Heading into the 2019 offseason, the Atlanta Falcons had three priorities. They accomplished all three when they locked up Grady Jarrett, Deion Jones, and Julio Jones for the next three seasons, at which point the Falcons have an out in their contracts.
The Atlanta Falcons enter the 2019 season with one burning question to answer and that’s whether or not they can return to prominence following an injury-riddled 2018 campaign. Outsiders are quick to forget that this team was one quarter away from hoisting the Lombardi trophy and a Julio Jones catch from returning to a second consecutive NFC championship game in the previous two years.
On Saturday evening, former Falcons tight end Tony Gonzalez will reach the pinnacle of his profession as he is officially inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
And while Gonzalez played 12 of his 17 seasons in Kansas City, Dirty Bird Nation proudly calls the greatest tight end one of their own and for good reason. Gonzo ranks first in receptions (409), third in yards behind Jim Mitchell and Alge Crumpler (4,187), and tied for first in touchdowns (35) by a tight end in Falcons history. All of this despite Gonzalez playing in 55 and 28 fewer games than Mitchell and Crumpler, respectively, in his Falcons career.
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.