By Ben Babcock
Offseason Grade: C+
Draft Grade: B+
So, the Falcons didn’t exactly have a great off season, but it wasn’t too bad either. They spent the second least in the league, and it’s not like they signed any huge names. Offensive guard Brandon Fusco was their largest signing, at $12 million over 3 years. Then some 1-year deals for DE Terrell McClain, DT Derrick Shelby, CB Justin Bethel, and TE Logan Paulsen. After losing Adrian Clayborn and Dontari Poe, the Falcons pass rush looks pretty weak, since Clayborn accounted for 24% of the team’s sacks in 2017. Which is why I had them taking defensive tackle, Taven Bryan with their first round pick in my mock draft. But like most of my mock picks, that wasn’t what ended up happening.
Going into the draft, the Falcons biggest problem was on the defensive line and at tight end/wide receiver. And they did pretty well. They got one of the top wide receivers in the draft, Calvin Ridley in the first round. This gives Matt Ryan a third passing option, on top of Julio Jones and Mohamed Sanu. Then with Tevin Coleman and Devonta Freeman coming out of the backfield, the Falcons offense is one of the more lethal in the league. All they need is a more dangerous tight end, no offense to Austin Hooper. And after Ridley they took cornerback Isaiah Oliver and defensive tackle Deadrin Senat in the second and third rounds. These are both good additions to the defense, but they still need more on that defensive front.
Given the fact that the Falcons didn’t have a ton of cap space this offseason, they didn’t have that bad of an offseason. They added depth everywhere they needed to, and even though they didn’t massively improve they still made meaningful moves in free agency and in the draft. I still don’t believe that they improved, but you don’t always have to improve for it to be a successful offseason. Sometimes you’ve just gotta focus on holding onto what you’ve got. Even though they didn’t hold onto everyone, they managed to keep things together and remain a threat in the NFC. They’re not winning the NFC, let alone they’re own division this year. They’ve still got a ways to go before they’re back in the super bowl.