Falcons well represented on ESPN’s 2023 All-Youngster Team

NFL: SEP 17 Packers at Falcons

The Falcons don’t have a very great football team, but it’s one that is ripe for a capable quarterback to take them to the postseason and potentially beyond. The bones are in place.

The defense has cornerstone pieces in AJ Terrell and Jessie Bates with veterans in the trenches in David Onyemata and Grady Jarrett. Then there are those who could still ascend into star-esque caliber players like Kaden Elliss and Arnold Ebiketie.

Offensively, there are even more building blocks. Matthew Bergeron and Chris Lindstrom are primed to be one of the best guard duos in the league, who block for a trio of playmakers that every club would dream of having in Kyle Pitts, Drake London, and Bijan Robinson.

In fact, a pair of those stars were included in ESPN’s 2023 All-Youngster Team which was made up of those under 24 years old.

First team: Bijan Robinson, Atlanta Falcons

Current age: 21

No, Robinson’s first season hasn’t produced the type of stats we expected when the Falcons made him the No. 8 overall pick in April’s draft, but his talent is still obvious. The rookie back is No. 9 in the league with 63.9 rushing yards per game and has added 32 catches out of the backfield. A back with his power, speed, contact balance and receiving skills should ideally see 20-plus touches per game going forward and can become an even bigger part of this Atlanta offense.

Second team: Kyle Pitts, Atlanta Falcons

Current age: 23

Pitts is a case of betting on potential and not looking too much at previous production, given the quarterback play and scheme in Atlanta. The No. 4 overall pick of the 2021 draft, Pitts had 68 catches as a rookie but just 28 last season and 37 so far in 2023. When the Falcons can get him the ball, he’s averaging 7.3 yards per target and has yet to drop a pass all season. He has the traits to see an uptick in stats.

Sam La Porta edged out Kyle Pitts for the first-team tight end, but that has less to do with La Porta’s ability and more to do with his circumstances. Jared Goff is better than any quarterback Pitts has had to play with since entering the league. I wouldn’t take many tight ends over Pitts if the quarterback situation in Atlanta improves.

Bijan Robinson, on the other hand, is the best player at his respective position in the best possible situation. The star running back is going to garner between 15-20 touches every week in Arthur Smith’s system.

Along with Drake London, these two offensive weapons are what quarterbacks dream of playing with. Atlanta is set up in a big way for that guy to come in and take this team to the next level.

Photographer: Rich von Biberstein/Icon Sportswire

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