Falcons make PFF’s list of most and least improved units after the 2024 NFL Draft

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The Falcons came into the NFL Draft with two glaring holes that most pundits believed they’d address with their four picks in the top 100.

Atlanta needed another cornerback as well as multiple defensive linemen. One was completely overhauled while the other went untouched. One is considered the most improved positional unit in the entire league, while the other is considered the least improved by Pro Football Focus.

PFF has the Falcons defensive line as the most improved and the cornerback unit as the least improved:

Atlanta Falcons defensive line

Atlanta made headlines by selecting quarterback Michael Penix Jr. at No. 8 overall, overlooking a handful of more pressing needs to do so. One of those needs was the pass-rush department. Despite not using their most premium picks on that problem, they will throw a lot of new bodies at the defensive line to try to still make up for it. They traded up for Clemson defensive tackle Ruke Orhorhoro at the top of the second round to play on their interior, then edge rusher Bralen Trice in the third round. As if that wasn’t enough, their following pick was a third straight defensive lineman with Brandon Dorlus. All three of those players might not play right away, but they will be heavily involved in the 2024 rotation.

Orhorhoro, Trice, and Dorlus are going to be relied upon heavily in 2024, regardless of their draft pedigree. The Falcons are clearly mirroring Rams’ success when it comes to drafting pass rushers.

Last year, Raheem Morris saw firsthand in Los Angeles what rookies can do. Kobie Turner and Byron Young, both third-round picks, contributed significantly to the Rams’ pass rush.

Turner finished third in the Defensive Rookie of the Year race thanks to his nine sacks, which led all rookies and matched a Rams franchise record that was set by Aaron Donald. Young wasn’t far behind his classmate, though. He finished with eight sacks, second among all rookies.

The Falcons are hopeful they can replicate that kind of success with Orhorhoro, Trice, and Dorlus. As for the least improved…

Atlanta Falcons cornerbacks

The Falcons drafted a lot of defensive linemen in Rounds 2 through 4, as they had to get much better up front, especially in the pass-rush department. However, they also needed cornerback help and did not address that in the 2024 draft. If they struggle at that position in 2024, the Penix pick could be heavily scrutinized.

The Falcons’ cornerback room is extremely short of proven commodities. Outside of A.J. Terrell, Atlanta’s options to start in the two other spots are Clark Phillips, Dee Alford, Mike Hughes, Kevin King, and Antonio Hamilton.

The Falcons could still bring in a proven veteran, but the options are drying up on the free agent market. At this point, it’s the weakest position group on the roster. For such a premium position, that’s a massive red flag.

Daniel Dunn/Icon Sportswire

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