2023 NFL Power Rankings: Atlanta Falcons
Throughout the 2023 NFL season, we will compile a consensus NFL Power Rankings that averages the rankings of all 32 NFL teams.
Below you will find a post-draft roundup for the Atlanta Falcons in our consensus 2023 NFL Power Rankings.
ESPN -- Rank: 26
Most improved: Defense
The Falcons were among the worst pass-rush units in the league the past two seasons -- 39 total sacks between 2021 and 2022 -- and so Atlanta upgraded across its defense -- from safety Jessie Bates III and cornerback Jeff Okudah in the secondary to defensive linemen Calais Campbell and David Onyemata to edge rusher Bud Dupree and linebacker Kaden Elliss. These additions should help the team's pass coverage, which could also lead to more sacks. And more sacks could lead to rushed throws from quarterbacks and more interceptions for the revamped secondary under new coordinator Ryan Nielsen. All in all, growth everywhere for Atlanta's defense.
NFL.com -- Rank: 23
Let's start positively: Bijan Robinson is an enormous talent with the ability to become an immediate superstar in 2023. Problem is, anything less than instant greatness will make you wonder if the Falcons made the wrong decision with the eighth overall pick. Atlanta already has an excellent young backfield presence in 1,000-yard rusher Tyler Allgeier, and while Falcons coach Arthur Smith contended on Thursday night that Robinson is "a lot more than a running back," the University of Texas star is not an elite edge rusher, franchise quarterback or starting-caliber player at receiver/cornerback -- all bigger needs for Atlanta entering the draft. Let's see how this one plays out.
CBS Sports -- Rank: 26
This is a big season for third-year coach Arthur Smith. They have belief in second-year quarterback Desmond Ridder, which will likely decide if Smith is back for a fourth year.
USA Today -- Rank: 25
Underestimate HC Arthur Smith and Atlanta at your peril ... even if it feels like they overestimated what RB Bijan Robinson can provide in the long run while undervaluing what stability and quality under center can do for a franchise.
The Athletic -- Rank: 21
Draft takeaway: Bijan Robinson might not have been the most sensible selection resource allocation-wise, but he does make the Falcons more intriguing in 2023 than they otherwise would have been. That's three skill position players selected in the first round of all three drafts in the Terry Fontenot-Arthur Smith pairing. Given Arthur Smith's playcalling proclivities, Bijan Robinson, unlike the others, figures to actually get the ball.
Hype man: With a new coordinator and upgrades at all three levels of the defense, improving from the No. 30 defense to just league average would be a huge boon, especially with an emerging offense.
Desmond Downer: The Desmond Ridder thing is a prank, right?
PFF -- Rank: 27
The Falcons signed one of the best safeties in the league in Jessie Bates III after their 2022 safeties ranked 26th in defensive grade, so this is a much-needed upgrade. In the front seven, Atlanta went with a platoon approach, adding interior defenders David Onyemata and Calais Campbell, edge rusher Bud Dupree and linebacker Kaden Elliss.
While Robinson will produce right out of the gate, the Falcons still have other positions they need to address with top-end talent, including edge rusher, wide receiver and outside cornerback.
PFT -- Rank: 22
One thing I think: The Falcons offense has the most diverse weaponry of any offense in football; imagine trying to defend monstrous Cordarrelle Patterson and Jonnu Smith, big-man receiver Drake London and elusive Bijan Robinson in the slot, productive Kyle Pitts at tight end and 1,000-yard-rusher Tyler Allgeier as a sledgehammer alternative.
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