2023 NFL Offseason report: Atlanta Falcons

2R1E1DM Atlanta Falcons running back Bijan Robinson (7) runs drills during the NFL football team's rookie minicamp, Saturday, May 13, 2023, in Flowery Branch, Ga. (AP Photo/Brynn Anderson)

Free agency recap: Entering free agency, the Falcons ranked second to only the Bears in available cap space, and they capitalized with a number of strong signings on defense.

• Best move of the offseason: Matthew Bergeron will likely start immediately at left guard and could transition out to tackle in the future. He surrendered just 24 combined pressures in the last two seasons for Syracuse.

• Outlook for 2023: The key for the Falcons will be second-year quarterback Desmond Ridder, who will look to improve upon his 55.9 overall grade as a rookie in 2022. If he can elevate his play in his first full season as the starting signal-caller, Atlanta could win the division.

Estimated reading time: 5 minutes


As the dust settles on the 2023 NFL offseason, it's time to assess how each team fared in their quest to improve their roster.

Recapping blockbuster trades and high-profile signings to shrewd draft selections, PFF offers an in-depth assessment of all 32 NFL teams, shedding light on the potential impact these moves may have on their fortunes in the upcoming campaign.

For more information on each team's draft selections and offseason moves, download the PFF draft guide today!

ATLANTA FALCONS OFFSEASON GRADE: B+

2023 NFL Free Agency
FA signings FA losses
S Jessie Bates III WR Olamide Zaccheaus (PHI)
OT Kaleb McGary LB Rashaan Evans (FA)
DI David Onyemata
LB Lorenzo Carter
LB Kaden Elliss  
EDGE Bud Dupree  
WR Mack Hollins  
QB Tyler Heinicke  
CB Mike Hughes  
DI Calais Campbell  
DI Eddie Goldman  
Free agency recap

Entering free agency, the Falcons ranked second to only the Bears in available cap space, and they capitalized with a number of strong signings on defense.

Their top prize was Jessie Bates III, PFF’s top-ranked free-agent safety. Bates excelled against the run last season, earning an 88.3 run-defense grade, and he's finished top-five at the position in PFF WAR in two of the last three seasons. 

 The interior defensive line got the biggest collective upgrade with the addition of veterans Calais Campbell, David Onyemata and Eddie Goldman. Onyemata took a step back last season, putting up an overall grade of 64.0, but he earned 80.0-plus grades in three of the prior four campaigns before 2022.

Campbell will be 37 at the start of the season, but his play has yet to drop off significantly. Last season, he raked up six sacks, 12 hits and 17 hurries.


 2023 Draft class

R1 (8): RB Bijan Robinson, Texas
R2 (38): T Matthew Bergeron, Syracuse
R3 (75): EDGE Zach Harrison, Ohio State
R4 (113): CB Clark Phillips III, Utah
R7 (224): S DeMarcco Hellams, Alabama
R7 (225): G Jovaughn Gwyn, South Carolina

2023 NFL Draft recap

The selection of Bijan Robinson with the eighth overall pick was surprising from a roster-building perspective, as Atlanta’s outside zone-heavy scheme has consistently allowed lesser backs to produce at high levels. Look no further than 2021 fifth-round pick Tyler Allgeier‘s 88.0 rushing grade last year as evidence. 

Edge defender Zach Harrison was an intriguing pick in Round 3, as he is a former top recruit who never quite developed while at Ohio State. As a three-year starter, he recorded a combined 90 QB pressures but was inconsistent against the run.

Best move of the offseason: Drafting Matthew Bergeron in Round 2

Matthew Bergeron will likely start immediately at left guard and could transition out to tackle in the future. He surrendered just 24 combined pressures in the last two seasons for Syracuse.

Remaining team needs: Wide Receiver

Drake London looked like a stud during his rookie campaign in 2022, but there is little depth behind him as the roster currently stands.

Mack Hollins and Scotty Miller were brought in via free agency, but Miller will be the slot receiver on a team likely to use a considerable amount of 12 personnel, and Hollins has a career-best receiving grade of just 62.2 in five NFL seasons.

The lack of playmakers at wide receiver behind London should theoretically lead to a breakout year from tight end Kyle Pitts, who to date has more drops (four) than touchdowns (three) in his two-year career, but Atlanta would be wise to continue to look for free agent talent or trade opportunities to bolster the unit.

Early position battle to watch: Nickel cornerback

The Falcons selected the playmaking cornerback Clark Phillips III in the fourth round, but he will likely have a shot in camp to win the starting nickel job. He fell to Day 3 because he lacks ideal NFL size and speed, but his ability to play the ball in the air helps him stand out, as he combined for eight interceptions and 20 forced incompletions over his final two seasons at Utah.

He'll have to beat out veteran Mike Hughes, who is now on his fourth team in five seasons. While his coverage grade last season in Detroit was just 51.4, he put up his second straight season with a run defense grade over 80.0. 

2023 Outlook

While no one expects the Falcons to compete for the Super Bowl in 2023, they should definitely be competitive within the rebuilding NFC South. They should have an elite rushing offense, considering the talent at offensive line and running back, and both the defensive line and secondary are significantly upgraded with veteran skill.

The key for the Falcons will be second-year quarterback Desmond Ridder, who will look to improve upon his 55.9 overall grade as a rookie in 2022. If he can elevate his play in his first full season as the starting signal-caller, Atlanta could win the division.

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