Roster Breakdown: Atlanta Falcons
By: Josh Shippen
|RB||Mike Davis||Cordarrelle Patterson|
|WR||Calvin Ridley||Russell Gage||Christian Blake|
|TE||Kyle Pitts||Hayden Hurst|
|DE||Dante Fowler||Jacob Tuioti-Mariner|
|DT||Grady Jarrett||Tyeler Davison|
|ILB||Deion Jones||Brandon Copeland|
|OLB||Foyesade Oluokun||Mykal Walker|
|CB||A.J. Terrell||Kendall Sheffield|
QB: Every Falcons fan ever knows Matt Ryan as he has cemented himself as the best quarterback the team has seen in its 56 NFL seasons. Unfortunately the former MVP winner seems to be in a steady decline, and the recent departure of longtime star receiver Julio Jones can’t help. There is always hope for Ryan to return to form, but this season seems unlikely as ever.
RB: The Todd Gurley revival experiment did not quite go as planned which negated the need for a new starting back. The Falcons chose Panthers stand in Mike Davis who showed mild to decent potential following what has been seen as a lackluster career. The question remains as to whether he and longtime veteran Cordarrelle Patterson can carry the load, but it seems like a stretch.
WR: Calvin Ridley had a breakout season in 2020 – the third year receiver put up a whopping 1,374 yards and 9 touchdown receptions. Those numbers are great and will look even better now that targets are no longer being shared with Julio Jones. Unfortunately Russell Gage and Christian Blake are far from proven and will more likely than not become a problem rather than a solution. The Falcons better hope Ridley can stay healthy…
TE: Kyle Pitts is the highest selected tight end in NFL history, so the Falcons better hope this guy is Rob Gronkowski or better. That being said, Hayden Hurst is a perfectly serviceable option should the Kyle Pitts angle turn out sour.
OL: Jake Matthews is an experienced offensive tackle who has proven himself, especially in recent years. There in that sentence I exercised my full extent of confidence in this line. Chris Lindstrom and Kaleb McGary have been two very shaky first round picks, Matt Hennessy was downright terrible in his limited playing time, and I’ll be perfectly honest I had to google Willie Wright while checking out the depth chart.
OVERALL OFFENSIVE GRADE: B-
DL: Grady Jarrett just gets better and better, and Dante Fowler seems pricier and pricier. This has been a notoriously shallow position on the Falcons ever since Vic Beasley’s regression a few years back, and I believe that very minimal, inconsequential work has been done to improve it.
LB: It’s quite weird to not think of Deion Jones as the undeniable cornerstone of this group, but I have to admit I am far more excited to see a new season of Foye Oluokun and Mykal Walker, both of whom had very good (dare I say breakout) seasons on the Falcons in 2020.
CB: First round corners are a very shifty bunch, and A.J. Terrell is a poster boy for this. After being picked in the first round by Atlanta, Terrell posted an abysmal season alongside Isaiah Oliver and Kendall Sheffield. In all fairness, first year performances should not be taken as gospel, but the young corner has much to prove.
S: Add Duron Harmon to the very long list of defensive players that started out playing well on the Patriots and ended up washing out on the Lions. Harmon is currently Atlanta’s best safety. Not good.
OVERALL DEFENSIVE GRADE: D+
Special Teams Breakdown
K/P: Younghoe Koo made a Pro Bowl in his first full season as Atlanta’s kicker. As meaningless as that stat is it proves that Atlanta has the kicker position taken care of.
KR/PR: Cordarrelle Patterson is widely regarded as the best return man currently playing football, the Falcons should be just fine in this area.
OVERALL SPECIAL TEAMS GRADE: A+
FINAL GRADE: C