The Falcons added their 17th former first-rounder on Thursday when they signed Deone Bucannon. The ex-Giants linebacker made the sixth projected starter on Atlanta’s defense.
On the offensive side of the ball, the Falcons have stacked up 11 former first-round picks that should start this season.
Let’s take a look at the potential starting lineups.
Falcons First-Rounders on Offense
The Falcons are bringing Todd Gurley home to be their starting running back and adding a reliable tight end, Hayden Hurst to the mix. They are also giving wide receiver Laquon Treadwell another chance to prove himself with hopes that Dirk Koetter can find his spark.
The Falcons offense last season wasn’t the best to say the least, but I mean, starting 11 former first-rounders on the offensive side of the ball doesn’t sound like a terrible idea. If anything, they can’t come close to as bad as they were last season.
- Quarterback: Matt Ryan
- Running back: Todd Gurley
- Wide receiver: Julio Jones
- Wide receiver: Laquon Treadwell
- 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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Falcons First-Rounders on Defense
Atlanta’s defense only has six former first-round starters, but even the secondary looks just as fierce. The Falcons made sure to load their offense throughout the entire 2020 NFL draft and free agency.
- Safety/Linebacker: Deonne Bucannon
- Defensive End: Takkarist McKinley
- Defensive End: Dante Fowler
- Cornerback: AJ Terrell
- Safety: Keanu Neal
- Linebacker: Charles Harris
There are only five projected starters on Atlanta’s defense that weren’t former first-round picks. Defensive end Allen Bailey went in the third round, defensive tackles Tyeler Davison and Grady Jarrett were taken in the fifth, and linebacker Deion Jones and cornerback Isaiah Oliver were second-round picks.
Just A Projection
This starting lineup is just a projection and who knows what gameday will bring, especially with a weird offseason. But, you can’t argue that the Falcons have a lot of talent to work with, in the palm of their hands. This year will be a different one especially since people are dying to get sports back.
What’s most exciting on offense is that Hurst and Treadwell will get a chance to showcase their true talent. Atlanta will really work on them to bring their best side out since they didn’t get that kind of attention on from their previous teams.
Gurley is coming in hot with 7,494 yards from scrimmage (5,404 rushing, 2,090 receiving) and 70 touchdowns in five seasons. And so what if he didn’t have the greatest season in 2019, he still has some juice and he’s beyond ecstatic to be coming back home and play in front of his Georgia fans.
Ridley is expected to have a breakout season and Julio Jones needs no introduction. The Falcons have Matty Ice who is Atlanta’s rock and future Hall of Famer.
Then you look over at the defense and you have guys that are huge like Fowler yet still explosive. And also hybrid guys like Bucannon who can fill multiple holes.
Most importantly, these guys are hungry and ready to eat especially after being cooped up in quarantine. There’s no doubt that this team is going to be a big upgrade from 2019.