Fairly quickly, we’re going to have an abundance of Falcons-related information and coaching camp studies to speak about, and I for one can’t wait. That does imply we gotta get within the peak of the summer time content material whereas we nonetheless can, although, so let’s kick off Sunday morning with one thing that’s equally
I obtained this enjoyable thought from our sister website Gang Inexperienced Nation, which has the excellence of masking an additionally doomed Jets staff. We’re kindred spirits! Primarily, they constructed a 2021 staff out of gamers who used to play for the Jets, attempting to see how good that staff would’ve finally been. We’re going to do the identical factor with the Falcons at the moment.
Honest warning: Given the shortage of expertise on this squad within the late Dan Quinn/Thomas Dimitroff period, plus the scourge of accidents, this record is fairly miserable. We’ll strive it once more in a yr and see the way it appears, however within the meantime, let’s take a more in-depth look.
Not a single former Falcons quarterback threw a cross final yr in an NFL common season recreation, the byproduct of getting Matt Ryan because the starter for one million years and having his longtime backup Matt Schaub retire.
We’ve obtained a emptiness right here we’ll fill in honorary style with Kurt Benkert, who served as Inexperienced Bay’s #3 quarterback and is a wonderful gamer.
Operating again: Devonta Freeman, Ravens
Free earns the spot with a resurgent marketing campaign, which was good to see. The once-great Freeman was a stud working again for Atlanta for a handful of seasons earlier than damage began to take a chunk out of his enjoying time and manufacturing, however with the Ravens he managed 133 carries for 576 yards (4.3 yards per carry) and 5 touchdowns in eight begins.
Honorable mentions would come with J.D. McKissic (did most of his harm as a receiver, however put up practically 600 mixed yards), D’Onta Foreman (133 carries, 566 yards, 3 touchdowns) and Tevin Coleman (84 carries, 356 yards).
Extensive receivers: Julio Jones, Titans; Mohamed Sanu, 49ers; Laquon Treadwell, Jaguars
When gamers go away Atlanta, they hardly ever appear to thrive. That’s very true at huge receiver.
Jones and Treadwell put collectively comparable seasons, one thing you wouldn’t have predicted in one million years, you liar. They posted an identical yardage and touchdowns (434 and one, respectively) with Treadwell nabbing two extra catches to get there. Atlanta getting a second spherical decide again for Jones appears like an absolute steal primarily as a result of Julio was not wholesome sufficient to be Julio, nevertheless it’s hanging how far final yr was off of his profession norms.
Sanu is the most effective third possibility obtainable, with 15 catches for 177 yards on the season. 4 years in the past Julio would’ve been probably the greatest receivers in soccer, Sanu an especially succesful second possibility, and Treadwell a tremendous third possibility, however time makes fools of us all.
Tight finish: Austin Hooper, Browns
He’s the one candidate, actually. Hooper hasn’t reached the heights he did in Atlanta with Matt Ryan throughout his time in Cleveland, however he put collectively a stable yr with 38 catches for 345 yards and three touchdowns. Chances are high he’ll fare higher in Tennessee, right here he landed within the offseason.
Offensive line: OT Tom Compton, 49ers; OT Ty Sambrailo, Titans; OG Daniel Brunskill, 49ers; OG Wes Schweitzer, Commanders/Soccer Staff; C Alex Mack, 49ers
That is really a stable group! Sambrailo stands out because the weakest hyperlink as a result of he barely performed a yr in the past and was not a very efficient Falcon, however in case you want a shock landing seize, he’s obtained you.
Compton was succesful as a fill-in starter, Mack was nice in his remaining NFL season as all the time, and Brunskill has gone from long-term developmental prospect on Atlanta’s observe squad to a rattling succesful participant. Schweitzer, who earned loads of criticism in Atlanta, has continued to be an efficient part-time starter in Washington.
Would this line have been higher than Atlanta’s final yr? No, however I needed to take a beat and give it some thought.
Line of defense: Charles Harris, Lions; Takk McKinley, Browns; Efe Obada, Payments; Justin Zimmer, Payments
We’re scarce on defensive tackles right here, however there’s a stable group of defensive finish/exterior linebackers sorts right here, regardless of Atlanta’s ongoing weak point there. I threw in Zimmer simply to have a real defensive sort out.
Harris was a breakout participant final yr, placing collectively 7.5 sacks for the Lions. Obada, a Falcons observe squad participant aeons in the past, was stone stable as a rotational participant for the Payments, whereas McKinley turned in a stable season as a reserve. Ditto Zimmer, who has become a really stable rotational participant after displaying some promise in very restricted alternatives in Atlanta.
Linebackers: De’Vondre Campbell, Packers; Keanu Neal, Cowboys; Duke Riley, Dolphins
This is among the higher teams. Campbell has blossomed right into a Professional Bowl-caliber participant in Inexperienced Bay and is recent off the best season of his profession, whereas Neal was stable as a full-time linebacker in Dallas. Riley is a stable reserve and core particular teamer for Miami, and this stable group is a reminder of how good no less than two of those guys may very well be at occasions in Atlanta.
Cornerbacks: Robert Alford, Cardinals; Desmond Trufant, Saints/Raiders; T.J. Inexperienced, Texans
Yeesh, this record brings again reminiscences. Alford’s been chopping his approach via accidents for years now however remains to be a really stable cornerback when on the sphere, whereas Trufant’s abrupt decline has seen him go from an all the time underrated prime starter to a reserve. Inexperienced rounds us out after being minimize by the Falcons and touchdown in Houston, however suffice to say the A.J. Terrell, Fabian Moreau, and revolving door at nickel trio offered significantly better outcomes than this group would have.
Security: Damontae Kazee, Cowboys; Ryan Neal, Seahawks
Kyle Shanahan’s love for former Falcons on offense is rivaled solely by Dan Quinn’s love of former Falcons on protection. Kazee was the most effective instance of this, as the previous Atlanta defensive again was a solid-to-good 15 recreation starter in Dallas underneath DQ. It was good to see him bounce again after damage value him all however 4 video games of the 2020 season. Neal has blossomed right into a succesful reserve and occasional starter in Seattle after beginning his profession in Atlanta.
Honorable point out goes to Ricardo Allen, who performed largely as a reserve and undoubtedly served as a worthwhile locker room presence for Cincinnati.
Kicker: Matt Prater, Cardinals
It’s simple to overlook now, however the Falcons briefly had a few good NFL kickers in these years earlier than Matt Bryant took over and have become probably the most dominant possibility in staff historical past. A kind of was Stephen Hauschka, who obtained a cup of espresso again in 2009, and the opposite was Matt Prater, who didn’t handle to stay round after 2007 however has made a high quality profession for himself. He’s recent off a stable season with Arizona and is well the most effective former Falcons kicker nonetheless working.
Punter: Dustin Colquitt, Browns
Colquitt spent a part of the season with Atlanta earlier than giving option to Thomas Morstead, however he completed out the years as a productive punter for Cleveland.
So there you could have it, the all-2021 ex-Falcons staff. It could be of some consolation to you to know this staff in all probability wouldn’t beat the precise 2021 Falcons, however let me know if I’ve missed anybody apparent.