The Atlanta Falcons had one of the busiest offseasons in recent memory. They were finally big players in free agency and added one of the most dynamic players in the NFL Draft.
They could have at least 10 new starters on Week 1 of the 2023 season after scraping by with castoffs from the Chicago Bears and Tennessee Titans to fill out their roster the last two years.
Last week Bill Barnwell of ESPN+ ranked the offseasons from each NFL team, and his list looked suspiciously like an NFL Power Ranking. He ranked the Falcons’ offseason as the seventh-worst in the NFL.
A team coming off a seven-win season with the seventh-worst offseason should be going backwards, right? It’s hard… real hard… to look at the Falcons roster and think they got worse.
Marc Sessler of NFL.com seemed to take a more logical approach to judging the improvement of a team. You know… did they actually improve this offseason?
With all the new faces in Atlanta, Sessler concluded that the Falcons were one of the 10 most improved teams in the NFL.
The Falcons have morphed into a hammer. They emit the vibe of an old-school Belichickian Patriots squad ready to blast through teams like it’s 2001.
A mountain of cap space allowed the club to splurge, but the pieces fit. The front office wisely sealed up their own young talent with new deals for guard Chris Lindstrom and tackle Kaleb McGary. The Falcons then peered beyond to pad their offense — trading for Arthur Smith’s former pupil Jonnu Smith and signing plucky backup passer Taylor Heinicke — while amping up the defense with deals for Jessie Bates, David Onyemata and Calais Campbell. Atlanta also sent a fifth-rounder to the Lions for a chance on hot-and-cold cover man Jeff Okudah.
The Falcons then added strength on strength in the draft, picking up offensive lineman Matthew Bergeron out of Syracuse after landing electric runner Bijan Robinson with the No. 8 overall pick. With Tyler Allgeier already a backfield force, the Falcons are a logical candidate to lead the league in rushing attempts — especially when it’s unclear if Desmond Ridder is the answer.Marc Sessler, NFL.com
Sessler is one of the few NFL pundits who are willing to admit they don’t have the answer on Ridder when so many of them are willing label him a liability.
The Falcons roster is much improved over the previous two seasons when the Falcons were able to scratch and claw their way to seven wins.
With the investments in the roster, the expectations will be higher in Atlanta and the pressure higher on third-year coach Arthur Smith.
Smith has overachieved the last two seasons, and if he does it again in 2023 with this group, the Atlanta Falcons will be back in the playoffs for the first time since 2017.