The NFL season is only a few weeks away, and the majority of teams have their starting lineups secured and are figuring out the depth pieces to fill out the rest of their rosters. Over the next week or so, there could be numerous productive players who could be released from their respective teams, and the Atlanta Falcons have a decent amount of cap space to sign them.
I think it’s safe to say the team is solid at the quarterback and running back positions unless something drastic happens. The biggest question on offense is wide receiver, where Drake London projects as a solid number-one receiver, and then the rest of the group is mostly unproven. Mack Hollins and Scott Miller have the potential to explode, but it wouldn’t be shocking to see the team trade or sign someone like Sterling Shepard or Anthony Schwartz.
The team could also look at depth pieces on the offensive line, especially if they don’t feel comfortable proceeding with Jalen Mayfield. Would someone like Ben Cleveland, Logan Bruss, or Kendrick Green be worth a flier to see if different coaching helps them turn their careers around? The logic in the NFL is that you can never have enough good offensive linemen so it’s a certainty that the Falcons will be researching all their options.
The team also has numerous options amongst their defensive line, so it’s hard to foresee a major move happening there. Linebacker is a mixed bag of young guys with potential and older players with starting experience, but the team could aim for another depth piece who can excel in either pass coverage or as a pass-rusher.
K’Lavon Chaisson’s departure from Jacksonville seems inevitable after the team declined his fifth-year option and could be available for cheap if Atlanta thinks it’s worth a shot. Nicholas Morrow from the Eagles and Jerry Hughes from the Texans could be expendable options that the Falcons could snag for the right price too.
The Atlanta secondary is also filled with high-end starters (Jessie Bates III and A.J. Terrell) and strong pieces like Richie Gant and Dee Alford that can hopefully turn the Falcons’ defense around after lackluster performances the past few seasons. This seems like another situation where they might snag a depth piece based on team cutdowns, but it’s hard to imagine anything major happening there.
Younghoe Koo is solidified at kicker and it’s safe to expect another productive year for him in the new-look Falcons’ offense. Bradley Pinion serves as a trustworthy option at punter, so the biggest question mark left may be returners after Avery Williams’ season-ending injury.
Cordarrelle Patterson is one of the best returners of all time, but will Atlanta keep him around with his hefty contract even in a reduced rusher/receiver role? Can Dee Alford provide enough on punt returns to help make a positive impact on the team’s field position? Returners tend to get forgotten about unless they make a major mistake or score a touchdown, but the team should ensure they don’t lose sight of all their options before the season begins.