There has been one consistent theme in each of the Falcons three drafts under the new regime — trading in 2nd round.
In Arthur Smith and Terry Fontenot’s first cycle, the club moved back and landed Richie Grant. Then, last year, they moved up to grab Arnold Ebiketie and later landed Troy Andersen. Most recently, the Falcons traded up to take Syracuse lineman Matthew Bergeron.
Now, these moves are entirely circumstantial. The Falcons aren’t moving around for the sake of it; they saw value in moving up or down, and executed it. However, Falcons fans can come to expect this sort of activity every year.
Terry Fontenot cut his teeth with the Saints, learning under Mickey Loomis, who is among the most active GMs in football when it comes to trading in the draft.
The reason I bring up all of the 2nd round picks from this regime’s tenure is that Matthew Bergeron’s rookie season will be much different from Grant, Andersen, or Ebiketie’s.
I expect the Falcons to immediately thrust Bergeron into the starting lineup, with the hope that he will assume 100% of the offensive snaps. That would be a first for this regime.
The Falcons’ 2021 2nd-round pick only played 23.5% of the defensive snaps his rookie season; Grant mainly contributed on special teams, amassing over 75% of the snaps in the third phase of the game.
That trend continued last year with Andersen and Ebiketie. The former took nearly 43% of the defensive snaps in 2022, but that figure would’ve been lower had Mykal Walker performed better as a starter. Andersen still contributed on special teams, logging over 60% of the snaps. Ebiketie played a bit more, 46% of defensive snaps, but was still relegated to a rotational role.
Though Andersen and Ebiketie outperformed Grant in their respective rookie seasons, none of them will come close to the amount of playing time that Bergeron will accumulate in 2023.
Photographer: John Byrum/Icon Sportswire
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