Who are the Falcons top 3 players? PFF answers

NFL: NOV 26 Saints at Falcons

The Falcons didn’t make many changes to a roster that went 7-10 last season, but the few they made should be impactful in the win and loss columns, particularly one acquisition.

Coming into the offseason, everyone described the Falcons as a talented, yet underachieving roster and the proverbial quarterback away. If you watched any games last year, you know the single biggest factor in Atlanta’s underwhelming 2023 campaign was poor quarterback play.

That’s no longer an excuse. Arthur Blank gave Raheem Morris and Terry Fontenot the go-ahead to ink Kirk Cousins to a $180 million deal with $90 million of it guaranteed. He stabilizes the most important position in the sport, and the Falcons have their eyes set on a postseason berth.

Cousins immediately becomes the most important player for the Falcons this season, and an argument could be made that he’s one of the best players on the club this season; Pro Football Focus is making that argument, naming Cousins, Jessie Bates III, and Chris Lindstrom as the Falcons three best players.

Chris Lindstrom was once again the highest-graded Falcons player on offense last season, earning an 89.7 overall grade. This marks the third year in a row where he has graded above 84.0 as one of the best offensive linemen in football.

Safety Jessie Bates III also earned an elite season grade (90.6), and he was named a first-team All-Pro. Quarterback Kirk Cousins is new in town and coming off one of his least aggressive seasons in terms of pushing the ball down the field and big-time throws, which could be a sign his age is catching up to him. But he has been so efficient in his career that he can’t be left off this list, as he will be a major catalyst for Atlanta’s playoff push, if one is to be made.

Also Considered: CB A.J. Terrell, DI Calais Campbell

I’m not quite sure if PFF knows that Calais Campbell isn’t on the Falcons anymore or if they know something we don’t.

Kidding aside, I really don’t think this is even an argument about who the Falcons’ two best players are — Lindstrom and Bates. They’re coming off All-Pro campaigns and are pillars of this franchise. To say Atlanta’s financial investment in the pair has worked out would be a massive understatement. They’re two of the best players in the league at their respective positions.

Where the arguments begin is for the final spot. I’d say A.J. Terrell, Bijan Robinson, Kyle Pitts, Grady Jarrett, David Onyemata, and Kirk Cousins all have cases.

Terrell has an All-Pro bid but has regressed over the last two seasons. If we are comparing players relative to their positions, there aren’t many running backs I’m taking over Robinson and tight ends over Pitts. Jarrett and Onyemata aren’t the league’s best interior defenders, but they’re instrumental in Atlanta’s defensive success.

However, if we are going based on positional value, Cousins should probably get the nod. Being an above-average quarterback in this league is infinitely more valuable than being elite at a lot of positions.

Photographer: David J. Griffin/Icon Sportswire

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