Report: Falcons have met with at least 13 RBs at Combine

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The Falcons are sending signals that the Devonta Freeman era is over in Atlanta. According to Will McFadden of AtlantaFalcons.com, the team has already met with at least 13 backs at this year’s NFL Combine.

The names we know of are as follows:

AJ Dillon, Boston College
Anthony McFarland Jr., Maryland
Cam Akers, Florida State
Clyde Edwards-Helaire, LSU
Darius Anderson, TCU
Eno Benjamin, Arizona State
J.K. Dobbins, Ohio State
Jonathan Taylor, Wisconsin
Joshua Kelley, UCLA
Ke’Shawn Vaughn, Vanderbilt
La’Michael Perine, Florida
Patrick Taylor Jr., Memphis
Zack Moss, Utah

There is a ton of upside in this group, and even with a bunch of Juniors electing to return to school, it is a deep class.

The most exciting names on this list by far are Clyde Edwards-Helaire, J.K. Dobbins, and Jonathan Taylor — three guys I believe will be outstanding every-down backs at the next level. Cam Akers is a considerable upside play worth taking a gamble on, and if the Falcons wait until later in the Draft, I am high on Darius Anderson, Joshua Kelley, Eno Benjamin, Zack Moss, and A.J. Dillon as well. It is a fantastic year to be in the market for some fresh legs.

The writing has been on the wall for Freeman based on the team’s cap situation, as well as comments made by team owner Arthur Blank. He is not the same back he was when he received his big deal, and the Falcons can save $3.5 million by cutting Freeman, though it will create $6 million in dead cap. Even if the Falcons do ultimately bring back Freeman, which I think is unlikely, the team must draft a back anyways. Devonta only played 51% of the snaps last season, but no backup stood out as a potential starting option.

The team also will not meet with De’Andre Swift at the Combine:

This could be indicative of how they value Swift, but more likely, it means they will be waiting at least a couple of selections before taking a back.

It seems the Falcons may really like J.K. Dobbins, as he has the first formal interview with the team that we have learned about among the running backs:

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