The Falcons announced the team has signed second-rounder Arnold Ebiketie, which means Desmond Ridder is the only member of the 2022 rookie class that remains unsigned.
Atlanta traded up to the No. 38 overall pick to select the Penn State product, who is set to make $9.69 million over four years, per OverTheCap.com. Ebiketie will have an opportunity to make an immediate impact during his first season, given the thin edge position group. Ade Ogundeji is the only member of the 2021 group returning as the Falcons signed Lorenzo Carter in free agency while plucking Ebiketie and DeAngelo Malone from the draft.
For the past decade, the club’s pass rush has been non-existent. They clearly saw the prospect they wanted in Ebiketie, trading up with the Giants to secure him. The self-proclaimed Doctor of Pass Rush will have to have a rookie season on par with what Kyle Pitts did last year to turn this Falcons pass rush into even an average unit.
Atlanta ranked dead last in sacks last season, 11 fewer than the second-to-last place Eagles and less than some individual players totaled. He’ll undoubtedly have a primary role in Dean Pees’ defense as a rookie, but Falcons fans should temper expectations for his first season. Rushing the passer is one of the most challenging things to do as a first-year player, so there’s definitely a learning curve.
As I mentioned at the beginning of the article, Ridder remains the only member of the 2022 draft class unsigned. Ridder was a third-round pick, so his pay scale should be even less than Ebiketie’s.