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Falcons already showing why they took such a risky draft pick

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The Atlanta Falcons were one of the NFL’s busiest teams this offseason. The club’s best move may have taken place in late April in Kansas City.

Arthur Smith is embarking on his third season at the helm of the Atlanta Falcons. The team has been consistent the past two years, meaning it has finished 7-10 in both 2021 and 2022. There was some improvement shown this past season as the Falcons were much more competitive. Smith’s club finished with an abysmal minus-146 point differential. In 2022, that improved to minus-21.

Still, a losing season is…a losings season. Since the Falcons’ last playoff appearance in 2017, the franchise has finished below .500 each of those five years. Then again, no team in the NFC South managed a winning record this past season. With all the changes among the four clubs, the division appears to be very wide open.

The Falcons were especially aggressive this offseason, adding free agents such as defensive lineman Calais Campbell and safety Jessie Bates III while trading for tight end Jonnu Smith, a favorite of Smith’s while both were in Nashville. Atlanta really opened up some eyes in the first round of this year’s draft, using the eighth overall selection on Texas running back Bijan Robinson.

Falcons’ risk on Bijan Robinson already looking completely calculated

In three seasons (31 games) with the Longhorns, the 6-foot, 215-pound performer totaled an impressive 4,215 total yards from scrimmage and 41 touchdowns. In his final year at Texas, Robinson finished with 1,894 scrimmage yards (1,580 rushing, 314 receiving) and found the end zone 20 times.

He touched the ball 277 times and, courtesy of NFL Network’s Cameron Wolfe, Smith intends to keep the young performer busy as a runner and a pass-catcher.

There were no running backs selected in the first round of the 2022 draft. In fact, Robinson is the highest-drafted player at his position since the Giants opted for Saquon Barkley with the second overall pick in 2018. The Falcons are certainly hoping he can be that kind of dual threat.