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Bair Mail: On Cordarrelle Patterson, Mack Hollins and Falcons receivers, plus the future of Matthew Bergeron

Your questions get answers in this Monday mailbag

The Falcons have a full squad set up for the offseason program. That includes the rookies and NFL draft picks, who joined the established pros after rookie minicamp.


So we're starting a ramp-up period that heads toward OTAs and a mandatory minicamp, as much of a real football practice period as you'll see in the spring.

There's plenty to discuss heading into the next phase of the offseason program, so let's get to topics you want to talk about in this Monday editions of Bair Mail.

Bryan Schaffer from Asheville, N.C.

What are the chances that the Falcons will keep Cordarrelle Patterson on the roster, and how important is that for the team's running (and passing) attack? Thanks!

Bair: There's a 100-percent chance, Bryan, that Cordarrelle Patterson stays on the roster. I know where your head is at, though, in thinking that CP might get squeezed out with Bijan Robinson and Tyler Allgeier ready to roll. The first reason why: positional versatility. Patterson can be more of a receiver than a runner in 2023, which would assist an area of weakness.

Let's also not forget that CP is a big dude who can get after it between the tackles and can score touchdowns. And Arthur Smith is an innovator who will create opportunities for his skill players. I'm super confident in saying that, despite Allgeier and Robinson, Patterson is going to have a big, impactful year.

Joel Rice from Pickens, S.C.

Let's me start by saying I love reading these mailbags and am now a permanent fan. I wanted to ask since we didn't draft a wide receiver and decided to look more to free agency and updrafted pick up, who do you think has the best shot of giving Mack Hollins a run for the WR2 spot across from Drake London? I feel like Keilahn Harris has a really good shot at it.

Bair: Appreciate ya, Joel. And everyone else who asked about the Falcons receiver position. There were, shall I say, a lot of you.

I think we should all consider Mack Hollins the No. 2 receiver. I don't think that will change at this point, unless something odd happens. Not that that's a bad thing. The man had 57 catches for 690 yards last season. That's No. 2 receiver material. And he blocks like heck for the run, which is essential in this offense. Hollins fits well into what this scheme requires as a pass catcher, too, as a tough-as-nails, go-across-the-middle talent who can pick up big yards. I'd bet he functions well in Atlanta.

But, don't forget that Kyle Pitts will flex out wide a ton. And Patterson can be used as a receiver. And, oh yeah, Jonnu Smith has created some havoc in the passing game.

That said, I would keep turning over receiver rocks, as they did with J.J. Arecega-Whiteside, until they find the right answers.

Bill Whitten from Killen, Ala.

Scott, why do you think the Falcons thought so highly of Matthew Bergeron who never played guard to give a 4th round pick to move up and select rather than take O'Cyrus Torrence who was an All-America who only played guard and was projected in some mock drafts to be selected in the first round?

Bair: Hey Bill. Thanks, as always, for the question. Matthew Bergeron is a tank. He has an NFL build and, after watching him work even in a no-pads situation at Falcons rookie minincamp, you can tell he's an aggressor and a people mover. I don't necessarily think you should look at him as someone who can only step in at left guard., though. If he plays that position for more than one contract, that's a win. But he's a career tackle and, in theory, could be an option to move back outside should there be an availability in years to come. Jake Matthews and Kaleb McGary are here for the next few seasons, but Bergeron could slide outside if there's a vacancy. If not, keep him inside.

I think that it's that flexibility that is attractive, especially if they project him as an elite guard talent, that puts him above Torrence. Also, this could be another situation where mock drafts (including mine) value a player more than teams do. That happens every year.

Call for questions

Submit your questions right here for inclusions in Wednesday's pre-OTAs edition of Bair Mail.

Take a look at the 2023 Atlanta Falcons in action during OTA practice.

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