It’s no secret that Atlanta’s roster needs bolstering, but the arguments begin when discussing where those upgrades are most needed.
Given Cordarrelle Patterson’s impending free agency and Mike Davis’s lackluster 2021 campaign, the Falcons could use a running back. They could also use a quarterback to develop behind Matt Ryan in anticipation of the veteran quarterback’s contract coming to its end. Even without the controversy surrounding Calvin Ridley’s status with the Falcons in 2022, the wide receiver unit is bare.
The offensive line was a poor performing group in pass sets and in the run game, so additions could be necessary at multiple positions along the front. The tight end group is also in need of a couple of bodies. These deficiencies are just on the offensive side of the ball; this isn’t even considering the vast improvement needed on the defensive side of the ball — interior defensive line, edge defenders, and cornerbacks.
It is quite challenging to decide which group needs the most attention, but PFF says the Falcons need to address the trenches and the boundaries. In order, Pro Football Focus believes Atlanta’s biggest needs are along the interior offensive line, wide receiver, defensive line, and cornerback.
Atlanta’s interior offensive line needs a lot of work. The team’s guards and centers combined to rank 29th among the league’s 32 interior offensive line groups in PFF pass-blocking grade in 2021. The Falcons’ defensive front is just as much of an issue, as no defensive line turned in a lower pass-rush grade than theirs.
The Falcons have shown a willingness to select the best player available in the draft, so those needs may or may not be satisfied through April’s draft. More than likely, most of those underperforming units will be addressed through free agency. Fontenot flexed his muscles when he ended up signing Cordarrelle Patterson for $3 million, who went on to be the best bargain free agent signing of the last offseason. Fontenot will have to grab a couple more ‘Cordarrelle Pattersons’ if this roster is going to improve substantially.