Running back Todd Gurley is joining a talented offense in Atlanta. Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

Adding Todd Gurley, Falcons projected to start 10 former first-round picks on offense

Todd Gurley is returning to Georgia after being released by the Los Angeles Rams on Thursday.

The University of Georgia product has agreed to a one-year, $6 million deal with the Atlanta Falcons, according to ESPN's Adam Schefter. After being paid $7.5 million by the Rams already, Gurley will make $11 million in 2020 and still remain one of the NFL's highest-paid running backs. 

With the signing of the 25-year-old back and the recent trade for former Baltimore Raven tight end Hayden Hurst, the Atlanta offense now has 10 former first-round draft picks who are projected to be starters in 2020. (

Here's a look at those 10 starters:

  • Matt Ryan (QB): Ryan was drafted by the Falcons third overall in 2008 out of Boston College. The 34-year-old has a 109-80 record in 12 seasons with the Falcons and has thrown over 51,186 yards and 321 touchdowns in his career. He's made four Pro Bowl and one Super Bowl appearance — a heartbreaking 34-28 loss to the New England Patriots in 2016.
  • Todd Gurley (RB): Gurley was drafted by the Los Angeles Rams 10th overall in 2015. In 73 games he has racked up 5,404 yards with 58 touchdowns and was key to the success of the Rams' recent success.
  • Hayden Hurst (TE): Hurst was drafted 25th overall by the Baltimore Ravens in 2018. In 28 games he has 43 receptions for 512 yards and three touchdowns. 
  • Julio Jones (WR): Jones was drafted by the Falcons sixth overall in 2011 and has become one of the best wide receivers in football. In 126 games he has 797 receptions for 12,125 yards and 57 touchdowns. 
  • Jake Matthews (LT): Matthews was drafted sixth overall in 2014 by the Falcons. He was selected to the 2018 Pro Bowl and has been a vital part of Atlanta's offensive line. 
  • Calvin Ridley (WR): Ridley was drafted 26th overall by the Falcons in 2018, one pick behind Hurst. In 29 games Ridley has 127 receptions for 1,687 yards and 17 touchdowns. While Jones is the Falcons primary receiver, Ridley is turning into a reliable outlet for Ryan. 
  • Chris Lindstrom (RG): Lindstrom was drafted by the Falcons 14th overall in 2019. The rookie played five games in 2019 and is set to get more playing time for Atlanta in 2020.
  • Kaleb McGary (RT): McGary was drafted 31st overall in 2019. The 25-year-old played all 16 games last season and even had a reception, although it went for minus-3 yards. McGary is set to start on Atlanta's offensive line and will be key to Gurley flourishing with the Falcons. 
  • James Carpenter (LG): Carpenter was drafted 25th overall by the Seahawks in 2011. He's one of the most experienced players on the Falcons' offensive line and has played 114 NFL games. He'll play a vital role in helping McGary and Lindstrom flourish on the line. 
  • Alex Mack (C): Mack was drafted by the Cleveland Browns 21st overall in 2009. He has played 165 games and is one of the most gifted centers in the league with six Pro Bowls under his belt. 

The only projected offensive starter who isn't a first-round pick is fullback Keith Smith, who came into the league undrafted. 

After going 7-9 in 2019, the Falcons have the opportunity to do some serious damage offensively with this amount of talent on hand.

Erin Walsh is a Boston sports fan through and through. Although many think Boston sports fans are insufferable, Erin tries to see things from a neutral perspective. Her passion is hockey, and she believes defense wins championships. In addition to covering sports for Yardbarker, she covers Boston sports for NBC Sports Boston. Follow her on Twitter @ewalsh90

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