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Draft Analysis

NFL Draft Needs: Falcons

by Evan Silva
Updated On: October 4, 2018, 4:04 pm ET

Evan Silva (@EvanSilva) is the Senior Football Editor for Rotoworld's NFL Page, and Josh Norris (@JoshNorris) leads Rotoworld's college football and NFL draft coverage. Together, they're breaking down every team's biggest needs and offering potential draft-day solutions.

For a breakdown on every team, check out the team-by-team draft preview schedule.


No. 1 Team Need: Offensive Line



Silva's Analysis


Even after signing C Alex Mack, Atlanta's offensive line shortcomings are on the interior. LG Andy Levitre is overpaid ($6.5 million) relative to his performance and was a rumored release candidate at the beginning of the offseason. Mike Person, Ben Garland and James Stone won't cut it across from Levitre. The Falcons need to come out of the draft with a starting right guard. OC Kyle Shanahan prefers lighter linemen with movement ability for his zone-running scheme.


No. 2 Team Need: Defensive Back

Silva's Analysis

LCB Desmond Trufant and RCB Robert Alford form an underrated starting tandem, but Atlanta lacks a viable slot corner to play between them. At safety, the Falcons return size- and speed-deficient FS Ricardo Allen and should-be special teamer SS Kemal Ishmael after releasing over-the-hill William Moore. In coach Dan Quinn's Seahawks-style defense, the strong safety must be able to run the alley, intimidate with physicality and aggressiveness and match up with tight ends in a pinch.


No. 3 Team Need: Tight End

Silva's Analysis

The Falcons' offseason began with outside pass rush as their biggest need, but they may feel comfortable with their defensive end rotation after reuniting Adrian Clayborn with RE Vic Beasley and signing power end Derrick Shelby from Miami. Up next was pass catcher, where $32.5 million free-agent pickup Mohamed Sanu is best employed as a role player. Adding an impact receiving tight end could further mitigate Atlanta's pass-catching deficiency. Incumbent Jacob Tamme is a 31-year-old backup-caliber player entering his contract year. Another Falcons need is interior defensive line depth behind 34-year-old Jonathan Babineaux, inconsistent Ra'Shede Hageman and promising sophomore Grady Jarrett.


Norris' Mock Draft

Round 1 (17): LB Darron Lee, Ohio State - With just five selections, the Falcons are prime trade down targets. This could easily be safety first, linebacker second. More than anything, Dan Quinn needs to add speed at linebacker. He had it in Seattle and lacks it in Atlanta. Lee played a hybrid safety/linebacker role at Ohio State and can get to portions of the field other linebackers cannot, play in and play out.


Round 2 (50): S Keanu Neal, Florida - Just like the Falcons need to add speed at linebacker, the team also needs a bully on defense. Neal is just that. He is so much fun to watch, like a missile hitting its target with intent. Neal certainly fits the strong safety mold many teams look for. If the team waits, D.J. Hunter is an option later on.


Round 3 (81): G Connor McGovern, Missouri - McGovern could be selected earlier than this, like in the second-round territory. The collegiate left tackle will move inside to guard and might start immediately in the NFL. He is one of the top athletes in this class along the offensive line, so teams will have to compete with the Seahawks to draft him.


Round 4 (115): TE Jerell Adams, South Carolina - It would not shock me if some teams grade Adams as the top inline option in this class. He has displayed the ability to make contested catches in the middle of the field, is a solid blocker for the position and boasts a 6-foot-5, 247-pound frame.


Round 7 (238): CB Blake Countess, Auburn - Countess is one of the more experienced slot corners in this draft, and played against major competition at both Michigan and Auburn.




Falcons Current Offensive Depth Chart


QB: Matt Ryan


RB: Devonta Freeman


WR: Julio Jones


WR: Mohamed Sanu


WR: Justin Hardy


TE: Jacob Tamme


LT: Jake Matthews


LG: Andy Levitre


C: Alex Mack


RG: Mike Person


RT: Ryan Schraeder


Falcons Current Defensive Depth Chart


RE: Vic Beasley


LE: Adrian Clayborn


DT: Jonathan Babineaux


DT: Ra'Shede Hageman


MLB: Paul Worrilow


WLB: Sean Weatherspoon


SLB: Brooks Reed


LCB: Desmond Trufant


RCB: Robert Alford


FS: Ricardo Allen


SS: Kemal Ishmael

Evan Silva
Evan Silva is a senior football editor for Rotoworld.com. He can be found on Twitter .