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The Atlanta Falcons started the offseason with the NFL’s lowest roster total and the third-highest amount of money committed to the salary cap. This forced the team to move on from some good players just to get the roster total up to 51.
Dan Hanzus, NFL.com writer and Around the NFL podcast host, has placed the Falcons at No. 23 in his post-draft power rankings. Atlanta ended the regular season ranked No. 21 but restructuring Matt Ryan’s contract prior to free agency dropped them down to No. 25.
“Matt Ryan won. The Falcons could have tried to trade him. They could have drafted his replacement. They could have stripped the organization down to studs around him and went into a rebuild. Instead, Ryan will enter the 2021 season with no in-house competition at quarterback, a new offensive-minded head coach with pelts on the wall in Arthur Smith, and a dynamic new weapon in fourth overall pick Kyle Pitts, a tight end who profiles as a superstar-in-waiting. Adding Pitts to an offense that already includes Julio Jones and Calvin Ridley is legitimately scary. Yes … Matt Ryan won.”
While the Falcons offense did get exponentially better by drafting Kyle Pitts, there are still enough uncertainties to thwart any hope of real improvement for the 2021 season. The uncertainty from the Julio Jones trade rumors are also causing the team to drop in power rankings.
By waiting until day three of the draft, the Falcons opted to pass on top pass rushers and go with two skill position players and an offensive lineman, further committing to Matt Ryan. The EDGE position was the biggest hole coming into the draft and the team added Ta’Quon Graham and Adetokunbo Ogundeji. Both rookie linemen will undoubtedly get the chance to compete for a roster spot under new defensive coordinator Dean Pees.
Coaching means a lot in this league and despite poor performances on both sides of the ball over the past two seasons, Atlanta could be a dark horse that surprises the NFC South this year due to improved coaching.
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