ESPN’s early positional needs for 2024 Falcons offseason

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The Falcons have bolstered the roster considerably since Arthur Smith and Terry Fontenot have taken over, most of which came during this last offseason after the club finally had financial room to work with in free agency.

Atlanta went out and signed Jessie Bates, David Onyemata, and Kaden Elliss to long-term deals. Over the next couple of months, the Falcons would acquire Calais Campbell, Bud Dupree, and Jeff Okudah to round out the starting lineup.

Offensively, there was little to do. Kaleb McGary was brought back, and the Falcons traded for Jonnu Smith. Bijan Robinson and Matthew Bergeron were the team’s first two picks, cementing the offense’s starters.

Though the club looks stout on paper this year, outside of the quarterback position, there’s less certainty in the future. The Falcons will have to replace or re-sign starters at cornerback, multiple defensive line positions (interior and edge), and multiple skill positions (receiver and tight end).

However, there’s no debating what the most pressing roster need is — quarterback. Despite Arthur Smith hitching his wagon to Desmond Ridder, neither he nor Taylor Heinicke can go into 2024 as the starter. Atlanta has to add to the position, and it’s why ESPN’s Matt Miller projected it as the biggest need.

Let’s keep the quarterbacks coming. Desmond Ridder, a 2022 third-rounder, was benched for Taylor Heinicke as the Falcons’ offense continues to struggle to get the ball to playmakers Kyle Pitts, Drake London and Bijan Robinson. Ryan Tannehill appears headed toward free agency, and he has ties to Falcons coach Arthur Smith from their days together in Tennessee. Or if the Falcons finally use a high draft pick on the position, someone like Michigan’s J.J. McCarthy could be a long-term answer. — Miller

I’d be disappointed if the Falcons signed Ryan Tannehill as a free agent, but it seems very likely that Arthur Smith will get his way. Ideally, the club could package three or so first round picks to trade up with one of the Cardinals or Bears for Caleb Williams or Drake Maye, but that might be a pipe dream at this point. It seems the Falcons are inevitably headed deeper into quarterback purgatory.

Photographer: Rich von Biberstein/Icon Sportswire



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