Falcons relying on internal familiarity when signing free agents

DHH19121506 HOU at TEN

The Falcons are developing a preference for draft prospects. In the past two draft hauls, many of Atlanta’s selections have been graduates of the Reese’s Senior Bowl. Those players are also versatile and eager to prove doubters wrong. Moreover, the Falcons have started to grow a habit of signing free agents with a connection to the coaching staff and/or front office.

Beginning with the staff, Arthur Smith and Dean Pees spent time in Tennessee before reuniting in Atlanta. The Falcons have brought in a bevy of former Titans. The team has signed six total former players of the two men at this point in the offseason — Marcus Mariota, Anthony Firkser, Rashaan Evans, Jeremy McNichols, Beau Brinkley, and Cameron Batson.

They have also begun acquiring former Bears players, given the recent addition of Ryan Pace to the front office. However, this pipeline from Chicago to Atlanta began last year due to Charles London and Dave Ragone. They famously sparked the Cordarrelle Patterson signing, which has to be one of the best value signings in team history. However, the injection of Pace into Fontenot’s team has resulted in an explosion of former Bears signing with Atlanta.

At one point in time, as many as six currently rostered players played in Chicago — Cordarrelle Patterson, Damien Williams, Damiere Byrd, Elijah Wilkerson, Germain Ifedi, and Nick Kwiatkoski.

That is 12 players with connections to the staff and front office, but it’s not including the more subtle relationships. Frank Bush, Marquice Williams, Ted Monachino, and Jon Hoke also have their fingerprints on the roster. I imagine area scouts and other subordinates in the front office have lesser-known connections to the roster as well.

The Falcons clearly value what their people say, for better or worse.

Photographer: Matthew Maxey/Icon Sportswire

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