orlando Ledbetter (@DOrlandoAJC) March 4, 2023
There’s a name we’d love to see, especially after he blazed a 4.38 40, but this corner hasn’t met with Atlanta yet.
Former #Oregon DB Christian Gonzalez says he has not spoken to the #Falcons yet but watches a lot of AJ Terrell tape.— Miles Garrett (@MilesGarrettTV) March 2, 2023
Adds that his toughest matchup in college was Drake London pic.twitter.com/Dav2rSjAsc
Follow along with both Flick and Garrett for more combine coverage as we sort out potential fits for the Falcons.