Atlanta Falcons depth chart: Where does the offense still need help?


The Atlanta Falcons have seven selections in the NFL Draft and enough financial flexibility to add free agents at the margin of their roster.

Where should those resources be allocated? A look at the current depth chart gives a framework for those answers, so today we’re breaking down the offense in Atlanta. This list includes all 32 offensive players currently on the Falcons roster.

Quarterback

Kirk Cousins

Taylor Heinicke

The Falcons have bet the immediate future on Cousins, who signed a four-year deal that could be worth up to $180 million. He is 35 years old and coming off a torn Achilles tendon, but Atlanta was frustrated enough by its quarterback play the last three seasons that it felt he was worth the risk. Heinicke was 1-3 in four starts for the Falcons last season, but first-year head coach Raheem Morris has indicated he expects him to compete with an as-yet-to-be-added third quarterback for the backup job in 2024. That third quarterback could come from the draft or free agency, Morris said. The quarterbacks who might be available in the third round or later include South Carolina’s Spencer Rattler, Tulane’s Michael Pratt and Florida State’s Jordan Travis.

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Running back

Bijan Robinson

Tyler Allgeier

Avery Williams

Carlos Washington Jr.

Robert Burns

Robinson carried the ball 214 times for 976 yards as a rookie. Allgeier had 186 carries for 683 yards in his second season (after a 1,035-yard rookie campaign). They will be the Falcons’ top two backs again this year, and how the carries are split will be interesting to watch. New offensive coordinator Zac Robinson comes from the Sean McVay offensive system, which leans on one-back sets, while Falcons offensive line coach and run game coordinator Dwayne Ledford is a proponent of two-back systems.

Atlanta used the No. 8 pick of the 2023 draft on Robinson because of his offensive versatility and potential in a wide zone run game, but the offenses Robinson has been a part of have typically used running backs in a more traditional role. What that means for Robinson is unclear. Allgeier, meanwhile, is a prototypical between-the-tackles runner who’s an ideal fit in the type of gap scheme run game the Los Angeles Rams used last year. Everyone behind Robinson and Allgeier is basically special teams help.

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Tight end

Kyle Pitts

Charlie Woerner

John FitzPatrick

Tucker Fisk

Pitts had 1,026 receiving yards as a rookie. He has a combined 1,023 in the two years since. Most of that is because of the MCL tear that ended his 2022 season after 10 games, but some of it is because he never fit well in the do-it-all tight end role the previous staff envisioned for him when it picked him fourth in 2021. Atlanta’s new offense probably will allow Pitts to focus on what his strength is — being big and fast. Morris said Pitts is excited for what the coach called “a reset year” for the tight end. “His face makes that pretty apparent,” Morris said.

Woerner is a free-agent addition from San Francisco who is hoping a new offensive system will allow him to top his current season high of five catches (2021). FitzPatrick and Fisk are cut candidates simply because they no longer are good fits for the offensive scheme.

Wide receiver 1

Drake London

Josh Ali

Chris Blair

London has 53 percent of all wide receiver catches in Atlanta in the last two years. He has 141 catches in that span, the most by any Falcon in the first two years of his career. He probably will get a lower percentage of targets under the new coaching staff but could see his reception numbers increase if Atlanta leans more on the passing game than it did under former coach Arthur Smith. Ali and Blair are unproven holdovers from the previous system whose path to playing time got harder with the offseason wide receiver additions.

Wide receiver 2

Darnell Mooney

KhaDarel Hodge

Mooney is the Falcons’ highest-priced free agency addition outside of Cousins. He signed a three-year deal that could be worth $39 million, which is a bet on potential over production. The former fifth-round pick had 81 catches in Chicago in 2021 but has totaled only 71 catches since. “When you talk about Mooney, you’re talking about an elite separator, you’re talking about a guy that can run and get the ball in his hand and make plays,” Morris said.

Hodge, a special teams stalwart the last two seasons, has averaged 10.1 yards per target in limited offensive action. The system change provides as much opportunity for Hodge as for any holdover on the roster.

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Wide receiver 3

Rondale Moore

Ray-Ray McCloud III

Austin Mack

Moore, who was acquired in a trade for former starting quarterback Desmond Ridder, could be dangerous in the slot. A 5-foot-7 speedster with 135 catches in three seasons in Arizona, he was a second-round pick in 2021. McCloud, a free-agency acquisition, is a return specialist who has 90 catches in six seasons.

Although the Falcons have already added three wide receivers this offseason, it wouldn’t be a surprise if they take one in the draft, especially in the later rounds if they think they can replicate the success the Rams had last year in drafting Puka Nacua in the fifth round.

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Jake Matthews has been a rock for the Falcons at left tackle, but the team shouldn’t take him for granted. (Al Bello / Getty Images)

Left tackle

Jake Matthews

Storm Norton

Ryan Swoboda

A brief Matthews appreciation: He has started 167 games since being picked sixth in 2014. He has started 161 consecutive games at left tackle, the longest active streak in the NFL. It’s hard to imagine an Atlanta offensive line without Matthews on the left edge, but Falcons fans shouldn’t take him for granted at this point in his career. Norton will be the swing tackle barring another addition at the position.

Given Matthews’ age and the depth of the offensive tackle class in this draft, the Falcons might be well served by preparing for the future at this position.

Left guard

Matthew Bergeron

Kyle Hinton

Bergeron started every game of his rookie season, struggling some but mostly proving a good addition in the run game. The retention of Ledford as offensive line coach will be key for Bergeron’s continued development as he makes strides in pass protection.

Center

Drew Dalman

Jovaughn Gwyn

Dalman missed three games with an ankle injury last season. Other than that, he has started every game of the last two seasons. Gwyn showed promise last year and likely has a role on this team somewhere and can be the emergency center.

Right guard

Chris Lindstrom

Ryan Neuzil

Lindstrom is no longer the highest-paid guard in the NFL after Landon Dickerson’s new contract, but he’s still one of the best players in the league at the position. Neuzil was a favorite of the former staff and re-signed this offseason. He’s also likely the top backup at center when push comes to shove.

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Right tackle

Kaleb McGary

Tyler Vrabel

Barry Wesley

John Leglue

McGary is on the second year of a three-year deal, and he’ll have a big adjustment in the new offensive system. A physical and relentless run blocker, McGary has been inconsistent in his pass protection, and Atlanta will be doing more of that this year. Vrabel, Wesley and Leglue are all fighting for roster spots.

(Top photo of Drake London and Bijan Robinson: Todd Kirkland / Getty Images)





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