The Atlanta Falcons finished the 2022 season in last place in the NFC South. They had a 7-10 record but aren’t as in bad of shape as you may think. They technically finished fourth in the division but had the same record as the Carolina Panthers and the New Orleans Saints. The NFC South is very winnable in 2023, putting pressure on the Falcons to make the right moves in free agency and the 2023 NFL Draft.
The Marcus Mariota experiment didn’t work out, and Atlanta is entering the Desmond Ridder era under center. He will have decent pieces around him with Drake London, Kyle Pitts and Jonnu Smith, but there is still offensive depth the Falcons need to add. Looking ahead to the upcoming draft, Atlanta needs to address wide receiver, cornerback, EDGE and linebacker. The Falcons currently hold the eighth overall pick.
Significant free agency additions
- QB Taylor Heinicke
- TE Jonnu Smith (via trade)
- OT Kaleb McGary
- OG Chris Lindstrom
- EDGE Lorenzo Carter
- DL David Onyemata
- S Jessie Bates
Significant free agency losses
- QB Marcus Mariota
- WR Olamide Zaccheaus
- OT Germain Ifedi
- LB Rashaan Evans
- CB Rashad Fenton
- OG Elijah Wilkinson
Atlanta Falcons 7-round mock draft
With the Falcons set to be on the clock at No. 8, let’s look at a 7-round mock draft on PFN where trade offers are on the table.
8. CB Christian Gonzalez, Oregon
44. WR Zay Flowers, Boston College
75. EDGE Adetomiwa Adebawore, Northwestern
110. RB Devon Achane, Texas A&M
113. C Ricky Stromberg, Arkansas
160. LB Dorian Williams, Tulane
205. WR Puka Nacua, BYU
224. EDGE Thomas Incoom, Central Michigan
I received a lucrative trade offer at No. 8 from the Minnesota Vikings. They offered Nos. 23, 87, 119, their 2024 first and their 2024 second. The real-life Falcons may need to look into a deal of this magnitude, but I declined just because it involved future draft capital, and I didn’t want to move that far back in the first. I stayed at No. 8 and chose arguably the best cornerback in the draft, Christian Gonzalez.
I chose WR Zay Flowers with Atlanta’s second-round pick. He should complement Drake London and Kyle Pitts well, giving Ridder quite an impressive starting receiving corps. Adebawore may have been a reach at No. 75, and there was likely an EDGE that made more sense at 44, but I really wanted to focus on the offensive improvement.
With the solid performance of Tyler Allgeier last season, running back isn’t a high need for Atlanta. Regardless, there was a ton of value with Achane falling this far. He adds great depth to the position and can take over as backup from Cordarelle Patterson, who could be a cap casualty to improve in other areas.
It was a very small move, but I moved back from 159 to 160 and sent No. 225 to the New York Giants for No. 160 and No. 205. It didn’t change the board much but allowed the Falcons to move up in the later rounds. Ended the draft taking depth with LB Dorian Williams, WR Puka Nacua and EDGE Thomas Incoom.