How Did The Falcons Do In The Draft?

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Dec 31, 2016; Orlando, FL, USA; LSU Tigers linebacker Duke Riley (4) reacts with defensive back Dwayne Thomas (13) against the Louisville Cardinals during the second half at Camping World Stadium. LSU Tigers defeated the Louisville Cardinals 29-9. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
Dec 31, 2016; Orlando, FL, USA; LSU Tigers linebacker Duke Riley (4) reacts with defensive back Dwayne Thomas (13) against the Louisville Cardinals during the second half at Camping World Stadium. LSU Tigers defeated the Louisville Cardinals 29-9. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

I wrote up a brief profile on the Falcons’ first round pick, Takk McKinley on Friday, but I’m sure you’re wondering how the draft went for them overall? Pretty well actually.


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CBS Sports’ Pete Prisco gave the Falcons a solid B+, and everyone’s favorite (or at least best known) draft analyst Mel Kiper came in a bit lower at B-. While not an A draft according to the prognosticators, the Falcons’ draft seems to average a B.

The Good

The Falcons picked up players that fit their scheme. McKinley, the new edge rusher to complement superstar Vic Beasley, has the speed and length that head coach Dan Quinn covets on defense, as does third round linebacker Duke Riley out of LSU.

While the lower rounds typically produce players either rougher around the edges or with a lower ceiling, the Falcons were able to grab potential contributors with all of their remaining picks. Fourth round offensive lineman Sean Harlow should be the team’s starting right guard heading into the season.

Out of the trio of fifth rounders, Damontae Kazee has the most upside. While undersized, he’s a quick ballhawk who’ll likely challenge for the nickel cornerback job. Halfback Brian Hill is a bruiser who should solidly spell┬ácurrent starter Devonta Freeman and backup Tevin Coleman. Finally, while tight end Eric Saubert is from a small school, he has big upside with his size and speed, though he’ll mostly play on special teams at first.

The Bad

Nothing. They were able to acquire players at the top of their boards who fit in positions of need.

The Meh

Very rarely do I like to give up picks to jump up a few spots. For example, I’m a big fan of new Chicago Bears’ quarterback Mitchell Trubisky, but not for what they gave up for him. The McKinley trade up felt like general manager Thomas Dimitroff and company gave up a little too much for one player. But looking back, McKinley does fit into the Falcons’ scheme better than the other players left on the board.

And Dimitroff was able to trade back in the second round, get his target in Riley, and add two fifth round picks. It made the Takk trade more palatable.

Overall

A B/B+ is well deserved. This was a team that should have won a Super Bowl, so they didn’t have too many needs. While they didn’t have deep draft hauls like Cleveland or San Francisco, they plugged holes with the best available players that fit their scheme.

With the addition of twenty or so undrafted free agents (none worth noting really), the Falcons are in a good position to continue to climb back to the Super Bowl.

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