Atlanta Falcons part ways with 2022 draft pick


The Falcons have had a ton of success in free agency under Terry Fontenot, but Atlanta’s GM hasn’t had as much through the draft.

Last year’s free agent class featured hit after hit after hit, with Fontenot inking Jessie Bates, David Onyemata, Kaden Elliss, and Calais Campbell, among others, to deals. Even before he had a ton of money to spend, Fontenot found success shopping from the bargain bin, none more notable than Cordarrelle Patterson.

However, his track record in the draft isn’t as impressive. Fontenot’s first draft class has mostly dissipated. Kyle Pitts, Drew Dalman, Ta’Quon Graham and Avery Williams are the only ones left from the nine-player 2021 class.

The 2022 class is encroaching on similar territory. The Falcons have already parted ways with third-round pick Desmond Ridder. Troy Andersen and Arnold Ebiketie have yet to have a big impact as many expected the second-round picks to have. DeAngelo Malone hasn’t seen a ton of action on the field either.

Most recently, the Falcons parted ways with a sixth-round pick from the 2022 draft class. The team announced on Thursday they have released Justin Shaffer.

The sixth-round pick spent the last two seasons on Atlanta’s practice squad and had yet to appear in a regular season game. A lot of Falcons fans have pointed out that Jamaree Salyer, Shaffer’s college teammate at Georgia, was taken after Shaffer and has started 31 games for the Chargers in the last two seasons.

Hindsight is 20/20, but Falcons fans’ claims aren’t baseless. Many had Salyer ahead of Shaffer on their big boards. Terry Fontenot has done a lot of good work, and no GM bats 1.000, but building through the draft has always been the surest way to find sustained success.

Photographer: Ken Murray/Icon Sportswire

Scroll to Top
%d bloggers like this: