The Tori Takeovers are over. It's time for Bair Mail to officially be back.
First of all, thanks to Tori McElhaney for steering the ship when I spent the last week-plus in lounging in Key West, with a fearless six-year-old pushing me to swim farther into the deep.
What can I say: Jackson is a hard charger. He's afraid of nothing.
He parasailed. He paddle-boarded on his own. He snorkeled and didn't panic when we saw a shark in the wide-open ocean. He's a rare kind of adventurer, and I love that about him.
He also knows a ton about the Falcons – Kyle Pitts is his favorite – and is as excited as heck about a training camp that's roughly a week away. Let's get to your questions about what's to come in this Monday mailbag:
Krepton from Savannah, Ga.
Awesome job on keeping all us bored falcons fans entertained thru the offseason! This might be the most exciting training camp/ preseason we have had in a while. With all the new additions, plus some existing depth players do you think will turn some heads? Also early predictions, who gets crowned champ of training camp/ preseason? Really bored these days!!
Bair: I think everyone is tired of me saying Lorenzo Carter is going to be this year's breakout candidate. I know Tori is. I won't stop talking about the UGA alum on Falcons Final Whistle and in our text chain. Oh, and I never let her write about him, mostly because I insist on signing his praises.
Well, let's say it again, with a bold prediction: Lorenzo Carter is going to kick serious ass this year. To the tune of 10 sacks. That's me sticking my neck way out there. I know that's a lot. I don't know. I just think he's a physical freak who hasn't realized his full potential. This Falcons scheme will extract it.
I'll make a backup pick, too, by saying Bryan Edwards is also ready for a big year. We're all going to closely follow Drake London, for obvious reasons, but I think Kyle Pitts and Edwards are going to be the primary targets. Receiver's a hard position to master. If London figures it out early, thumb's up. If not, there's room for others to shine in a receiver group that's far better than it was a year ago. I think that's Edwards, to the tune of 750 yards. I know those are bold numbers. Hashtag: Freezing cold takes.
The veterans and rookies were out on the field during Minicamps this week putting in some extra work and interacting with fans before the summer break.
Miaz Clark from Cordele, Ga.
I think the falcons should draft Bryce Young or CJ Stroud and we need to sign Ereck Flowers from the Washington football team
Bair: It obviously, Miaz, depends on where the Falcons draft. If they're in the 1 or 2 slot and believe in one of those two men, then draft one. The end. As I've said a thousand times before, you more mountains if you have a shot at a generational quarterback.
There will be, however no tanking to get them. Head coach Arthur Smith and GM Terry Fontenot aren't built that way. They also aren't blind to the fact that they have an uncertain QB situation that won't be cured by drafting Desmond Ridder at No. 74 overall. Having Desmond Ridder on the roster will not change their perspective if they're drafting in the top 2. That means the season when horribly wrong and neither Ridder nor Marcus Mariota played well. I, for one, think Mariota will be productive and establish himself as a starting NFL quarterback. He has too many tools and is too motivated to fail. That's my take at this stage.
Cliff Howell from Urbanna, Va.
I enjoy reading your column sometimes. Do you think we will see a significant change in the defense this year last year it was kind of iffy. Thanks
Bair: The Falcons have needed defensive improvement for years. Part of that is on the front office. The previous regime didn't draft well in that regard. Now that Matt Ryan's gone, the Falcons can't rely on a quarterback to carry them through. Arthur Smith's scheme is legit and on its way. The offense is only as good as its defense will allow, and I think the secondary is in good shape. They've got AJ Terrell and Casey Hayward and what I think will be a youth movement in at the safety position. Maybe Mykal Walker turns into something and Troy Andersen develops. If all those things happen. That's also a lot of maybes. If the drafted players develop, this defense will be better down the road. In the interim, however, it might take some lumps/
Call for questions
Let's fill up the mailbag for the next week!! Submit your questions right here for inclusion in Wednesday's mailbag.