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Falcons collection of former first-rounders not by design

The Falcons aren't dominating the headlines going into the season, but Mike Florio and Chris Simms agree that it would be a mistake to sleep on Atlanta.

The Falcons can roll an entire offense out this season, consisting of nothing but first-round picks.

But it doesn’t stop there, as they’ve collected pedigreed players on both sides of the ball.

But Falcons General Manager Thomas Dimitroff said it wasn’t a prerequsite, after last week’s signing of cornerback Darqueze Dennard pushed their total to 18 former first-rounders on the roster.

There was no golden plan to have as many firsts as we could,” Dimitroff said, via D. Orlando Ledbetter of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “The reality is that we have some very talented football players on this football team. . . .

“I continue to see this group as I’m interacting with them and watching them in walk-throughs and such, I realize that there is this sort of evolving maturity and consistency about this team that we’ve been driving for that I feel like is starting to come into place”

In addition to Dennard (24th overall in 2014), and their own first-round pick in cornerback A.J. Terrell (16th overall), the Falcons also added linebacker Deone Bucannon (27th, 2014), defensive end Dante Fowler (3rd, 2015), running back Todd Gurley (10th, 2015) wide receiver Laquon Treadwell (23rd, 2016), defensive end Charles Harris (22nd, 2017) and tight end Hayden Hurst (25th, 2018) this offseason.

They have 11 former first-rounders on offense, and seven on defense.

If nothing else, it’s a collection of guys with some degree of experience, which should help if there are ever COVID-19-related shortages.

“I know that it’s really important for us in general, but even more so important in a pandemic year like we are dealing with,” Dimitroff said. “You can have all of the talent in the world, but if you’re not consistent and mature and accountable and focused, I don’t think a team would have a chance during [this] time.”

While not all of those players have lived up to their draft expectations — or some of them wouldn’t have been available to the Falcons — it also creates some pressure on the staff. Ostensibly, such a collection of talent ought to perform, or the guys who acquired them and coached them could come into question.