Falcons post-draft roster needs and potential free agent targets

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The Falcons approached free agency with the hope of filling the roster’s holes before the draft, thus enabling Terry Fontenot and Arthur Smith to remain flexible.

For the first time in quite a long time, the club doesn’t have glaring holes after the draft. Sure, there are position groups that can stand to be upgraded, but there aren’t any dire situations. Atlanta would be just fine rolling into Week 1 with its current roster.

Still, there’s no room for complacency in the NFL; here are a few more areas that I would like the Falcon to bolster and potential free agents available to sign.

Wide Receiver

Outside of Drake London, this position is the thinnest on the roster. Sure, Bijan Robinson and Cordarrelle Patterson can assume a portion of these snaps in the slot or even out wide. Kyle Pitts can as well, but Mack Hollins and Scotty Miller aren’t exactly inspiring WR2 and WR3.

Hollins is coming off a campaign where he put up nearly 700 yards and four scores on 57 receptions, and he’s well-versed as a blocker. Miller is a field stretcher, but there are still able bodies on the market that would really improve this area of the Falcons:

Jarvis Landry
Kenny Golladay
Sammy Watkins
Julio Jones
Corey Davis (hopefully maybe)

There aren’t very many inspiring options on the free agent market. Julio Jones, Sammy Watkins, and Jarvis Landry are past their primes and don’t exactly work in Atlanta right now, but Kenny Golladay is intriguing.

After signing a four-year, $72 million deal with the Giants in 2021, he only lasted two very lackluster seasons in the Big Apple. He did have 183 catches, 3,068 yards and 21 touchdowns during his four years in Detroit to start his career, so there’s a chance for a veteran minimum deal that would be a low-risk, high-reward type move for the Falcons.

Corey Davis is the one everybody has their eyes on, though. The Jets can save over $10 million against the cap while incurring just $666,667 in dead money if they cut him after signing him to a three-year contract worth $37.5 million a couple of years ago. Many people still expect him to be released, but for whatever reason, New York is dragging its feet.

The fit in Atlanta is seamless. Davis’ best season came in 2020 with the Titans, when Arthur Smith was the offensive coordinator in Tennessee. Davis hauled in 65 passes for nearly 1,000 yards and five scores that year. The Falcons make perfect sense as a landing spot if the Jets part ways with him.

Insider Linebacker

Kaden Elliss and Troy Andersen are primed to assume most of the snaps at inside linebacker, but Elliss will almost surely move up to the line of scrimmage as a pass rusher in a lot of third down situations.

Mykal Walker struggled in a full-time role under Dean Pees last year; maybe that changes under Ryan Nielsen, but I wouldn’t count on it. Dorian Etheridge and Tae Davis round out the roster, but it will be a special teams role for the pair. A reserve linebacker with legit experience should be the target.

Zach Cunningham
Damien Wilson
Myles Jack
Deion Jones
Jaylon Smith
Kwon Alexander
Anthony Barr
Kyle Van Noy
Rashaan Evans

Some of these guys are also past their primes and injury liabilities, but there are a few that are intriguing.

Rashaan Evans is familiar with the Falcons, and a possible reunion has consistently been mentioned throughout the offseason, but there are a couple of others that are more attractive, in my opinion.

Anthony Barr and Kyle Van Noy can do a lot of the same things that Kaden Elliss can do. Sure, both are aging veterans, but I still think teams can rely on them. Van Noy would be my ideal target.

During his one-year stint with the Chargers, he played 70% of the defensive snaps in 13 games and wound up with 46 tackles, eight tackles for loss, five sacks and nine quarterback hits. He’s capable of playing off-ball linebacker but coming down as a pass rusher off the edge in certain instances.

Swing Tackle

The Falcons might be fine rolling with Ethan Greenidge or Germain Ifedi. The former is versatile but has never started. The latter doesn’t have much experience on the left side. I wouldn’t mind adding some real experience, though.

Cameron Fleming
Isaiah Wynn

Cam Fleming isn’t coming in to start 17 games anymore, but he will be an asset for someone. The 30-year-old made starts for the Broncos last season at left and right tackle; that’s the kind of versatility the Falcons covet. He gave up a lot of sacks and committed a similar amount of penalties, but if Kaleb McGary or Jake Matthews go down with an injury, Fleming should be able to step right in and give Atlanta decent play.

Photographer: Michael Allio/Icon Sportswire
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