Division favorite Falcons don’t have the best roster in NFC South, per SI


Even before the Falcons signed Kirk Cousins, Vegas saw them as the favorites to win the NFC South. It told us two things.

1) Odds makers believed the Falcons were big-game hunting for a quarterback, and 2) the roster was good enough for a competent signal caller to come in and immediately win the division.

Once a deal with Cousins came to fruition, odds shifted even more in favor of the Falcons taking the division, and it makes sense. Atlanta split the season series with Tampa Bay and New Orleans last year with far worse quarterback play, so it is fair to expect them to win it this season going from Desmond Ridder to Kirk Cousins.

However, if you ask Sports Illustrated’s Will Laws, the Bucs have the top roster in the NFC South. Here’s what he had to say, in part, about the Falcons:

2. Atlanta Falcons 

Cousins and the Falcons have a good enough roster to make noise in the NFC South, but missed an opportunity to draft an immediate impact player to make them more than divisional contenders. Putting aside the quarterback dilemma, the Falcons have stability on the offensive line and added depth at wide receiver with Rondale Moore, Darnell Mooney and Ray-Ray McCloud III. One will need to step up as the No. 2 wideout behind London, who was often open last season to no avail as his signal-callers failed to get him the ball. Pitts might finally put it together on the field with Cousins and a new coaching staff.

The defense will probably build off its promising 2023 season due to the arrival of Morris, who flourished as the Rams’ defensive coordinator the past three seasons and won a Super Bowl in L.A. Atlanta boasts a strong secondary with safety Jessie Bates III and cornerback A.J Terrell, and the defensive front could be better with talented Day 2 picks Ruke Orhorhoro and Bralen Trice.

Part of Laws’ reasoning is fair. The Falcons could’ve added an impact player with their top pick instead of Michael Penix, but he’s missing the biggest point.

The Falcons, Saints, and Buccaneers effectively stuck with the status quo this offseason. Tampa and New Orleans didn’t have a ton of cap space to spend, and Atlanta spent all of theirs on one position. However, that one position is the most important in all of football.

The Falcons running it back with the same roster except Kirk Cousins instead of Desmond Ridder is the best roster considering the Saints and Buccaneers didn’t make improvements to the roster other than internal development and a draft class.

A first-round pick can make a difference. There’s no arguing that, and even though the Falcons won’t see any contributions from theirs while the other two will, they should still be considered the best roster.

The Bucs didn’t make ‘savvy’ moves? They brought back Mike Evans, Baker Mayfield, and Lavonte David while bringing in a standard-sized draft class.

Photographer: Ken Murray/Icon Sportswire

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