The Atlanta Falcons finally have traded wide receiver Julio Jones and a 2023 sixth-round pick to the Tennessee Titans for a 2022 second-round pick and a 2023 fourth-round pick. Now that the Julio Jones era in Atlanta has come to an end, it’s time for the Falcons to figure out what’s next for their organization.
What’s Next For The Falcons After Trading Julio Jones
The Falcons’ New Leaders
The Falcons made changes this offseason by hiring new head coach Arthur Smith and new general manager Terry Fontenot. Many people thought that the Falcons were going to move on from quarterback Matt Ryan this offseason, but he is very much in their plans moving forward.
Matt Ryan Still In Atlanta
Matt Ryan has been one of the league’s better quarterbacks since he came into the NFL in 2008. Ryan had an MVP season in 2016 and helped lead the Falcons to an NFC Championship, but they would, unfortunately, lose to the Patriots in Super Bowl LI. Ryan is now 36 years old and the last few seasons haven’t gone the way Atlanta would’ve liked them to go. The Falcons went 4-12 in 2020 and it gave them the fourth pick in the 2021 NFL Draft.
Who Can Take On The Julio Jones Role?
The Falcons took the tight end from Florida, Kyle Pitts, with the fourth pick in the draft. Pitts might be the best tight-end prospect to ever come out of college. Pitts can line up all over the field for the Falcons, and they can play him at tight end or wide receiver. Pitts will definitely be someone that can come in on day one and help out this Falcons team.
The Falcons might have just traded one of the best wide receivers in the NFL away, but they have an upcoming star in Calvin Ridley. Ridley will be going into his fourth season next year, and he just came off of having 1,374 receiving yards and 9 touchdowns in 2020. Ridley will definitely be Matt Ryan’s security blanket this season, and Ridley could break out as a top 10 wide receiver in the NFL this year.
The Falcons have some other players that can help Matt Ryan out this season. Russell Gage has been one of the better third wide receivers in the NFL, and he will be looking to upgrade his game this season. The tight end Hayden Hurst will also be an option for Matt Ryan. Even though the Falcons did draft Kyle Pitts. Hurst will definitely still be in the Falcons plans. The Falcons didn’t pick up Hurst’s fifth-year option so he will have something to prove this season.
The Falcons also signed running back Mike Davis who took over for an injured Christian McCaffrey in Carolina last season. Davis had a pretty decent season last year, and he is looking to bring that over to Atlanta.
How Does The NFC South Look?
The Falcons play in a division that is going to be very hard to compete in. The NFC South could be one of the best divisions in the NFL this year. The defending Super Bowl champions the Tampa Buccaneers should be the favorite to win the division, and the NFC South division winner last year the New Orleans Saints will also be a team to watch out for this season. The Carolina Panthers added a quarterback in Sam Darnold that could finally get them back to competing in the very difficult NFC South.
What The Falcons should Focus On In 2021
The Falcons need to focus on the future this upcoming season. The most important thing for the Falcons is to make sure that Arthur Smith can be their head coach moving forward, and the team is improving along the way. I think the Falcons will win more than four games, and I think they will still finish last in the NFC South.