The Atlanta Falcons ended their offseason program on June 14. Here's a look at how they fared:
Offseason goals: The Falcons, who averaged a league-best 33.8 points per game during their 2016 Super Bowl run, want to regain that offensive dominance while continuing to build their fast and physical defense. The addition of rookie wide receiver Calvin Ridley should help the Falcons improve their scoring after falling to an average of 22.1 points per game last season. Coach Dan Quinn expects second-year offensive coordinator Steve Sarkisian to step up his playcalling. And Sarkisian has another voice with plenty of knowledge -- new quarterbacks coach Greg Knapp.
How they fared: Too soon to tell
Move I liked: Drafting the playmaking Ridley should have an immediate affect on the Falcons' offense, giving Matt Ryan another big-time threat alongside Julio Jones. Ridley is a smooth route runner who possesses speed, and already has shown the willingness to improve his craft on a daily basis. Sarkisian, who worked with Ridley at Alabama, views the 23-year-old as a serious red zone threat. In three seasons at Alabama, Ridley was targeted 43 times in the red zone and caught 20 passes for 107 yards with 10 touchdowns.
Move I didn't like: With all due respect to veteran newcomer Brandon Fusco, the Falcons should have drafted a guard. Maybe Fusco comes in and holds up strong at one guard spot, but there's uncertainty at the other with veteran Andy Levitre still recovering from injury after taking a pay cut. Ben Garland is a great utility player to use in a pinch, and Wes Schweitzer is a very intelligent player who offers depth, but both probably are best suited for backup roles.
Biggest question still to be answered in training camp: Will Jones hold out of training camp, too? The five-time Pro Bowler decided to skip offseason workouts and mandatory minicamp while seeking a revised contract. Jones has three years and almost $35 million remaining on his deal. The Falcons have to decide if they are willing to revise Jones' contract and make him the league's highest-paid receiver. Jones is staying in shape by working out with Hall of Fame receiver Terrell Owens, but that's not the same as being a part of the Falcons' "brotherhood."
Quotable: "I've got a really good understanding of every player and the things that they're really good at, the things that maybe they need to work on, the things that I would be wrong putting them in position to do. I think all of those things just put me in a much different level of comfort, where you just feel good every day walking in." -- Steve Sarkisian on running the Falcons' offense after Year 1.
Salary-cap space: $9,597,018
2018 draft picks: Round 1: WR Ridley (Alabama); 2: CB Isaiah Oliver (Colorado); 3: DT Deadrin Senat (South Florida); 4: RB Ito Smith (Southern Miss); 5: WR/DB Russell Gage (LSU); 6: LB Foyesade Oluokun (Yale)
Undrafted rookie free agents signed: QB Kurt Benkert (Virginia); RB Demario Richard (Arizona State); RB Justin Crawford (West Virginia); RB Malik Williams (Louisville); FB Daniel Marx (Stanford); FB Luke McNitt (Nebraska); C J.C. Hassenauer (Alabama); T Matt Gono (Wesley College); G Salesi Uhatafe (Utah); TE Jaeden Graham (Yale); TE Troy Mangen (Ohio); WR Christian Blake (NIU); WR Devin Gray (Cincinnati); WR Dontez Byrd (Tennessee Tech); WR Lamar Jordan (New Mexico); WR Taj Williams (TCU); DT Jacob Tuioti-Mariner (UCLA); DT Jon Cunningham (Kent State); DE Mackendy Cheridor (Georgia State); LB Emmanuel Smith (Vanderbilt); LB Anthony Winbush (Ball State); LB Emmanuel Ellerbee (Rice); LB Richard Jarvis (Brown); S Jason Hall (Texas); S Chris Lammons (South Carolina); S Secdrick Cooper (La. Tech); K David Marvin (Georgia).
Unrestricted free agents signed: K Matt Bryant; S/LB Kemal Ishmael; DE Derrick Shelby; DT Terrell McClain (Redskins), G Fusco (49ers); TE Logan Paulsen (49ers); CB Justin Bethel (Cardinals); CB Blidi Wreh-Wilson, CB Leon McFadden, OT Austin Pasztor, FB Ricky Ortiz (Ravens)
Players acquired via trade: None