Atlanta Falcons 2021 Season Awards

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The 2021 Atlanta Falcons season left little to celebrate as far as awards go. They had a point differential of -146, ranked fifth-worst in the league. The next team with seven wins was the Washington Football Team with -99. But let this be a much-needed reflection on the positives that the team had this season. Coming into this season, there were some players that we knew would have big seasons. However, there were also those players that exceeded expectations to get on this list. So, without further ado and minimal applause, let us give out the 2021 season awards for this year’s Atlanta Falcons team.

Season Awards for the 2021 Atlanta Falcons

Most Valuable Player (and Offensive Rookie of the Year): Kyle Pitts

The MVP award was one of the more difficult decisions to make. On a team this devoid of talent, anybody that plays well looks like they are the most valuable to the team. However, when studying the tape from the 2021 season, nobody affected the offense and their success more than the young generational talent, Kyle Pitts

At first glance, this doesn’t make sense because he only had one touchdown all season. And it wasn’t even on American soil. But the versatility of Pitts as both a tight end and receiver proves his worth two times over. He continuously drew double teams to open up opportunities for others on the offensive end. He did this while also leading the team in both receptions (68) and receiving yards (1026). 

One other thing that gives Pitts the MVP is that he signifies the most positive aspect of this year’s team: Hope for the future. Pitts was the first pick in the Terry Fontenot-Arthur Smith era. And so far, he has done his best to live up to the hype. He also won the offensive rookie of the year award by a landslide. With Jalen Mayfield’s abysmal first year and neither Frank Darby nor Feleipe Franks seeing the field, Pitts may as well have run unopposed. 

Offensive Player of the Year: Cordarrelle Patterson

Some may say that Cordarrelle Patterson deserved to be the MVP of this year’s team. There is certainly an argument to be made for that. Patterson led the team in yards from scrimmage with 1166 (548 receiving, 618 rushing). His role in this offense continued to evolve throughout the season, from outside receiver to premier running back. 

Patterson came into this year on a one-year “prove-it” deal and may have played himself out of another year with the Falcons. Patterson needed this year as he had eight years of teams misusing his talent and gifts. He may have very well found himself a home right here in Atlanta. 

Defensive Player of the Year and Comeback Player of the Year: A.J. Terrell

There is no denying who was the best player on this defense week in and week out. A.J. Terrell was the definition of a “lockdown corner” all season. Terrell ended the year with the second-best PFF grade behind Jalen Ramsey. Terrell only allowed 200 receiving yards all season while also allowing the lowest catch rate, and the lowest passer rating allowed in the league, according to PFF.

Dean Pees has outlined how more man coverage is in the cards for the future of the Falcons. Now, this defense can start making the next steps towards Pees’ vision behind Terrell’s resurgence. He also received comeback player of the year after his less-than-stellar rookie year.

Defensive Rookie of the Year: Adetokunbo Ogundeji

This year’s rookie class did not see much time on the field, especially on the defensive end. However, one of the lone bright spots was Adetokunbo Ogundeji, the fifth-rounder out of Notre Dame. Ogundeji ended the year with 33 combined tackles, 18 solo, five TFLs, and one sack. Not stellar numbers but he showed flashes of getting to the quarterback and disrupting offenses. 

While Ogundeji did flash more than any other rookie, this is an indictment on Fontenot’s first rookie class. Especially from a defensive standpoint. An edge defender with one sack was the best rookie to come out of his first year. Either huge jumps need to be made from all of this year’s rookie class or Fontenot will have to bite the bullet on a poor first-year class for this team. 

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