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Home Cooking: Should Falcons Target Georgia's James Cook or Zamir White at RB?

Could either Bulldog stay home and become a Falcon next season?

It's been a little over a week since the Atlanta Falcons and Georgia Bulldogs saw their seasons come to an end.

For the Falcons, it concluded with an anticlimactic loss to the New Orleans Saints. But for the Bulldogs, it ended in the school's first national championship since 1980.

Two of the Georgia's dynamic running backs, James Cook and Zamir White, declared for the NFL Draft over the past few days, opening the door for any of the 32 teams to add them to the team in April's NFL Draft.

Both have NFL talent. White (6-foot, 215 pounds) led Georgia's title run with 856 rushing yards and 11 touchdowns, while the more versatile Cook (5-11, 190) led the Bulldogs in total yards with 1,012 and added 27 catches for four touchdowns.

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The Falcons' leading rusher from 2021, Cordarrelle Patterson, is set to hit free agency and is due a big raise after an impressive season. Patterson notched career bests in rushing yards (618), receiving yards (548) and touchdowns (11). But Patterson is set to celebrate his 31st birthday over the offseason and it's tough to figure out if he will be able to reach these heights for next season and beyond.

Not signing Patterson would increase the team's need to find a replacement, but the Falcons could benefit from drafting a younger player to complement Patterson and fill in when he's unable to go.

Cook and White will both find themselves on NFL rosters next season, and keeping them in the Peach State could excite local fans and improve the team's depth at the position.

The team hasn't drafted a running back since Qadree Ollison in 2019, but he was cut and re-signed and is now about to become a free agent. With Patterson also hitting the open market, Mike Davis is the only running back under contract for Atlanta.