Apr 27, 2023 - Sports

NFL draft could help Falcons have a winning season

Desmond Ridder of the Atlanta Falcons. Photo: Rich von Biberstein/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

The Atlanta Falcons are set to pick 8th in the NFL draft, Axios' Ross Terrell writes.

State of play: Atlanta finished 7-10 in the 2022 season, which was good for last place in the NFC South.

  • It also marked the fifth year in a row the Falcons ended the season with a losing record.
  • This offseason, the team finally had enough money to add free agents and build a roster that has been devoid of talent for the past two seasons.

Get smart: Atlanta still has a lot of areas to improve, mainly along the defensive line, in the secondary and adding some depth at the receiver position.

  • The Falcons also need to determine if second-year quarterback Desmond Ridder is the right player to start.
  • All signs this offseason point to the team's leadership believing in him.

What we're watching: Mock drafts have Atlanta going defense with their first pick — either cornerback Devon Witherspoon out of Illinois or edge rusher Myles Murphy out of Clemson.

  • It would be the first time since the 2020 draft the Falcons used their top pick on a defensive player and just the second time since 2018.
  • Atlanta could also take running back Bijan Robinson out of Texas — a prediction that has gained steam in recent weeks given Robinson's versatility and potential fit in the Falcons' run-heavy offense.

The bottom line: Atlanta will be a better team in 2023 than they were last year.

  • The added talent in the offseason plus a smart draft should allow them to finally finish with a winning record and perhaps contend for an NFC South crown in a weak division.

Watch it: Thursday night at 8 on ABC, ESPN or NFL Network.


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