Heading into the 2022 NFL season, expectations for the Atlanta Falcons are lower than they were a year ago.
That's to be expected when you've swapped out a suspended Pro Bowl wide receiver for an unproven rookie and a 14-year NFL veteran quarterback with someone who hasn't started a game under center in two seasons.
The events of Atlanta's offseason have led ESPN to place them at No. 31 in its most recent power rankings.
Despite the low ranking, ESPN expects the pass rush to improve in 2022, specifically veteran defensive lineman Grady Jarrett.
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The Falcons are looking for early returns from their first-round pick.
"Jarrett, the Falcons' top front-seven defender, had little to no help last season," ESPN wrote. "He saw double-teams regularly and sometimes even triple-teams. Atlanta's approach to the draft -- taking Day 2 rushers Arnold Ebiketie and DeAngelo Malone -- should help the pass rush. And, in turn, it should help Jarrett not face quite as much attention. Plus, Jarrett signed a $51 million, three-year extension days after the draft and celebrated a birthday, so that was a good week for him."
Even though the pass rush improved during the draft, the Falcons have a long ways to go in order to climb up the ladder in the NFL. There's a lot of optimism given the freshness of the roster, but with the newness comes a lot of uncertainty.
Given how much has changed for the Falcons this offseason at multiple positions including quarterback, it's hard to tell whether those changes will lead to wins or losses.