The Falcons are 1-2 heading into their Week 4 matchup at home against the Browns. Rightfully, many fans believe Atlanta should be 2-1 after a blown fourth-quarter lead in the season opener against the Saints. And honestly, the Falcons had a real opportunity of upsetting the Rams in Week 2, but those dreams were crushed by a mind-boggling interception from Marcus Mariota.
There have been bright spots in each of the team’s three games. The offense is the real deal, and the defense looked like a completely different unit in Week 1. Obviously, Dean Pees’ group has faltered since then. The offensive line is vastly improved, and the production reflects that — ranking in or near the top 10 in most offensive categories.
Despite the Falcons jumping into a rebuild this offseason after trading Matt Ryan away, they’ve remained competitive in each of their losses — a stark difference from 2021. And they’re getting contributions from veterans and rookies alike. In fact, the highest-graded Falcon is a first-year player, per PFF. Moreover, according to the site, a member of the 2021 draft class is among the top performers.
Top-graded Falcons in 2022 (so far):
1. Drake London – 82.5
2. Chris Lindstrom – 80.2
3. Richie Grant – 77.5 pic.twitter.com/gP97FJgqEP
— PFF ATL Falcons (@PFF_Falcons) September 29, 2022
Drake London is not only the highest graded member of the team but also the highest-graded rookie wideout, per PFF. After another impressive outing against Seattle in which he put up three receptions for 54 yards and a score, London’s total is up to 16 receptions for 214 yards and two touchdowns. The No. 8 overall pick has been outstanding for the Falcons, impressing in all facets. Whenever Atlanta figures the quarterback position out, London and Kyle Pitts will make that signal caller a very happy man.
Chris Lindstrom being on the list shouldn’t surprise anyone; he’s consistently been one of the best players on this team, constantly improving each season. The Falcons picked up his fifth-year option this past offseason, and it’s easy to see why. The Boston College product is a force in the run game and his pass sets aren’t far behind. Despite not getting much love, like most offensive linemen, Lindstrom deserves the praise.
And last but certainly not least, Richie Grant has been a breakout player for this team. After not playing much at all his rookie season, the former second-rounder has been a mainstay for Dean Pees and the Falcons’ defense, leading that side of the ball in snaps, only missing one through three games. But the production has been there too. He’s the second-leading tackler on the team, behind only Rashaan Evans, and is second on the team in pass breakups as well, behind A.J. Terrell. Grant also sealed the Falcons’ first win of the season with a fourth-down interception in the red zone.
Some others I’ve been personally impressed with are Kaleb McGary, Elijah Wilkinson, Cordarrelle Patterson, Olamide Zaccheaus, Ta’Quon Graham, and Mykal Walker. The Falcons have some studs to build around; fans should be excited about the future.
Photographer: Chris Williams/Icon Sportswire