Every NFL team will have reported to training camp by the end of the day on Tuesday. The Falcons will be in Flowery Branch as they begin the second season in the new regime’s tenure with plenty to look forward to. The club will rely heavily on first and second-year players while closing the book on the Matt Ryan era. Despite the seven wins, Atlanta wasn’t a good team last year, and they undoubtedly got worse this offseason. Arthur Smith and the coaching staff pulled out a few unlikely wins in 2021, and they’ll have to do it again this year because everyone in the NFL world expects the Falcons to be one of, if not the worst team in football. USA Today predicts them to only win two games in 2022, giving them the No. 1 overall pick in the 2023 NFL Draft.
Summer is officially over. If I think your team stinks, no offense intended. Now, onward to my annual #NFL record projections … sorry, but you'll have to click for the playoff forecast! https://t.co/lY7XzpcGgK pic.twitter.com/jb6sOWc6K0
— Nate Davis (@ByNateDavis) July 26, 2022
Some Falcons fans might be a bit insulted by this prediction, and the team will probably win more than two games, but I don’t think it’s that far off. Atlanta isn’t going to win more than five games, so fans can expect the Falcons to be competing with the Texans and Bears for the No. 1 overall pick in next year’s draft.
It’s not all bad either. The Falcons are clearly rebuilding, and if they’re picking at the top of the draft in 2023, they’ll have an excellent chance to snag a Kyle Pitts-esque prospect like Will Anderson or Bryce Young. Obviously, the team already drafted a potential Matt Ryan successor in Desmond Ridder, but there’s no reason to believe the Falcons would pass on a potential superstar like Young.
Strap in, Falcons fans; it’s going to be a difficult year. Success won’t come from wins and losses but rather individual development. The team has plenty of young pieces to build around, and this will be a monumental year for some. Richie Grant needs to take a step forward. Jalen Mayfield can’t possibly be as bad as he was as a rookie. Drake London, Arnold Ebiketie, and DeAngelo Malone all look like promising players. The Falcons roster isn’t completely barren of talent; it’s just a lot of unproven commodities at this point. 2022 will be interesting for a variety of reasons; winning football games just won’t be one of the bright spots.