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.
Falcons Team Need No. 1: Defensive Line
The Falcons are disturbingly thin on the defensive interior, where DT Grady Jarrett is entering his contract season and only DE/DT Jack Crawford and practice-squad type Joey Ivie are under contract for 2018. On the edge, teams can pretty much always use pass-rush help.
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Falcons Team Need No. 2: Pass Catcher
The Falcons’ wideout depth behind Julio Jones and Mohamed Sanu consists of Justin Hardy, Marvin Hall and Nick Williams. At tight end, Austin Hooper returns from a slow second NFL season, and No. 2 TE Logan Paulsen was brought in to block. The Falcons would be in trouble if Julio, Sanu, or Hooper went down in 2018. They were lucky all three stayed healthy last year.
Falcons Team Need No. 3: Linebacker
The Falcons don’t have many holes relative to other teams, but one that also warrants mentioning here is interior offensive line depth. Depth is also needed at linebacker, where Atlanta has only four players under contract for 2018. The Falcons emphasize sideline-to-sideline range, tackling efficiency and three-down skills on the second level of their defense.
Norris’ Mock Draft
Round 1 (26): DL Taven Bryan, Florida - Dan Quinn prioritizes interior quickness, explosion and disruption in defensive tackles. That is Bryan’s game. After getting upfield, Bryan has no idea what to do. He is a ball of clay, and I’ll bank on NFL coaches earning their salary when coaching him. The fit is almost too obvious.
Round 2 (58): WR DaeSean Hamilton, Penn State - Per beat writer Vaughn McClure, the Falcons have displayed interest in Hamilton during the process. He’s a fantastic prospect who can line up inside or outside. His game translates to the NFL, and the Falcons might need help immediately.
Round 3 (90): DL PJ Hall, Sam Houston State - Another prospect who visited the Falcons. Hall is somewhat similar to Bryan, but that should be viewed as a positive. The Falcons have depth on the edge and at linebacker, so adding more interior disruptors should be a priority. It could take the defense to the next level.
Round 4 (126): CB Grant Haley, Penn State - Brian Poole is solid but could be upgraded on. The slot corner class is outstanding, and that includes Haley. He has very good athleticism and an aggressive mentality.
Round 6 (200): EDGE Ade Aruna, Tulane - Explosion, explosion, explosion. Aruna can’t bend at all, but in a straight line he might be able to force a quarterback off his spot.
Round 7 (244): LB Zaire Franklin, Syracuse - Athleticism constitutes to be an important part of the defensive side, and Franklin offers that sideline to sideline speed.
Round 7 (256): T Korey Cunningham, Cincinnati - Another prospect the Falcons displayed interest in. Possible developmental tackle.