Even though Terry Fontenot preached about taking the best player available, it is evident by the Falcons selections that personnel needs also played a significant factor. Atlanta had to add to their secondary as well as their offensive line, and they did just that by selecting two corners, a safety, and two interior offensive linemen. Those players will bring much-needed competition and depth to Atlanta, but the Falcons could still improve in several areas before the start of the season.
Atlanta is in one of the worst cap situations in the league, which is why Fontenot is even considering trading Julio Jones, so they aren’t in a position to make any splashes. With that being said, there are some ways they can open up some cap room and potentially add more bodies at positions of need. Here are the areas where they still need the most help.
The additions of Mayfield and Dalman were necessary, but as I talked about earlier this week, they may not be enough to fix the offense’s most glaring hole this season. Mayfield only started 15 games at Michigan, is still just 20-years-old, and certainly needs to add some muscle before playing in the NFL. The Falcons will likely get to work right away with him, but he may not be ready to start Week 1. Dalman will push Matt Hennessy at center and can also compete at left guard, but he’s viewed more as a developmental pick with some upside.
Right now, two of Matt Gono, Matt Hennessy, Jalen Mayfield, and Drew Dalman will have to start — none of which have much NFL experience. If the Falcons can scrounge up just a few dollars, they should be able to find a cheap veteran to add to the competition. That should make the entire organization feel much better about this group entering the season.
Coming into the offseason, cornerback might not have been the BIGGEST need, but the position group certainly doesn’t have many reliable bodies. Outside of A.J. Terrell, nobody should inspire much confidence. So far in his career, Isaiah Oliver has taken one step forward and two steps back. Kendall Sheffield was abysmal last season; the Falcons did add Fabian Moreau in free agency as well as Darren Hall and Avery Williams during the draft, but are any of those three starting-caliber options? At this point, they better hope so.
The Falcons were able to sign Darqueze Dennard, who was serviceable when healthy in 2020, late last offseason for under $1 million. Dennard is actually still a free agent, but if Atlanta can add anybody like him for under a million before the season, they would be wise to do so.