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ESPN ranks Falcons among top teams in 'under-25 talent'

If these rankings are to be believed, the future is bright for Atlanta. 

The Atlanta Falcons have invested heavily in their young offensive weapons, and it's paid off. At least in terms of ESPN's future rankings, which is based on the skill of each team's players under the age of 25.

If these rankings are to be believed, the future is bright for Atlanta.

ESPN writer Aaron Schatz, who is also the chief analytics officer at FTN Fantasy (formerly Football Outsiders), ranked each NFL team based on the talent of its youngest players and found the Falcons to be among the very best.

"We hear a lot about the Falcons' skill position talent, and those players are still very young," Schatz writes. "(Bijan) Robinson, (Drake) London and (Kyle) Pitts all came into the league at age 21; Robinson is just 22 now, and London and Pitts are 23. Robinson played a key role for the Falcons as a rookie. He had 976 rushing yards on 214 carries and 487 receiving yards on 58 receptions. London has 1,771 receiving yards in two seasons, and Pitts has 2,049 receiving yards in three NFL seasons."

After adding veteran quarterback Kirk Cousins this offseason, as well as rookie quarterback Michael Penix, the Falcons hope to maximize their young talent at the skill positions.

London stands to benefit greatly from Cousins' presence. The four-time Pro Bowl quarterback has attempted nearly 60 percent of his passes towards wide receivers, and London should fill a role previously occupied by Stefon Diggs and DeSean Jackson. Last season, London caught 69 passes for 905 yards and two touchdowns. More importantly, London's 1.87 yards per route run ranked just below Diggs and ahead of Cooper Kupp and Chris Godwin last season.

Cousins has been most effective throughout his career when targeting tight ends, which bodes well for Pitts. When last paired with a Pro-Bowl-caliber quarterback, Pitts became the second tight end in NFL history to surpass 1,000 receiving yards as a rookie. After sustaining an injury that ended his 2022 season and impacted his play in 2023, Pitts is set to reestablish himself as a game-changing offensive player.

"Getting a healthy Kyle Pitts back gives you a really dynamic player that we believe in a lot since picking up his option in order to let him be a part of our immediate and hopefully long-term future," Falcons head coach Raheem Morris said this offseason. "If we can get this guy going, we all know what he could be and that's the job of a coach, to find out what a player can be and then go get the best out of him."

Finally, there's Robinson, who was exceptional as a rookie. The former Texas standout ranked 10th among all NFL players with 1,463 yards from scrimmage last season, highlighting his ability to impact the game as both a runner and receiver. That skill set should play right into Cousins' strengths as he has a nearly 102 quarterback rating when targeting that position.

The Falcons have invested heavily on the defensive side in free agency over the last few offseasons, but the 2024 offseason saw Atlanta's focus shift to the offense. With Cousins in the fold and a few more offensive weapons in hand, the stage is set for more firepower than we've seen in recent years.

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