Setting aside the quibbles about contracts, positional values, and positions left unaddressed, the Falcons appear to be a better football team coming out of free agency than they were going into it. They’ve landed impact defenders, useful pieces on both sides of the ball, and stocked up on depth, and taken a step back at...left guard? We don’t know how many games this Falcons team is going to win, but they ought to be more competitive for work they’ve done in March and early April.
If that were it, you’d be looking at a team that might push for the playoffs in an unsettled NFC South, but fortunately that is not the end of it. The Falcons still have their 2023 draft class yet to go, and they have a mix of a healthy number of picks and a position early in each round that should give them a crack at more talent.
By one metric, at least, the Falcons are 10th in the NFL in terms of how much draft capital they have to work with, which puts them in an excellent position.
With the NFL Draft a little more than three weeks away, here's a look at which teams have the most capital at their disposal:— Graham Barfield (@GrahamBarfield) April 3, 2023
32. 49ers pic.twitter.com/TTGYJT0YEK
The Falcons have the 8th overall pick, at least one selection in every round but the sixth including a pair of fourth rounders and two seventh rounders, and eight picks overall. They should be able to grab at least one immediate, high-end starter—the fortunes of Arnold Ebiketie, Richie Grant, Jalen Mayfield, DeAngelo Malone, and Troy Andersen suggest they won’t necessarily push themselves to grab immediate impact players on the draft’s second day—and plenty of promising talent to a roster that still needs it. For the third straight season, they have a top ten pick and plenty of swings to take, and it’s critical that they use them well to continue to build the foundation of the team.
You’ll note that the Panthers are second in this metric, and for all the fawning talk of the Saints contending with Derek Carr, Carolina is the team I’m most worried about if they can add a top-shelf draft class to their already successful offseason.
That worry aside, the Falcons are once again in a good position to improve an already improved team for the 2023 season and beyond. It’s nice to be thinking about how much better Atlanta can get, rather than how Atlanta can possibly get better.