How the Falcons remade their WR room

Raheem Morris explains his 'deep history' with Kirk Cousins (1:24)

Falcons coach Raheem Morris tells Pat McAfee why he sees Kirk Cousins coming to Atlanta as an "outstanding match." (1:24)

The Atlanta Falcons didn't just overhaul their quarterback position by signing Kirk Cousins, they also rebuilt their wide receiver room, and the result has produced a much different look.

Gone are some of the taller targets from former coach Arthur Smith's tenure, including Mack Hollins (6-foot-4), Van Jefferson (6-1), Frank Darby (6-1), Bryan Edwards (6-3), Tajae Sharpe (6-2), Calvin Ridley (6-1) and Russell Gage (6-foot).

Of course, the main two pass-catchers, receiver Drake London (6-4) and tight end Kyle Pitts (6-6) will return for new coach Raheem Morris.

But complementing those two will be recent acquisitions, including Rondale Moore (5-7), Darnell Mooney (5-11) and Ray-Ray McCloud III (5-9). Atlanta re-signed KhaDarel Hodge, who is listed anywhere from 5-11 to 6-2 depending where you look.

They're smaller, but they add an important element.

"The opportunity presented for us to add speed to our room," Morris said at the league meetings in March.

One of the speedsters is Moore, who ran an unofficial 4.29 40-yard dash at his pro day in 2021. Moore then spent three seasons with the Arizona Cardinals, where Morris was able to see him twice a season as the defensive coordinator of the Los Angeles Rams.

Morris joked about adding speed to the Falcons "with a guy that I just got finished playing against for the last [three] years that drove me nuts."

Moore isn't the only one bringing speed to Atlanta. Mooney ran the 40 in 4.38 seconds at the 2020 combine. McCloud had a 4.53-second 40 at the 2018 combine.

"I thought putting pieces around [London] like the Mooneys, like the Rondale Moores, some of the guys that we're gonna bring in [was important]," Morris said. "Even some of the guys that we brought back that were already on our football team, I think those guys fit well within that room."

And it's not just speed. Moore, according to NFL's Next Gen Stats, had the biggest gap in separation on average of any receiver in the league last season at 4.5 yards. Mooney had a 3.1-yard average.

"You're gonna have the ability to add across from Drake London," Morris said. "You're going to have the ability to add, to be able to help all across the board."

These changes shouldn't be too surprising considering where new offensive coordinator Zac Robinson comes from. He had a variety of offensive assistant coaching roles with the Rams, who ran 11 personnel -- meaning three receivers, one running back and one tight end -- on 2,824 of their 3,153 offensive snaps the last three seasons (89.6%) according to ESPN Stats & Information.

That's 12.5% higher than the next team in the NFL, the Cincinnati Bengals -- another Sean McVay-influenced offense. Smith's offense the past three seasons ran plays out of 11 personnel the lowest percentage in the league (26.9%) and Atlanta was the only team to run 11 personnel fewer than 1,000 snaps since 2021 (837).

So that the Falcons would shift types of receivers makes sense.

Going to a speedier set of receivers, of course, doesn't always mean production. Atlanta's non-London receivers have one 1,000-yard season (Mooney with 1,055 yards in 2021 with the Chicago Bears) and two 500-plus yard seasons (Mooney in 2020 and 2021) between them.

And this doesn't necessarily mean an aversion to taller receivers, considering 17 of ESPN's Top 20 receivers in this year's draft -- a place the Falcons could spend draft capital -- are 6-foot or taller.