Top to bottom, this is the best Falcons roster of the Arthur Smith and Terry Fontenot era; it’s not particularly close either.
Marred by the transgressions of the former regime, the current one had to work to build the roster with one hand tied behind their backs. It’s honestly a miracle they were able to squeeze out seven wins in each season, considering the record-breaking dead money on the books.
Now, most of those bad contracts are off the books, besides Deion Jones, and the Falcons were able to fully participate in free agency with no financial limitations. It netted a haul of veterans to go along with the core members that were brought in through the draft.
Jessie Bates III, Calais Campbell, David Onyemata, Kaden Elliss, Jonnu Smith, Bijan Robinson, and Jeff Okudah headlined the offseason acquisitions, giving Atlanta the best-looking depth chart in quite some time.
There aren’t many holes. There’s top end talent and depth at nearly every position, which is a substantial change for certain areas like the defensive front, which had relied solely on Grady Jarrett in recent years.
However, it’s not all gravy. There is one area that stands above the rest in terms of deficiencies — wide receiver. It’s been well documented here at SportsTalkATL. It’s the one position group that leaves room to be desired, even getting mentioned among the league’s biggest roster holes.
If you’ve been reading this piece from top to bottom, you’ve seen this suggestion pop up already in a few places. But it’s especially true in Atlanta where the team’s depth chart beyond Drake London is currently led by Mack Hollins and Scotty Miller. While the Falcons ran the ball on the highest percentage of plays in the league last year (51.1% of offensive plays) and have two possible stars in London and tight end Kyle Pitts, they simply must address the receiver spot with either someone already available or someone who could become available.
Mack Hollins is set to be the #2 option behind Drake London, and even that isn’t inspiring, let alone the depth behind the former Raider. Scotty Miller and KhaDarel Hodge provide value, but how much the Falcons can rely on them is yet to be seen.
However, to be a contrarian, I’ll push back. The receiver position isn’t as prominent of a role in the Falcons’ run heavy offense. Nobody uses multiple tight ends sets more than Arthur Smith, who promotes a positionless approach to football.
The reality is Mack Hollins and Scotty Miller might only garner the sixth and seventh-most targets after Drake London, Kyle Pitts, Jonnu Smith, Cordarrelle Patterson, and Bijan Robinson. Hollins might be the fourth or fifth-most targeted player on the team, which proves the role of a WR2 on this team.
Adding a proven veteran like DeAndre Hopkins would do wonders for the rest of the pass catchers in Atlanta, but it’s not a pressing need.
Photographer: David J. Griffin/Icon Sportswire