New Falcons To Fly?
By: Robert Craft
TheSouthernSportsEdition.com news services
The Atlanta Falcons added six players in the draft and felt that all six would improve their team in some way.
“From the first pick, No. 8 overall, to the eighth pick in the seventh round, the theme has been smart, tough, highly competitive players that fit what we’re about, fit our makeup,” general manager Terry Fontenot said. “Versatile, smart football players. Very excited about the outcome of this draft.”
Sure, if we had a “worst pick” category, the Robinson pick might fit there, because there are legitimate questions about the wisdom of taking a running back with a top-10 pick, but those arguments center on roster construction and salary-cap management.
On the field, no player in this draft could have added more spice to the Falcons roster than the former Texas running back.
The Falcons already had one of the NFL’s most potent rushing offenses. They led the league with 559 rushes and were third in the league in rushing EPA and rushing success rate.
Tyler Allgeier(4.9), last year’s fifth-round pick, and Cordarrelle Patterson(4.8) each ranked in the top 13 of the NFL in yards per carry and each had more than 690 yards on the ground.
Patterson, who is entering his 10th professional season, could see his role in the running game diminished because of Robinson’s addition, but Allgeier will not. The rotation remains strong it seems.
Matthew Bergeron (2nd round pick)will help solidify the offensive front if he can win a starting job, luckily the Falcons can adjust if he does not.
Robinson, meanwhile, will be a huge part of the rotation right away. He can affect every area of the offense.
The Falcons needed a left guard and drafted a player who has one practice day of experience at the position.
Bergeron played tackle throughout his career at Syracuse, and at 6-5, 318 pounds, he’s not built like a guard. But the team believes he has the strength and, just as importantly, the intelligence, to play inside on the line of scrimmage.
The Falcons drafted like a team that believes it’s going to be pretty darn good in 2023. Their offseason spending spree included $179.8 million of guaranteed money.
By the time the draft rolled around, a team that went 7-10 in 2022 had filled most of its roster holes, leaving it with flexibility in the draft.
The selection of Robinson could take a potent offense to another level as long as Ridder can run the show efficiently.
Defensively, the Falcons clearly felt good about their free-agency moves because they talked about third-round edge selection Zach Harrison like a developmental prospect who they don’t expect much from in 2023.
Atlanta needed to add a cornerback at some point during the draft and they left with All-American Clark Phillips III in the fourth round.
They then added two players in the 7th round (Alabama safety DeMarcco Hellams and offensive guard Jovaughn Gwyn). Both players will be in a tough battle to make the roster.
For Atlanta, everything will come down to Ridder. The last two months have taken the Falcons’ roster from one of the thinnest in the league to one with realistic playoff goals.
If the quarterback can handle the job, they will be in the division race throughout the season.
There were mixed emotions from some football fans, the home-town Atlanta Falcons had a chance to take UGA star defensive lineman Jalen Carter with the No. 8 pick. Instead, they chose Texas running back Bijan Robinson. How will history remember the pick?
Will the Falcons look foolish in three years for taking a running back in the top 10? In the new era of pro football, in which teams do not pay running backs.