The Atlanta Falcons backfield situation going into the 2020 season creates a good problem to have for the coaching staff.
Based on the post-draft depth charge, this is a very good group that is capable of mass production, which of course is contingent upon health.
Going into the 2020 NFL season, the Atlanta Falcons backfield depth consists of Todd Gurley, Ito Smith, Brian Hill, and Qadree Ollison. On most game days, one of these players will most likely be inactive.
Todd Gurley is the clear cut number one running back, obviously. Beyond that, nothing is set in stone by any means in terms of the number two, three, and four spots on the roster.
On paper and on the depth chart, Smith will be the backup, but he needs to finally prove that he can remain healthy. He’s a very good third-down back, although he does need to improve on his blocking skills.
Smith was limited to seven games in 2019 due to a head and neck injury. He had 22 rushing attempts all season. He’s a very shifty runner who can catch out of the backfield.
Hill is not as shifty as a runner as Smith and runs more upright. Like Smith, Hill also has improved immensely in catching balls out of the backfield.
Hill ran fairly well in 2019 with the 78 limited carries he had. He also caught ten passes out of the backfield and had two rushing touchdowns and one receiving touchdown.
He has a similar downhill running style to former Falcons running back Tevin Coleman, in that he is more of a downhill runner with speed. More than likely, Hill will continue to see limited touches in 2020 and will be the third-down back on the depth chart.
Ollison is heading into his second season with the Falcons. Like Smith, he had 22 carries in 2019 but scored four touchdowns – all in short-yardage situations.
He is the bruiser out of the backfield and will continue to see the majority of snaps at the goal line and in short-yardage situations. Ollison should be able to move with chains with his power and can break the odd long run with his deceptive speed.
Gurley will have the most carries and touches out of the backfield and should score double-digit touchdowns if he remains healthy in 2020. Anything beyond that will play itself out with Smith, Hill, and Ollison depending on health and production.
Whatever transpires in 2020 for the Atlanta Falcons backfield, fans should be satisfied with not drafting a running back. For the first time in many years, there is solid depth, health (hopefully) and plenty of touches to go around.