TE / Atlanta Falcons
Falcons tight end coach Justin Peele said Monday that Pitts (knee) is "on schedule" in his recovery, Josh Kendall of The Athletic reports.
Pitts is recovering from right knee surgery undergone late November to address a Grade 2 MCL sprain. Suffering the injury Week 11 cut Pitts' sophomore campaign short, as he logged just 10 appearances, but there haven't been any hints of concern out of Atlanta about him potentially missing time during offseason workouts. In any case, Pitts should be back to full health well before the start of the 2023 season, barring any setbacks. The athletic tight end posted 1,026 receiving yards as a rookie, and depending on the Falcons' quarterback situation next season, Pitts may once again be a popular option in the early rounds of fantasy drafts.
WR / Atlanta Falcons
Emezie's (undisclosed) practice-squad contract with Atlanta expired Monday, per the NFL's transaction log.
Emezie joined up with the Falcons' practice squad Nov. 24 less than two weeks after he was waived from Carolina's taxi squad. The 24-year-old then finished the season on the practice squad injured list with an undisclosed injury, and the nature of this issue was never disclosed before the end of his contract with Atlanta. Emezie will look to make his NFL debut heading into the 2023 regular season.
LB / Atlanta Falcons
Andersen tallied 69 tackles (40 solo), one forced fumble and one pass defense across 17 appearances during the 2022 campaign.
Andersen quickly carved out a role in Atlanta's defense during his rookie campaign and eventually overtook Mykal Walker as a starter to end the season. The 2022 second-round pick played at least 80 percent of the Falcons' defensive snaps in five games and totaled 34 tackles during those contests, including a career-high 13 stops against San Francisco in Week 6. Given his successful rookie campaign, it's safe to presume Andersen will have a significant role in Atlanta's defense to begin 2023, especially if the Falcons are unable to retain Rashaan Evans.
S / Atlanta Falcons
Hawkins produced 84 tackles (45 solo), six pass defenses, two interceptions, one forced fumble and a defensive touchdown across 16 appearances during the 2022 campaign.
After being a rotational piece in 2021, Hawkins earned a starting gig to begin 2022 and made the most of his opportunity by submitting a productive campaign. He missed just one game due to injury and recorded a career-high 84 tackles and six pass defenses. He also notched multiple interceptions for a second straight season and recorded his first career defensive touchdown. Barring an unforeseen change, Hawkins figures to start alongside Richie Grant to open the 2023 campaign, which will be the final year of Hawkins' rookie contract.
LB / Atlanta Falcons
Walker registered 107 tackles (56 solo), six pass defenses, two interceptions, one sack and one forced fumble across 16 appearances during the 2022 campaign.
Walker opened the season as a starter, posting 101 tackles, two interceptions and one sack across the first 12 games of the campaign. However, following Atlanta's Week 14 bye, he was replaced by rookie second-round pick Troy Andersen and saw just 39 defensive snaps over the final four games of the season. Overall, Walker's season totals look promising, but it appears he'll have an uphill battle for playing time during the final year of his rookie contract.
S / Atlanta Falcons
Grant posted 123 tackles (70 solo), seven pass defenses, two interceptions, one forced fumble and one fumble recovery across 17 appearances during the 2022 campaign.
After a modest rookie season, Grant, a 2021 second-round pick, won the starting free safety job during training camp and went on to submit his first 100-tackle campaign in 2022. He posted at least five stops in all but one game (Week 7 against Cincinnati) and notched his first two interceptions of his career. Grant has two years remaining on his rookie deal and figures to be a core piece of Atlanta's secondary in 2023.