Falcons relying on internal development as much as free agent additions

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The Falcons boast several fresh faces, most notably on the defensive end. Equipped with the second-largest cap space going into the offseason, Terry Fontenot wasted no time in signing high-profile free agents.

Headlining the new additions are Jessie Bates III, David Onyemata, Kaden Elliss, and Calais Campbell. However, others like Bud Dupree, Lorenzo Carter, Kaleb McGary, Mike Hughes, Mack Hollins, and Eddie Goldman are poised to provide key roles and depth.

While the Falcons are placing their bets on veterans to steer the team, sustainable success lies in the ability to draft and cultivate talent. The franchise is leaning as heavily on internal development as it is on the influx of free agents.

On offense, the line could rise to prominence if Drew Dalman takes another leap forward. An exceptional center can markedly uplift an entire unit’s performance. Meanwhile, rookie Matthew Bergeron may start at left guard. His potential impact is a storyline to watch all season long; the Falcons need him to be at least serviceable. Additionally, the continued development of Kyle Pitts, Drake London, and Tyler Allgeier will be crucial for the team’s fortunes.

On defense, the coaching staff places even greater trust in the younger players. Troy Andersen, Richie Grant, and Arnold Ebiketie are slated to play substantial roles in 2023. All have weathered rookie difficulties, but as they move into their second seasons (Grant’s third), the time has come to live up to their second-round pick status.

Furthermore, players such as Ta’Quon Graham, DeAngelo Malone, and Jaylinn Hawkins, who will be taking on a rotational role, will be integral to the Falcons achieving their ultimate goal.

Yes, the veteran free agent additions have significantly elevated the team. However, without the growth of drafted players, the coaching staff and the front office may find their tenure short-lived.

Photographer: Rich Graessle/Icon Sportswire

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