Squad, Draft and goals for the season

At the dawn of the 2022 season, We Sport looks back on the situation of the 32 NFL franchises. Today, focus on the Atlanta Falcons, a franchise to rebuild where certainties are not legion.

The balance sheet of Atlanta Falcons last season

Never really recovered from their cruel defeat against the Patriots in Super Bowl LI, the Falcons began a new cycle with a new coach on the bench, Arthur Smith, in place of Dan Quinn. And, with a very insufficient workforce to join the fight in the playoffs, the one who had sublimated the attack of the Titans did not work miracles. With one of the most leaky defenses in the league and the worst pass rush of the league, the Falcons took on water and couldn’t keep up on offense. In the end, Atlanta finished third in its division and missed the playoffs for the fourth time in a row, only being able to satisfy the seasons of rookie Kyle Pitts and young AJ Terrell. Very meager satisfactions at the time of laying the foundations for the future.

[6-10]no playoffs

The movements of the off-season

Threatened last year, Matt Ryan ended up leaving Georgia, direction Indianapolis, in the offseason after his franchise failed to bid for Deshaun Watson. Nevertheless, Atlanta will always have the salary of its former quarterback on its payroll… Add to that a No. 1 receiver, Calvin Ridley, suspended all season because of a sports betting affair and you have a very delicate situation for a franchise that had many holes to plug, especially since the key losses were numerous (Fowler, Oluokun).

In this context, the Falcons tried to recruit smart and go through the draft. To replace Matt Ryan, the franchise tried the bet Marcus Mariota, whom Arthur Smith knows well, while ensuring the future by drafting Desmond Ridder in the third round. Among the notable arrivals, rookie Drake London arrives in the hope of overshadowing Calvin Ridley, while Lorenzo Carter and Rashaan Evans will try to replace Dante Fowler and Foye Oluokun. Add to that the arrival of the experienced Casey Hayward as opposed to AJ Terrell and you get a well thought-out recruitment but far from transforming the workforce.

Major arrivals: LB Lorenzo Carter (Giants) WR Bryan Edwards (Raiders), LB Rashaan Evans (Titan), CB Casey Hayward (Raiders), QB Marcus Mariota (Raiders)

Notable departures: OF Dante Fowler (Cowboys), S Duron Harmon (Raiders), YOU Hayden Hurst (Bengals), LB Foye Oluokun (Jaguars) QB matt ryan (Colts)

Extensions: DT Grady Jarrett, TO Jake Matthews, RB Cordarelle Patterson

Draft*: WR Drake London (USC), OF Arnold Ebiketie (Penn State), LB troy andersen (Montana State), QB Desmond Ridder (Cincinnati), LB DeAngelo Malone (Western Kentucky)

* Only the players selected during the first two days are mentioned.

The number of Atlanta Falcons 2022/2023

With few resources, Atlanta has not really improved a workforce filled with holes last year. In attack, Cordarrelle Patterson should still bring yards, while Kyle Pitts serves as a major offensive weapon for Marcus Mariota. The offensive line could be the barometer on this side of the field, where Jake Matthews and Chris Lindstrom are the only certainties.

On the other side of the field, the group of cornerbacks is surely the most complete, with AJ Terrell who will have to confirm his good season and who will be associated with Casey Hayward. The rest of the defense is, on the other hand, quite poor, with Grady Jarrett who acts as a thinning in the middle of a desert where a few stars (Ogundeji, Carter) could shine. Atlanta will nevertheless be able to rely on special teamers quite competent, including the kicker Youngoe Koo, extended over time during the offseason, and the handyman Cordarrelle Patterson.

Atlanta Falcons : Ambitions and ranking

For Atlanta, the direction seems clear: 2023 will be the real turning point for the franchise, with plenty of money to spend and possibly good draft picks in a class that has plenty of up-and-coming quarterbacks. This season should be used to evaluate the workforce in order to know who can be part of the new project. We should not expect prowess from Arthur Smith’s men, even if each member of the workforce will give their all knowing that they may be playing their place, starting with Marcus Mariota and his backup Desmond Ridder.

Player to watch: Marcus Mariota

Has Marcus Mariota found the stuff of a holder? Disappointing in Tennessee, the No. 2 of the 2015 Draft has restored his image in the role of lining Derek Carr in the Raiders and will be entitled to a new chance to shine in Georgia. With a coach who knows him well but a supporting cast far from optimal, Mariota will quickly have to rise to the occasion, because the breath of Desmond Ridder could quickly be felt and definitively close his hypothetical starting career in the NFL.

The calendar of Atlanta Falcons in 2022

Week 1

vs New Orleans Saints

Week 2

@Los Angeles Rams

Week 3

@Seattle Seahawks

Week 4

vs. Cleveland Browns

Week 5

@ Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Week 6

vs San Francisco 49ers

Week 7

@Cincinnati Bengals

Week 8

vs Carolina Panthers

Week 9

vs Los Angeles Chargers

Week 10

@ Carolina Panthers

Week 11

vs. Chicago Bears

Week 12

@Washington Commanders

Week 13

vs Pittsburgh Steelers

Week 14


Week 15

@ New Orleans Saints

Week 16

@Baltimore Ravens

Week 17

vs. Arizona Cardinals

Week 18

vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Feature image credit: Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports

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