Regrettably, Roddy White’s career did not intersect with my time covering the Atlanta Falcons. White decided, or perhaps more appropriately Father Time decided, that 2015 would be his final season in the NFL.
Shortly thereafter, I began covering the team for Fansided’s Blogging Dirty during their run to the Super Bowl in 2016. And while that season certainly left a bad taste in the mouths of Falcons fans, it must have hurt Roddy White even more.
In less than two months, the Atlanta Falcons will embark on their fifth training camp under the guidance of Dan Quinn. That means camp battles take center stage in Flowery Branch, Georgia as the Brotherhood seeks the best 53 members for its return to playoff glory.
But despite being a group strengthened by competition, there are admittedly very few spots up for grabs given the current state of the Falcons roster. The team fortified the offensive line, secondary, and backfield in the draft.
The Atlanta Falcons made it clear last night that they weren’t satisfied with their offensive line even after recent investments in the unit during free agency. Both Dan Quinn and Thomas Dimitroff stated in their press conference that they entertained offers to move up, but ultimately decided to stay put and select former Boston College guard Chris Lindstrom.
Then, after watching Cody Ford and Jawaan Taylor fall towards the end of the first, the Falcons surprised us all by trading their second (45th) and third-round (79th) picks to Los Angeles for the Rams’ 31st (and 203rd pick) to select Kaleb McGary, the athletic right tackle from Washington.
With the draft only days away, we are firmly entrenched in the time of year when we try to convince ourselves (and anybody who will listen) that we not only know better than Thomas Dimitroff and his staff but we would do a far better job if only given the opportunity.
But, while the last few months have been all about unveiling our grand plans to head into the 2019 season with Nick Bosa, Quinnen Williams, AND an arsenal of early picks in 2020, we have now come to the point when we must step into the shoes of the mere mortals in charge of drafting for the Falcons.
Insiders (both genuine and imagined) have been spreading information and the rumor mill is in overdrive. But who should you believe? Luckily for you, the Rise Up Reader team is here to help you sort the fact (or, at the very least, optimistically educated guess) from the fiction as we give our predictions on which players will be Falcons by close of play Sunday.
Boston College’s Chris Lindstrom is a potential Falcons second-round draft pick who may even have the talent to sneak into the first round. It just so happens, though, that this player plays one of the least sexy positions in football: offensive guard. It is time for Chris Lindstrom, hailing from Boston College, to be brought into the fold as a potential long-term protector of our own Matty Ice (who is coincidentally a former Golden Eagle himself).
It’s mock draft season, Dirty Bird Flock! I don’t know if you are like me but every new name that Atlanta becomes linked to makes me giddy about the potential of the Falcons roster. The draft is where our Falcons thrive, not in the choppy waters of free agency. Every free agency period just feels like the months and holidays leading up to Christmas Day —not very interesting and leaving us wanting more. So let’s get to the goods! Here is who I think are the best fits for the Falcons in the 2019 NFL Draft.
When the Atlanta Falcons entered the 2019 offseason, they had question marks at three of their five offensive line positions and a defensive line that hasn’t lived up to its lofty draft status. Since then, Atlanta added two new starters at guard in James Carpenter and Jamon Brown. Both figure to add some much needed physicality to a unit that’s relied on finesse the last four seasons.
The front office also decided to give Ty Sambrailo, the guy who finished the season at right tackle, a handsome new payday, leading many to believe he’s the front runner to man that position in 2019 as well. Given these three moves and some of their other cost-effective signings on offense (Luke Stocker, Kenjon Barner, and resigning Justin Hardy), one would figure the Falcons have positioned themselves to address the defense heavily in the draft.
That’s proved to be a wise strategy for Dan Quinn in the past (see Grady Jarrett, Keanu Neal, Deion Jones, De’Vondre Campbell, Takk McKinley, Damontae Kazee, Isaiah Oliver, and Deadrin Senat) so that begs the question—is more of the same in store for the Falcons in this year’s draft?
The new league season is just around the corner and, while free agency and the draft are the hot topics, there will be no shortage of players whose teams would consider moving on from them for a price. Thomas Dimitroff has shown that he’s happy to make trades in the past, acquiring Jordan Richards, Ty Sambrailo and Andy Levitre in recent years, but the Falcons’ cap situation is tighter than it has been previously.
The Falcons currently have around $6.8 million in cap space for 2019 per Over The Cap. There is an assumption that the team will pay the incoming rookie class out of the money freed up by designating Ryan Schraeder as a post-June 1st cut or lowering Grady Jarrett’s cap number through a long-term extension. Given that the team likes to carry some cap space into the season for emergencies then they can probably afford to use about $3-4 million without restructuring any contracts.
So, if we
look around the league, which players should the Falcons try to trade for and
what would their likely prices be?
With the inaugural Alliance of American Football (AAF) season set to kick off on February 10, Falcons fans will have the opportunity to reunite with some familiar (and some less familiar) faces. So, whether you’re planning on re-living the heartbreak of premature training camp cuts or convincing yourself that you were correct in questioning a midseason practice squad addition, here are some former Falcons who you can keep an eye on: