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Don’t expect the Falcons to stand pat at running back

Tyler Allgeier’s 2022 excellence guarantees a major role, but not a bellcow one.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers v Atlanta Falcons Photo by Cooper Neill/Getty Images

The quarterback comments from the Combine stand out and the vow to stick to a plan continues, even if that’s what Terry Fontenot has been talking about off and on for months now. With quarterback sucking up so much oxygen and Fontenot unwilling to tip his offseason plans, that’s where most of the discussion has gone, even though there are

One of those items you may have missed earlier this week concerns running back. The Falcons are fresh off a season where Tyler Allgeier broke Williams Andrews’ decades-old rookie rushing yardage record, showing true lead back potential along the way, while Cordarrelle Patterson added nearly 700 yards rushing and eight touchdowns. Throw in Caleb Huntley, who was rolling before his injury, and useful speedster Avery Williams and it might be tempting to think the Falcons have their 2023 backfield locked in already.

Not so, says Fontenot.

The obvious questions this raises are similar to those the Falcons are facing at quarterback, even if Allgeier proved far more (albeit in more opportunities) than Desmond Ridder. Is this front office considering drafting the kind of player who could push Allgeier to a complementary role, like consensus top draft pick Bijan Robinson? Do they want to give Allgeier a complement who can take on some snaps in place of Patterson, who will be 32 years old in March and has seen his touches and production fade down the stretch the past two years? Or do they just want to add another talented young back late in the draft and see how things shake out?

What is clear is that this team won’t let the offseason pass without adding at least one back, and that doesn’t necessarily mean anything for Allgeier. Patterson is in the last year of his contract and will be 33 by the time the 2024 season rolls around, Huntley is recovering from a major injury, and the team hasn’t indicated they view Williams as more than an elite returner and occasional option in the backfield. You could absolutely use another durable young back who is a good fit for this offense, even if the result is a bit of a crowded running backs room in 2023.

The Falcons have vowed repeatedly not to stand pat on positions of strength if they see an opportunity to improve those further too. It’s difficult not to be excited about Allgeier’s immediate future—he really is that good—but chances are we’ll have another running back in this draft class to cheer for when all is said and done.