Giving the Falcons a way-too-early offseason grade

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Now that the preseason is wrapped up, I want to take a look at this Falcons offseason as a whole. I’m really not a big fan of offseason grades, and especially not draft grades. Hindsight is 20/20, but I try to be fairly patient and let these guys develop before I rush to any conclusions. Everything has a scope, too; you have to consider the Falcons had very little money to work with. Yes, they traded Julio Jones, but they were also granting the wishes of one of the greatest players in franchise history. It’s hard to fault them for that. Still, I’ll do my best to take a step back and evaluate the Falcons offseason without my usual rose-colored glasses.

New Hires

I’m not going to go through every hiring on this staff, but I’m a very big fan of what Dean Pees has shown so far in the offseason. Arthur Smith is going to be fine when he actually fields the first team offense, so even though the offense has been poor in the preseason, I’m not too concerned. I also really like Dwayne Ledford‘s potential. I haven’t been totally on board with all of Terry Fontenot’s moves, but he’s playing GM with one hand tied behind his back. It’s too early to judge, but that’s what this is all about. I think the Falcons got the right guys for the job.

New Hires Grade: B

NFL Draft

The Falcons passed on hitting the reset button to try and compete, and this class will be one of the most defining in franchise history as an MVP quarterback enters his twilight years.

The Picks I Like: TE Kyle Pitts, S Richie Grant, CB Darren Hall, DT Ta’Quon Graham, EDGE Ade Ogundeji, CB Avery Williams, WR Frank Darby

The Picks I’m Not Sure About: IOL Jalen Mayfield, IOL Drew Dalman

Just because I’m not sure about Drew Dalman and Jalen Mayfield doesn’t mean I think they won’t be good players. However, they haven’t shown me much thus far, and it is a bit concerning with the interior of the offensive line being so thin. Personally, there were a LOT of players I liked in the third round, and most of them went shortly after Mayfield. It will take a while to truly get a grade on this class, but for now, I’d say it appears to be fairly down the middle of the road.

NFL Draft Grade: C+

Free Agency

For free agency, I’ll focus on the big time names that were brought in when free agency was in full swing and not all of the camp bodies that have made an appearance:


The Signings I Like: RB Mike Davis, RB/WR Cordarrelle Patterson, CB Fabian Moreau, S Duron Harmon

The Signings I Am So-So On: QB Josh Rosen, WR Tajae Sharpe, IDL Jon Bullard, OLB Brandon Copeland, S Erik Harris

The Signings I Do Not Like: QB AJ McCarron, IOL Josh Andrews, OLB Barkevious Mingo


That’s a pretty solid mix of guys at the top, but in my opinion, the Falcons failed to address some of the biggest holes on the roster. Fabian Moreau and Duron Harmon are going to be a big help to the secondary, but the offensive line and secondary are still both problem spots. Josh Rosen may not be Atlanta’s backup quarterback going into the season, but that position doesn’t move the needle too much for me. Terry Fontenot did what he could with the money he had, but there were plenty of good options with a low price tag that the Falcons let slip away.

Free Agency Grade: C-

Overall Grade

This has been one of the hardest offseasons in Falcons history, and this franchise is truly at a crossroads. Julio Jones is gone, and Arthur Smith has the responsibility of bringing back a 4-12 team that was the victim of some bad luck in 2020. Even if the roster may be a little bit worse, it’s yet to be seen if coaching can overcome the mess that the previous regime left behind.

Total Offseason Grade: C



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