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Analysis: How each new wide receiver could fit with the Falcons

Since free agency began, Atlanta has added three new weapons to the wide receiver room.  

FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. — Since the Falcons secured their quarterback, Kirk Cousins, on the first day of the new league year, most of their efforts following have focused on finding weapons for Cousins.

The Falcons signed wide receivers Darnell Mooney, Ray-Ray McCloud and KhaDarel Hodge, while Rondale Moore was acquired via trade.

Before making the transactions, the Falcons only had Drake London set in the 2024 position group. Hodge signed to return for a third season in Atlanta.

For Cousins, having a variety of options to spread the ball around is key. In all but one season during Cousins' time in Minnesota, two or more wide receivers recorded at least 500 receiving yards. In 2018, two different receivers recorded more than 1,000 yards.

So, how could each new weapon fit into the Falcons' 2024 offense? Let's take a closer look.


Darnell Mooney

  • Previous team: Chicago Bears
  • 2023 stats: 414 yards receiving, 31 receptions, 50.8% completion rate
  • Possible 2024 fit: WR2

Mooney was the first receiver domino to fall after the Cousins signing. It was reported Mooney agreed to terms with the Falcons March 12.

The former Bears receiver accounted for 414 yards and one touchdown last season. In his four-year career, he has recorded 2,593 yards on a 59.2% completion rate.

While 2023 was the least productive season to date, Mooney has proved he can carry an offensive load. In 2021, Mooney recorded more than 1,000 yards as the Bears' top receiver that season. Every other season, he has fit as the second receiver option — that could very well be the case in Atlanta behind London. Mooney also has the potential to be a down-field threat as he has recorded at least six receptions of more than 20 yards per season.


Rondale Moore

  • Previous team: Arizona Cardinals
  • 2023 stats: 352 yards receiving, 40 receptions, 64.5% completion rate
  • Possible 2024 fit: WR2 or WR3

Moore was the third new receiver added after the Falcons agreed to terms with the Cardinals to send quarterback Desmond Ridder in exchange for Moore on March 14.

Moore recorded 352 yards and a touchdown last season in Arizona.

Like Mooney, Moore has the opportunity to compete for the second receiver behind London. Moore had his best season in his rookie year, notching 435 yards receiving while catching 54 receptions at an 84.4% rate. He has been the third or lower option for the Cardinals with 23 starts in 39 total appearances. With an extended opportunity, Moore could make a jump in his fourth season.

Still, as a third option who has produced at least 350 yards and a touchdown in each of his three seasons in the league, Moore is still a significant upgrade from the Falcons' previous receiver production where only London recorded more than that amount.


Ray-Ray McCloud

  • Previous team: San Francisco 49ers
  • 2023 stats: 135 yards receiving, 12 receptions, 80% completion rate
  • Possible 2024 fit: Returner

McCloud agreed to terms with Atlanta March 14 and signed his two-year contract four days later.

McCloud has the potential to sit at the top of the Falcons depth chart next season as a returner. The receiver returned 24 punts for 203 yards and 10 kickoffs for 225 yards. In 2021, McCloud led the NFL in punt returns (38) and yards returned (367).

Dee Alford, Mike Hughes and Cordarrelle Patterson, now a free agent, filed out as Falcons returners last season. Avery Williams, who was the Falcons' designated punt returner the previous two seasons, spent the 2023 campaign on injured reserve. With McCloud's track record, he'll certainly compete to secure the spot during training camp.

McCloud can also contribute to the passing game. Previous to last season, McCloud recorded back-to-back years of more than 200 yards receiving, including a career-high 277 yards in 2021. That's by no means an eye-catching mark, but it keeps up with the Falcons' second-highest receiver total after London last season.

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