The Atlanta Falcons offense continues its infatuation with former first-round picks. The latest acquisition being wide receiver Laquon Treadwell, who the Falcons most recently signed as a free agent.
Potentially, the Atlanta Falcons offense could feature 11 first-round selections when the team takes the field in 2020. All 11 of these players are projected to start on offense, which would be a first in NFL history.
Let’s take a look at the projected starting lineup on offense in 2020:
- QB – Matt Ryan
- RB – Todd Gurley
- WR – Julio Jones
- WR – Calvin Ridley
- WR – Laquon Treadwell
- TE – Hayden Hurst
- LT – Jake Matthews
- LG – James Carpenter
- C – Alex Mack
- RG – Chris Lindstrom
- RT – Kaleb McGary
Out of this starting lineup, the one exception is starting left guard James Carpenter, who is still a potential post-June 1st cap casualty. If Carpenter is not cut and retains his starting job, this will mark the first time in NFL history that this many first-round picks would start on offense.
While this looks impressive on paper, in all actuality, this does little and means next to nothing. Since their Superbowl season in 2016, the Falcons offensive line has been just that…offensive.
Left tackle Jake Matthews has shown flashes of a former first-round pick, but overall in his short career so far, he’s been serviceable at best. The James Carpenter experiment in 2019 at left guard was a disaster at best.
While Alex Mack is the leader and workhorse of the offensive line, he’s getting long in the tooth and will be 34 years old during the 2020 season.
Both right guard Chris Lindstrom and right tackle Kaleb McGary were first-round picks in 2019 and should only continue to grow and improve. If they remain injury-free, they are plug-ins for the next ten years or so on the right side of the line.
Nothing needs to be said about former first-round picks Matt Ryan, Julio, Jones, and Calvin Ridley. Ryan and Jones are shoo-in Hall of Famers and Ridley had a breakout sophomore season and will only continue to get better.
Todd Gurley, if healthy and if he can regain his old form on the Rams, should put up huge numbers in this offense. Laquon Treadwell has not lived up to his first-round draft selection by any means and has been somewhat of a bust.
Perhaps Treadwell needs a change of scenery. He only had nine catches in 13 games for the Minnesota Vikings in 2019. That will not cut it by any means in the Atlanta Falcons offense. Treadwell was the 23rd overall pick of the Vikings from Ole Miss. His career-high in receptions was only 35 with the Vikings in 2018 and only has two career receiving touchdowns.
Perhaps pairing him in the slot with Russell Gage beside Jones and Ridley, will increase his production, but Falcons fan can’t count on this.
Tight end Hayden Hurst, the 25th overall 2018 pick out of South Carolina, has a ton of potential, but couldn’t shake the injury bug in Baltimore and was the # 2 tight end. The starting spot is now his and he needs to take advantage of this.
The Falcons will run numerous sets and looks in this offense in 2020 with all these first-round picks. The team is desperate to bolster an offense that really struggled in 2019 in the ground game.
There is not much faith in Atlanta Falcons offensive coordinator Dirk Koetter. Even with Todd Gurley starting at running back, there is no guarantee that pass-happy Koetter is even remotely capable of using him and featuring him correctly.
Then again, there is no guarantee that head coach Dan Quinn is even capable of leading this team to the playoffs in 2020 with all of his coaching blunders and horrible mistakes the past few seasons.
It is quite obvious that Dan Quinn and general manager Thomas Dimitroff have a love affair with former first-round offensive draft picks. Look where this has gotten the Falcons the past two seasons…not even a sniff of the playoffs, obviously.
Quinn and Dimitroff are desperate to save their jobs. They are going for broke and swinging for the fences. Their job is on the line, so they might as well continue to swing for the fences until they hit a home run.