Falcons part ways with yet another from Terry Fontenot’s first draft class

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Terry Fontenot’s first draft class as Falcons GM has turned out to be a real stinker.

The team announced on Thursday that they’ve parted ways with yet another member of the 2021 draft class, Ade Ogundeji.

He was originally a fifth-round pick and got some burn immediately, starting 11 out of 16 games during his rookie campaign, logging a sack and 33 tackles to go with two quarterback hits, a pass breakup and a fumble recovery.

The following season, he tallied just two sacks in 16 games. Though a foot injury during training camp ended his season prematurely, Ogundeji was certainly not going to put up more than a few sacks again.

Looking back at that 2021 draft class is quite unsettling. Kyle Pitts headlined the Falcons class and hasn’t lived up to the billing of the highest-drafted tight end in NFL history. Granted, poor quarterback play and injuries have hampered his production, so this is a big season for him.

What makes it especially bothersome is the players taken after Pitts. We aren’t talking Pro Bowlers. We are talking perennial All-Pros; some of the best players at their respective positions — Ja’Marr Chase, Micah Parsons, Patrick Surtain II, and Penei Sewell.

I’m very willing to give Pitts another season before declaring him a bust. With Kirk Cousins and Zac Robinson in the fold, there’s reason to be optimistic, but that’s not the case for any other member of the 2021 draft class other than Drew Dalman.

Richie Grant is entering a contract year and was supplanted by a rookie seventh-round pick last season. Jalen Mayfield, Darren Hall, Ade Ogundeji, and Frank Darby are no longer with the team.

Ta’Quon Graham is competing with a lot of bodies for reps this season, and Avery Williams is coming off a major injury. It’s not hyperbolic to say the Falcons threw a stinker in 2021. There’s no other way around it.

Photographer: Rich von Biberstein/Icon Sportswire

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