If you’re a Falcons fan, you should be really excited about this upcoming season and the offense being loaded with talent.
Projected starters and first-round draft picks:
- Quarterback: Matt Ryan
- Running back: Todd Gurley
- Wide receiver: Julio Jones
- Wide receiver: Calvin Ridley
- Tight end: Hayden Hurst
- Center: Alex Mack
- Left tackle: Jake Matthews
- Left guard: James Carpenter
- Right guard: Chris Lindstrom
- Right tackle: Kaleb McGary
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Matt to Jones Duo
The ‘Matt Ryan to Julio Jones’ is a special duo. Matty Ice has been a loyal Falcon since he was drafted at No. 3 in 2008. Do you feel old now? The Falcons selected Jones in 2011 as the No. 6 pick, giving up a lot for Jones.
Both broke records and made history last season. Jones replaced Jerry Rice’s record in receiving yards with 12,000 in less than 17 games this season.
For 19 consecutive seasons, Ryan threw for 4,000 passing yards—the longest active streak in the league and 2nd longest in history. And Matty Ice broke Warren Moon’s record on the all-time passing list and currently holds the 10th spot for most career passing yards in NFL history.
Of course, you can’t forget about the other connection, Ryan to Ridley. The Falcons didn’t have their eyes on Ridley until he was available at No. 26 come draft day. They realized then that they couldn’t let him pass them by.
At first, it was sad. The Falcons general manager Thomas Dimitroff let starting safety Austin Hooper test the open market and he was quickly picked up by the Browns before free agency officially even started.
And then it was okay.
Shortly after the announcement, the Falcons made their move for the Baltimore Ravens Hayden Hurst. Hurst, 26, was the No. 25 overall pick in the 2018 NFL Draft and a perfect addition to the Falcons that will have fans forgetting about Hooper.
The O-Line Guys
The Falcons’ main focus in the 2019 draft was their offensive line. They acquired Chris Lindstrom at No. 14 and Caleb McGary for the No. 30 pick.
Lindstrom’s playing time during his rookie season was limited due to a serious foot injury in the first game. McGary was a starter for all 16 games and only progressed as the season went on.
Matthews and Mack have become reliable starters for Atlanta throughout the years. Matthews was the No. 6 overall pick for the Falcons in 2014 and has started every game of his career.
As for Mack, the Falcons picked up him in free agency during 2015. He’s been holding the o-line together ever since. The Browns drafted Mack as the No. 21 pick in 2009.
Carpenter was the No. 21 overall pick in the 2011 draft by the Seahawks. He then spent time with the Jets before signing with the Falcons in 2019. He started 11 games for Atlanta last season but ended the year early with a concussion. He’ll be back and healthy for 2020.
Gurley Makes No. 10
The Devonta Freeman rumors became true Wednesday after the Falcons formally released Freeman, leaving a void to fill at running back.
The following evening, Todd Gurley was released by the Los Angeles Rams after five seasons recording 5,404 rushing yards and 58 touchdowns as a Ram.
The Falcons didn’t hesitate to sign the former first-rounder (10th overall) the next morning to a one-year, $5 million deal.
Welcome home, Gurley. And uh, not a bad starting offense for the Falcons.