ATLANTA FALCONS NFL DRAFT PLAN OF ATTACK
WR, DT, DE, LB, CB, G, RB
FREE AGENT ACQUISITIONS:
DT Tyeler Davison, OLB Dante Fowler Jr., RB Todd Gurley, TE Hayden Hurst, WR Laquon Treadwell
FREE AGENT LOSSES:
TE Austin Hooper, RB Devonta Freeman, RB Kenjon Barner, WR Justin Hardy, TE Luke Stocker, OT Ty Sambrailo, G Wes Schweitzer, DE Adrian Clayborn, LB De’Vondre Campbell, OLB Vic Beasley, CB Desmond Trufant, S Jonathan Cyprien
ROUND 1 TARGETS:
DT Javon Kinlaw, CB CJ Henderson, OLB K’Lavon Chaisson, LB Patrick Queen, LB Kenneth Murray, S Xavier McKinney, DE AJ Epenesa, CB Kristian Fulton, RB D’Andre Swift
ROUND 2 TARGETS:
WR Brandon Aiyuk, WR Jalen Reagor, WR K.J. Hamler, WR Tee Higgins, CB A.J. Terrell, CB Jaylon Johnson, CB Noah Igbinoghene, OLB Jabari Zuniga, OLB Curtis Weaver, OLB Terrell Lewis, OLB Julian Okwara, G Lloyd Cushenberry III, DT Ross Blacklock, DT Neville Gallimore, DT Justin Madibuke, RB Jonathan Taylor, RB JK Dobbins, RB Clyde Edwards-Helaire, DT Justin Madubuike, DT Marlon Davidson
ROUND 3 TARGETS:
WR K.J. Hill, WR Van Jefferson, WR Collin Johnson, WR Chae Claypool, WR Bryan Edwards, CB Amik Robertson, CB Cameron Dantzler, CB Troy Pride Jr., OLB Troy Dye, OLB Willie Gay Jr., OLB Malik Harrison, G Solomon Kindley, G Tyler Biadasz, G Jonah Jackson, G Matt Hennessey, G Robert Hunt, G Ben Bredeson, RB Cam Akers, RB Zack Moss, DT Leki Fotu, DT Jordan Elliott, DT Davon Hamilton
PLAN OF ATTACK:
The Falcons are a bit of a difficult team to predict especially in the first round. There are players who could fill some needs for them like Javon Kinlaw and CJ Henderson but they could both be gone. They could reach a bit and get their running back of the future in D’Andre Swift. He’s a patient back with good hands, and vision. He could take over the primary duties after the one season with Todd Gurley. The Falcons could also get a linebacker to plug in the middle of their defense. Patrick Queen from LSU would make sense, as would Kenneth Murray from Oklahoma. It’s not hard to envision either of these tackling machines being plugged into the middle of the Falcons defense and immediately producing. The Falcons could also reach for a guard like Cesar Ruiz. If the board falls as expected the Falcons best move may be to trade down and fill a need later in the first round while acquiring some extra picks.
The first order of business for the Falcons in the second round could be to look for a guard. They’d love to be able to land Cesar Ruiz or Lloyd Cushenberry here. Both of these would be upgrades over current starter James Carpenter and would form a solid duo with second-year man Chris Lindstrom. If they are both gone the team could add some depth at cornerback. They lost longtime starter Desmond Trufant in free agency and could look for a young replacement. Jaylon Johnson and Noah Igbinoghene could still be on the board. Johnson has great size and length and is a very willing tackler. Igbinoghene will need a little time to develop but is very physical in coverage and is an excellent return man.
The Falcons could also get their running back of the future in round 2. It’s likely that Jonathan Taylor is off the board at this point but either J.K, Dobbins or Clyde Edwards-Helaire could still be there. Todd Gurley isn’t the longterm solution at running back for this team and they could definitely get their future bell-cow here. Edwards-Helaire is a nice option, he’s only 5’7 but has a stout muscular frame and if he improves his ability to pass block could be a back who doesn’t come off the field for the Falcons.
In round 3 the Falcons could some depth at cornerback. Losing Desmond Trufant hurt and the team currently has unproved Jordan Miller topping the depth chart. They could see some solid options in the third round as this is a fairly deep cornerback class. The undersized playmaker Amik Robertson could be considered as could Cameron Dantzler, or Virginia’s Bryce Hall. Any of these guys would compete for playing time. The Falcons could also grab the guard they covet here. Local boy Solomon Kindley, and versatile Wisconsin Badger Tyler Biadasz would be solid choices. The Falcons could also look for a young defensive tackle with Jordan Elliott, Leki Fotu, and Davon Hamilton being options. If the Falcons still need a running back they could go with multi-purpose Cam Akers or powerful Zack Moss.
Round 1: LB Patrick Queen, LSU
Round 2: RB Clyde Edwards-Helaire, LSU
Round 3: CB Bryce Hall, Virginia