NFL pundits can criticize the Atlanta Falcons for failing to address the pass rush early in recent drafts. But the players general manager Terry Fontenot has been selecting have become stars.
Excluding this year’s first-round pick, running back Bijan Robinson, Pro Football Focus ranked each of Atlanta’s past three first-round picks on their list of the top 25 players under the age of 25.
The team’s 2022 first-round pick, wide receiver Drake London, led the group at No. 20 on the list. Tight end Kyle Pitts, the No. 4 overall selection in the 2021 draft, was right behind him at No. 21.
The Falcons’ 2020 first-round pick, cornerback A.J. Terrell, followed those two skilled players at No. 22.
“London had 14 contested catches with an impressive 53.8% contested catch percentage,” wrote PFF’s Trevor Sikkema. “He also posted a 27.2% wide receive usage rate in the offense, which shows the team placed a lot of trust in the rookie. That should continue moving forward.”
Sikkema admitted it was difficult to rank Pitts. But he wrote that the 22-year-old “still has one of the highest ceilings of any tight end” when healthy.
As for Terrell, he’s coming off a disappointing 2022 season. But Sikkema blamed the Falcons’ front seven for the young cornerbacks struggles.
“With more talent around him this year, we’ll get a better feel for what to expect of Terrell moving forward,” wrote Sikkema.
The Falcons were one of six teams with multiple players on PFF’s top 25 players under 25 list. The Dallas Cowboys were the only other organization who had three players.
Other than Atlanta, the Minnesota Vikings, Cincinnati Bengals and Detroit Lions were the other teams with multiple offensive players on the list. Furthermore, the Bengals joined the Falcons as the only other team with more than one pass catcher.