How has Falcons approach in free agency affected their draft?

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The Falcons have been one of the most active teams this offseason. Armed with the second-most cap space in the league, Terry Fontenot has shelled out nearly $250 million in contracts over the last few days.

Atlanta made Chirs Lindstrom the highest-paid guard in the league with a $105 million contract extension. Jessie Bates III is the newest member of the defense’s secondary, and he’ll be the fourth-highest-paid player at his position. The team also handed lucrative three-year deals to David Onyemata and Kaden Elliss. Most recently, the Falcons brought back Kaleb McGary at a very team-friendly rate. Other moves garnered less national attention but are critical all the same in Bradley Pinion, Keith Smith, and Taylor Heinicke.

The front office filled massive holes on the first two days of free agency — competition for Desmond Ridder in training camp, impact players at all three levels of the defense, and a right tackle. However, there remain needs across the roster.

The Falcons could use another receiver to play opposite Drake London; Corey Davis would be my personal choice. Matt Hennessy, Jalen Mayfield, or Justin Shaffer could fill the left guard position, but a veteran like Elijah Wilkinson would be a better option.

Defensively, the Falcons still must add a starting nickel defender, whether that be a safety or corner. Despite re-signing Lorenzo Carter, the edge position needs some TLC as well. It doesn’t have to be a high-end talent, but the rotation isn’t encouraging as it stands.

Beyond that, depth across the roster can be improved, specifically at corner and across the defensive line. The good news is the front office has positioned itself nicely to finish out free agency and gear up for the draft.

Terry Fontenot has addressed the most glaring holes on the roster in free agency, which he has done in the previous two offseasons, thus allowing him and his staff to remain flexible during the draft to select the best player available.

The Falcons still have enough cap space to make a few more free agent additions to fill those holes I just pointed out. Then, the focus will shift to the draft, where the team will once again be in a BPA draft strategy.

The team could draft one of the highly touted cornerbacks, giving the defense a real identity and strength for the first time in years. They could choose to select one of the tackle prospects to fill in at guard and eventually replace Kaleb McGary or Jake Matthews. Tyree Wilson would be a potential difference-making pass rusher for a defense that desperately needs one. Hell, Bijan Robinson could even be in play for a team that vows to take the best player on the board. I even think a quarterback is possible if the right prospect falls to the Falcons.

The world (draft) is Terry Fontenot and the Falcons’ oyster because of their successful free agency.

Photographer: Zach Bolinger/Icon Sportswire

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