With the draft in the books time to go back and do a wrap up of how teams made out. I might be a bit of a harsh critic to the top 3 round picks, but that is where you need to hit in the draft to be successful. Sure most of the league is 4th rounders and later, but any that turn into Pro Bowlers or All-Pro players is mostly out of luck. So without further adieu, the Dirty Bird Atlanta Falcons are on the clock.
1 (16) - A.J. Terrell CB Clemson - D originally......revised to a C+
2 (15) - Marlon Davidson DE Auburn - B-
3 (14) - Matt Hennessy C Temple - B-
I truly have no idea why coach Dan Quinn and GM Thomas Dimitroff are still at the helm down in Atlanta. Outside of picking Calvin Ridley a few drafts ago and getting one good year out of Vic Beasley they have done a poor job of drafting. More importantly, Quinn has done a very terrible job of developing talent as well. Last year they moved up to reach on the pair of Chris Lindstrom and Kaleb McGary. Neither performed that great. Now I did love the player Terrell and I do think he was the safest corner prospect in the class. However, he was a 2nd round talent at best and they could have easily traded down to land him. I do understand the thought of reaching on Terrell due to this not being the deepest class at corner, but taking him with the 16th pick was just terrible value. Just like when they reached for those two blockers and Takk McKinley the past few drafts. Terrell should work since he does have great technique, experience, and length. He lacks true game changer talent and was never known as a ball hawking corner, which is why taking him this high was just foolish. Davidson was a typical safe Falcons pick on Day 2 where they could have done better with a safety, or a better corner like Jaylon Johnson and Trevon Diggs who were still on the board. They could have also gotten a better edge rusher on Day 1 if they had taken YGM or K'Lavon Chaisson instead of reaching on Terrell. Davidson like in my Day 2 grades reminds me of former Falcon Adrian Clayborne. He is a high floor, experienced, and bull rusher type who will work in this league. Unfortunately, he will always leave you wishing he could give you more as a sack artist as he will most likely just be an edge setting run stuffer. For sure both of these picks were made with stopping Brees and Brady in mind, but I am not sure either will be strong enough to do it consistently. Hennessy was their best pick in the first round, but I am not sure he plays right away with Alex Mack still on the roster. Is he strong enough to move to guard? I am not sure since he is a bit of a smaller blocker and an ideal fit at center. For a team with a front office that needs to win now, I am not sure Hennessy will be able to help them out right away. Unless they trade Mack, but that would be foolish since he is by far and away their best blocker on the roster.
4 (13) - Mykal Walker LB Fresno St - D
4 (28) - Jaylinn Hawkins S Cal - D
7 (14) - Sterling Hofrichter P Syracuse - F
What a terrible terrible draft in my opinion. If you want a How To on how not to play the draft board right, here ya go. At 16 instead of taking a better linebacker like Patrick Queen or Kenneth Murray they reached on Terrell. Then they came around in the 4th round to reach on an nonathletic linebacker who will not stick on the roster. Then in the 2nd round they took a meh pass rusher in Marlon Davidson who is a nice player, but could have gotten a better safety in Jeremy Chinn and in the 4th taken a higher upside and more athletic edge rusher than Davidson who's only claim to fame is consistency as a 4 year starter. Then I am normally nicer to 7th rounders since they normally do not make the roster or a big impact, but I had to give the punter an F after how bad the rest of their draft went. They need a lot more help all over the roster from more defensive line help, more corners, a better safety, better guards, a running back, and a potential back up for aging Matt Ryan. This was one of the worst drafts in my opinion and their only strong starter potentially is center Matt Hennessy who is blocked by maybe the best player on their roster outside of Ryan. It was so bad and I will not be shocked if they end being the worst team in the NFC South after how good the Bucs, Saints, and Panthers all killed the draft this year. The only benefit I guess the Falcons have is continuity with their coach and quarterback having a lot of experience together unlike the Panthers and Bucs where in this limited off season could be a big leg up in competition. However, this grade to me has to get a strong F despite me actually liking Terrell and Hennessy as prospects. Dimitroff ruined this draft and again played the draft board terribly. His saving grace has been Matt Ryan already being there and has continued to quietly put together a Hall of Fame career. Had he been more outspoken or not there at all, the Falcons would be one of the worst teams in the league.