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Draft Decisions

NFL Draft Needs: Falcons

by Josh Norris
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 plenty of 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

Josh Norris
Josh Norris is an NFL Draft Analyst for Rotoworld and contributed to the Rams scouting department during training camp of 2010 and the 2011 NFL Draft. He can be found on Twitter .