Falcons offseason plans include helping out Kirk Cousins

ATLANTA – As the Atlanta Falcons approach the draft and the remainder of the season, there are things the club must accomplish to prepare for a successful training camp and first season under coach Raheem Morris.

Some are obvious. Some less so. They will all have some level of importance in what Morris is trying to bring to Atlanta for the first time since 2017: a winning season and a playoff experience.

With that in mind, here are some things the Falcons should consider before heading out for their summer vacation.

Find out what the edge rusher situation is

This will likely be something that will play out during training camp, but from a personnel perspective, pass rushers remain the biggest question for Atlanta. It’s a position the Falcons were able to easily address during the first two days of the draft.

If Atlanta chooses to select an edge rusher at No. 8, the three most likely options are Alabama’s Dallas Turner, Florida State’s Jared Verse and UCLA’s Laiatu Latu.

Turner, who had 10 sacks last season, got pressure on 16.7% of his pass-rush snaps and also had 84 plays in coverage, according to ESPN Stats & Information. Verse had nine sacks and pressure on 16.5% of his pass-rush snaps and dropped into coverage just 25 times. Latu had 13 sacks and pressure on 20.4% of his pass-rush snaps last year, getting into coverage 31 times and intercepting two passes.

“It’s about how they fit with us and what things they can do with us,” Morris said. “And how they can be part of our football team.”

It’s unclear how Atlanta plans to use second-year defensive end Zach Harrison, but Harrison showed potential as a pass rusher the final month of last season. The Falcons also return Arnold Ebiketie (six sacks), Lorenzo Carter (three sacks) and DeAngelo Malone, along with Ade Ogundeji, who missed last season with an ankle/foot injury.

Depending on how the draft unfolds, it wouldn’t be surprising to see Atlanta add a veteran or two after the draft once the potential routes to playing time become clearer. Ex-Falcons Calais Campbell and Bud Dupree remain unsigned.

There’s no need to rush the veteran quarterback this spring as he recovers from his torn right Achilles. Cousins ​​has been positive about his rehabilitation process, saying in March that he feels “really great.”

Cousins ​​said he could then throw and drop back, but if he had to move in the pocket, the recovery would be noticeable. Cousins ​​hopes to be at full speed during minicamp in late June, but this is also his first major injury. And he is 35 years old.

He’s learning a new offense, though many of the principles may be similar as he goes from one Sean McVay protege in the Vikings’ Kevin O’Connell to another in Robinson.

Atlanta can use the time early in the offseason to get reps for Taylor Heinicke and whichever third quarterback they land.

Start creating the long-term plan

Atlanta must decide by May 2 whether to terminate tight end Kyle Pitts’ fifth-year option.

The Falcons could also opt to extend cornerback AJ Terrell, who enters his fifth-year option as the team’s most notable potential free agent in 2025.

Drew Dalman, the team’s starter for the past two seasons, is also in the final year of his rookie deal.

In addition to contract situations, the Falcons should use the spring to evaluate. Spring is the time for experimentation, for cross-training and for getting an idea of ​​what a player could do, in addition to what is already known. So with a new offense and a new defense, getting a handle on roles — and potential versatility across the roster — during training camp can be an advantage.