The Falcons finish the 2021-22 NFL season 7-10, missing the playoffs for the fourth straight year, not much of a long-term plan in sight. Sending any aging Julio Jones who was the face of the franchise for a decade to the Titans in exchange for a 2022 second-round pick and a 2023 fourth-round pick.
Since then, their offense hasn’t been the same. They ranked near the bottom of the league in points scored at 26th and points allowed is 29th. Their receiving core has not been playing up to everyone’s expectations. The run game hasn’t found a consistent back yet. The offensive line has a good run game grade but a bad pass protection grade, where only Jake Matthews at left tackle has gotten a passable grade. Four of the five players have above-average or better run-blocking grades (Matthews is the only one with a better grade), but rookie Jalen Mayfield gave up nine sacks and 46 total pressures. That is one of the highest totals in the League and one of the highest among guards. The only bright spot is Kyle Pitts who is one of the few players the Falcons should build off of in the future, along with A.J. Terrell and Marlon Davidson. Not to mention Calvin Ridley, with him coming back is he someone you want to build around for the future.
Atlanta is a city with such rich culture that resonates with players. The music it has produced in the last 25 years has been a game-changer. But to players it is like water and air, they must have it in order to perform at a high level. Rappers and other musicians always show support for the beloved Dirty Birds. You can see with other Atlanta professional sports teams when they are winning, well-known celebrities are seen at all the games consistently.
The Falcons have seven draft picks in the upcoming NFL Draft:
Round 1, Pick 10
Round 2, Pick 46
Round 2, Pick 61 (from Titans)
Round 3, Pick 77
Round 4, Pick 114
Round 5, Pick 152
Round 6, Pick 189
The team will have $12 million in projected cap space, which Fontent and Smith will have to be creative with.
Atlanta made the Super Bowl six years ago and has only one playoff win since then. It’s up to General Manager Terry Fontent and Head Coach Arthur Smith to find the team’s identity and bring the Atlanta Falcons back to championship level.