2. Jessie Bates
Whether it is Bates or C.J. Gardner-Johnson the Falcons need to make a big move in the secondary and either player would be a great tone-setter. Bates is only twenty-six and already has plenty of playoff experience helping fuel the Bengals to back-to-back AFC Championship appearances.
As great as Joe Burrow and the Cincy receivers have been each of the past two years the Bengals’ defense is going underrated and Bates is a big part of that. If the Falcons are going to hand out a big contract Bates is clearly the best fit and a player who doesn’t come with a lot of risks.
Out of his five seasons Bates has played in at least 16 games all but one year in 2021 when he started 15 games and finished the year with two playoff interceptions. Signing Bates is going to be costly but it is a move that should have Atlanta feeling great about the secondary if they are able to generate anything close to a consistent pass rush.