ESPN misses mark on Falcons biggest remaining roster hole


The Falcons filled their two biggest roster needs on the first day of the legal tampering period, agreeing to deals with Kirk Cousins and Darnell Mooney.

Quarterback was always going to be the focal point of the offseason, and Terry Fontenot got his guy. Arthur Blank gave his general manager the funds needed to pry Cousins out of Minnesota, offering the veteran more guaranteed money, more years, and a higher average annual value compared to the Vikings.

Past the signal caller, the wide receiver position needed some TLC. Coming into the offseason, Drake London was the only wideout with any real experience under contract. Not only did the position need an impactful addition, but it needed to be completely overhauled. Mooney was joined by Rondale Moore, KhaDarel Hodge, and Ray-Ray McCloud shortly after.

The Falcons made some other ancillary moves, like bringing back Storm Norton and Kentavius Street, giving Atlanta much-needed depth in the trenches, but they aren’t done. The defense still needs attention; in fact, it’ll be the reason the Falcons fall short of their goals as of right now.

Clearly, this isn’t the roster we will see in Week 1, but the defense isn’t in great shape. If you ask Falcons beat writer for ESPN Michael Rothstein, the biggest remaining roster hole is cornerback.

Biggest remaining roster hole: Cornerback. The Falcons have depth but not a clear No. 2 starter at the position opposite A.J. Terrell. It’s possible Atlanta feels comfortable with Clark Phillips III after a decent second half of his rookie season (5 starts, 5 passes defended, 50% completion rate against, according to Pro Football Reference), but considering they have a new coaching staff led by Raheem Morris, a former safety, bringing in a veteran to compete with Phillips would be sensible. — Michael Rothstein

Not a knock on Rothstein at all, but I think he completely missed the mark. With a proven commodity like A.J. Terrell, who is an All-Pro, along with three players with starting experience in Clark Phillips, Dee Alford, and Mike Hughes, cornerback takes a backseat to EDGE.

The current makeup of the EDGE unit is Arnold Ebiketie, Lorenzo Carter, and DeAngelo Malone; maybe Zach Harrison and Ta’Quon Graham contribute in certain alignments. With those three, the Falcons don’t have an impact player like Terrell. It might be the worst EDGE group in the NFL.

The Falcons don’t have to add a premier pass rusher to the position like Haason Reddick, though that would dramatically change the look of this defense, but they do have to add a starting-caliber player to the group.

Photographer: Ken Murray/Icon Sportswire


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