The Falcons were the 30th ranked special teams unit by Rick Gosselin’s 2019 rankings with 451 points. The longtime sportswriter and Pro Football Hall of Fame voter ranks teams in 22 categories from 32 (worst) to 1 (best).
This was the 41st year for Gosselin’s ratings.
The top unit was New Orleans with 256 points. The Panthers (28th overall) and Tampa Bay (32) were down in the same neighborhood with NFC South division opponent the Falcons.
The Falcons, who were in the first year under coordinator Ben Kotwica, were first in takeaways with five and second in points scored with 12.
“There were a lot of good things we did,” Kotwica said. “There’s definitely room for improvement. We were able to turn the football over on the opponent’s side a handful of times. We created some turnovers and field position for our football team.”
The Falcons used a draft pick to select Syracuse punter Sterling Hofrichter in the seventh round (228th overall). He’ll battle Ryan Allen to replace Matt Bosher, who ended last season on injured reserve.
The Falcons have raved about Hofrichter’s quick motion to get his punts off and his hangtime. If he can do that a the NFL level, that would help the coverage units.
The Falcons also picked up linebacker Mykal Walker (119th overall) and safety Jaylinn Hawkins (134th) in the fourth round of the draft and are counting on them to help on special teams.
“We feel that we’ve acquired some assets to move in the right direction and improve,” Kotwica said.
Also, the Falcons did not re-sign returner Kenjon Barner and will have a open competition. Wide receivers Brandon Powell, Olamide Zaccheaus and Chris Rowland are the main candidates.
Key additions: Hofrichter, Walker, Hawkins
Losses: Bosher, Barner
Specialists: Younghoe Koo, Allen, Hofrichter and long snapper Josh Harris.
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