An odd situation for the Falcons, as they picked in the top half of Round 1 despite having a relatively solid roster. The secondary, offensive line, and edge rush packages all needed some help -- but only one was addressed last weekend, and that’s reason for concern.
The Falcons will likely see Vic Beasley continue to take starting reps on the outside despite a lack of plus rush ability over his young career. In nickel sets, Damonte Kazee will get on the field -- that's good news because he's a good player, but having Blidi Wreh-Wilson as your CB3 isn't ideal. They need one of their Day 3 picks at CB to beat him out.
Round 1, Pick 14: Chris Lindstrom, iOL, Boston College
Round 1, Pick 31: Kaleb McGary, OT, Washington
Round 4, Pick 111: Kendall Sheffield, CB, Ohio State
Round 4, Pick 135: John Cominsky, EDGE, Charleston
Round 5, Pick 152: Qadree Ollison, RB, Pitt
Round 5, Pick 172: Jordan Miller, CB, Washiington
Round 6, Pick 203: Marcus Green, WR, Louisiana-Monroe
The biggest addition for the Falcons may be one of subtraction, as Dirk Koetter replaces the heavily criticized Steve Sarkisian at offensive coordinator. With their nucleus of skill position talent and investments in the line, the Falcons' offense should be enough to return the team to playoff contention in 2019, while the defense needs quality play from young pieces to keep pace.
Best Pick: Boston College iOL Chris Lindstrom
I was worried that Lindstrom wouldn’t get selected in the first round, as the rumors bounced hither and thither on his eventual landing spot. A first round grade on my board, I loved what I saw from Lindstrom on film: an NFL-caliber athlete, scheme diverse, with a ton of experience and savvy. What’s not to like?
For the Falcons, evidently nothing is unworthy. They spent 14 overall on Lindstrom -- that’s top-half of the first round -- in a concerted effort to beef up their offensive line and improve their running game now that Devonta Freeman is returned to health. Lindstrom slides into the RG spot, as fellow first-rounder Kaleb McGary slides into the RT spot. It’s a new look Falcons front, folks.
Worst Pick: Ohio State CB Kendall Sheffield
While I acknowledge that it’s Early Day 3 and Sheffield is very much so a Falcons-type pick, I can’t shake the fact that the Sheffield really, really struggles to cover receivers, which is decidedly important for cornerbacks.
Sheffield came into Ohio State as a valued recruit and has all the quickness in the world, but his lack of size leaves him exposed in the contact window, his lack of route recognition puts him behind the breaks, and his lack of foot technique slows down his transitions. There’s so much missing from his game right now.
Sheffield will likely challenge for the nickel job if/when the Falcons feel he’s ready -- if that’s in 2019 or beyond -- but I’d be mighty worried having him on the field in his rookie season. As it stands, he’s a liability.
Best Day 3 Pick: Charleston EDGE John Cominsky
Again: as Falcons of a pick as you can get. Cominsky blew the roof off of the Combine and dominated the DII level accordingly. A QB-to-DL convert, Cominsky’s still growing into his new frame and added mass, and is multiple years away from contributing as a meaningful starter.
But he’s an ideal big-end/subpackage DT player, given his off-ball quickness and first-step explosiveness. Improved hand technique and block recognition/deconstruction are both big “must-haves” for Cominsky to stick at the next level, but when it comes to gambling on upside, Cominsky’s film and testing more than warrant the Day 3 investment.
Overall Grade: C-
Beyond Lindstrom, I didn’t much love any pick the Falcons made -- and even then, Lindstrom was a bit of a reach for me. Thomas Dimitroff and Dan Quinn went after their elite athletes much as they usually do, but snagged a few players with some major film concerns that could take multiple seasons to iron out. Do the Falcons have time to wait? I’m not sure.