PFF’s 2024 bounce-back candidate for Falcons may shock fans

Falcons AJ Terrell Atlanta Falcons schedule release

We are approaching the most highly anticipated Falcons season in quite some time following the acquisition of Kirk Cousins and the hiring of Raheem Morris.

Atlanta finished 7-10 in each of the three seasons under Arthur Smith, but 2023 was far more disappointing than the others, leaving many to describe them as a talented yet underachieving roster.

It’s Morris’ job to help the Falcons’ young pieces realize their full potential, and there are plenty that have yet to even sniff their ceiling, most notably the three top 10 picks in Kyle Pitts, Drake London, and Bijan Robinson.

Pitts hasn’t come close to the level of success he had in his rookie season. Even though much of it should be attributed to the Falcons poor quarterback play and injuries, neither of which should be an excuse this season. Drake London has never had even a halfway decent quarterback, so he’s certainly a breakout candidate to watch. Bijan Robinson is also expected to have a big 2024 campaign as well.

However, it’s none of those players that Pro Football Focus pegged as the Falcons bounce-back candidate for the upcoming season.

Atlanta Falcons: CB A.J. Terrell

The Falcons field several blue-chip youngsters who could dominate in 2024, and Terrell headlines those looking to regain traction. Terrell was one of the NFL’s best cornerbacks in 2021, but his past two seasons haven’t met that mark. He finished with overall grades below 75.0 and passer ratings allowed of at least 95.0 in 2022 and 2023.

With defensive-oriented head coach Raheem Morris in place, Terrell should benefit from one of the game’s better minds on that side of the ball. It’s no coincidence that Morris had success with Jalen Ramsey and helped develop players like Darious Williams with the Rams. With his contract set to expire at the end of the year, Terrell has an extra incentive to play like the superstar he showcased he once was.

London and Robinson shouldn’t necessarily be considered bounce-back candidates, but rather breakout candidates because they’ve never reached the heights that A.J. Terrell or Kyle Pitts have.

With that being said, Terrell reached All-Pro status and then regressed in back-to-back seasons, but the reality is that Terrell is probably not one of the four best corners each season. That’s not to say the last two seasons are who he is; it’s more to say his All-Pro season was an outlier.

However, Kyle Pitts’ rookie campaign was more of an indicator of who he can be consistently — in the same conversation as Travis Kelce, George Kittle, and Mark Andrews.

Photographer: David J. Griffin/Icon Sportswire


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