Pair of Falcons among highest graded rookies, per PFF

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The Falcons formula for roster building has been quite simple — use existing resources, rookie deals, and short-term stopgap veterans to fill in the cracks. Terry Fontenot deserves credit for his work with such little cap dollars to spend, which he inherited from the former regime in the form of bloated, overpriced contracts.

To Arthur Smith’s credit, the Falcons are still a feisty bunch, but the roster’s talent level has certainly been exposed at times. The first-time head coach has turned this team into a scrappy, run-first group that thrives on winning in unorthodox ways in today’s NFL. And some of that success is due to the young players on the roster. The new regime’s first draft class is contributing — Kyle Pitts, Richie Grant, Drew Dalman, Ta’Quon Graham, Avery Williams, Ade Ogundeji — in big ways, but so is this year’s rookie class.

Drake London looks promising if Atlanta could get a quarterback who could throw the ball consistently. Arnold Ebiketie will likely have a similar developmental arc as Grant, which is encouraging. Tyler Allgeier has stepped up in Cordarrelle Patterson‘s absence. Troy Andersen hasn’t burst onto the scene yet, but his physical ability is second-to-none at linebacker. And two of them are among the top-graded rookies around the league, per PFF.

London may not have the gaudy numbers that some rookie pass catchers have had — Justin Jefferson, Ja’Marr Chase, etc. — but he makes the most out of his opportunities — 38 receptions for 407 yards and three touchdowns. Marcus Mariota being the team’s quarterback puts him at a disadvantage. London is actually among the top ten pass catchers with the highest off-target rates.

Of all those on the list, the Falcons rookie is one of three players — Amari Cooper and Darnell Mooney — with a catch rate higher than 60%. London has come as advertised, so it’s no surprise PFF has noticed.

Allgeier is quite the surprise, though. Coming into the year, I expected him to get some burn but not as much as he’s gotten in the wake of Cordarrelle Patterson’s injury. Through nine games, the BYU product has totaled a team-leading 443 yards and one touchdown on 102 carries. He’s shown an ability to perform adequately in all facets — pass protection, receiving, etc. He’s already a big part of the Falcons’ rushing attack.

Photographer: David J. Griffin/Icon Sportswire

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