Falcons: Three options to improve a thin receiving core

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The NFL draft is quickly approaching, and the Falcons have a glaring hole in the roster at wide receiver. Aside from Kyle Pitts, the entire group of pass catchers is uninspiring, thanks largely to Calvin Ridley‘s suspension. So how should the team fill the gap? An obvious answer would be the draft, given how near it is, but there are a variety of intriguing options remaining on the free-agent market as well. 

Dede Westbrook

The former Oklahoma Sooner has had a tough career but has flashed enormous potential. At the combine, Westbrook posted a 4.39 in the 40-yard dash, third among receivers that year. He’s proven that he can perform at the NFL level, too, catching 66 passes for 717 yards in 2018. Health has been what has held him back, and it would be nice if he could ever get a decent quarterback throwing him the ball. In 2020, Westbrook suffered a gruesome injury that cost him the rest of the season, so signing him would be a risky move, but the potential reward makes him worth it. He can be a starting-caliber receiver in this league. 

Adam Humphries

Adam Humphries is a journeyman wideout that’s spent time in Tampa Bay, Tennessee, and most recently, Washington. The sure-handed 28-year-old has seen a dip in targets following a 2018 season in which he gained 816 yards. This is likely due to him being overshadowed in Tennessee by AJ Brown and Corey Davis, and Terry McLaurin in Washington. Humphries isn’t the flashiest receiver in the league, but he’d be a reliable secondary target for former teammate Marcus Mariota. The familiarity with Arthur Smith’s offense is also a perk. 

Jameson Williams

One of the top receiver prospects in this year’s draft, Jameson Williams’ monster season at Alabama vaulted him up draft boards. After being overlooked at Ohio State for two seasons, he transferred to the Crimson Tide, where he hauled in 79 catches for 1,572 yards. That, along with his 15 touchdowns, established him as a top wideout in this year’s draft. However, the CFP National Championship brought disaster when Williams tore his ACL.

Like Westbrook, one of Williams’ greatest assets is his blazing speed. I love the combination of a speedy receiver and Kyle Pitts’ size and strength. In addition, taking Williams rather than a hyped-up prospect such as Drake London gives Atlanta the option to swap picks with a QB-needy team. Personally, I’m not high on any of this year’s quarterbacks and think the Falcons should give Mariota a look and wait for another draft.

 

Photographer: Ken Murray/Icon Sportswire

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