Head Coach: Arthur Smith
2020 Record: 4-12
Is it odd to say that a 4-12 season wasn’t as bad as it looked? In the case of the 2020 Falcons, nope. of their 12 losses, 8 were by a score or less. A few breaks, maybe a D that didn’t suck, and the Falcons could have been a playoff team.
2021 Draft Picks
1-4 TE Kyle Pitts, Florida
2-40 DB Richie Grant, UCF
3-68 G Jalen Mayfield, Michigan
4-108 DB Darren Hall, San Diego State
4-114 C Drew Dalman, Stanford
5-148 DE Ta’Quon Graham, Texas
5-182 LB Adetokunbo Ogundeji, Notre Dame
5-183 DB Avery Williams, Boise State
6-187 WR Frank Darby, Arizona State
The Falcons rocked the 2021 draft. Kyle Pitts should impact what was already a high flying offense immediately; their biggest weakness was red zone scoring and he might be one of the top ten TEs in the NFL before playing single snap. There are a ton of winners in the defensive backfield, and depth on the OL was needed. One pic that went under the radar was Avery Williams, who has the makings of a great return man.
Key Pick Ups
Mike Davis – RB (from Panthers)
Cordarrelle Patterson – RB/WR (from Bears)
Davis should step in as the starting back, and Patterson immediately improves the return game and gives Ryan yet another weapon.
Julio Jones – WR (to Titans)
Keanu Neal – LB (to Cowboys)
Todd Gurley – RB (FA)
Brian Hill – RB (to Titans)
Obviously losing a HOF receiver hurts, but the reality is the Falcons learned how to function just fine without him in 2020. Neal’s departure doesn’t bode well for an already bad D. Gurley is washed up and Hill was really a minor backup.
Offensive Coordinator: Dave Ragone
2020 Points Scored: 396 (16th)
Tom Brady gets a lot of attention for succeeding as an old man, but Matt Ryan is right up there with him. Don’t expect his numbers to drop in 2021. They’ll need Mike Davis to put up in the neighborhood of 1,500 yards from scrimmage to be successful, but based on what he did filling in for CMC last year that’s a reasonable ask. Pitts is a Brian Hill – RB (to Titans) nightmare, one a vet like Ryan should have a field day with.
Defensive Coordinator: Dean Pees
2020 Points Allowed: 414 (19th)
Here’s where things get ugly for the Falcons. The D was bad last year; most folks list the D line as the worst in the league. They added some young talent in the draft, but nothing that will likely affect 2021 much. In short… other than general optimism, there isn’t much reason to think things will get better there.
K Younghoe Koo and P Sterling Hofrichter are a solid 1-2 punch in the kicking game, and as mentioned above, the return game should be solid. The coverage unit was below average last year.
If Things Go Well
The offense doesn’t miss a beat, but it has a hard time scoring enough points to keep up with what the D allows.
If They Don’t
The O line doesn’t improve, and lack of a star RB makes the Falcons rushing attack ineffective. The passing game still puts up numbers, but a bad D is too much to overcome without a balanced O.
It’s hard to buy into Mike Davis as a featured back, and there isn’t much of anything behind him. Without a D, you may see the Falcons go into full rebuild mode for 2022.
|at Tampa Bay Buccaneers|
|at New York Giants|
|Washington Football Team|
|New York Jets|
|at Miami Dolphins|
|at New Orleans Saints|
|at Dallas Cowboys|
|New England Patriots|
|at Jacksonville Jaguars|
|Tampa Bay Buccaneers|
|at Carolina Panthers|
|at San Francisco 49ers|
|at Buffalo Bills|
|New Orleans Saints|
Categories: NFL Schedule