After making the playoffs and winning at least one game in the postseason in 2016 and 2017, the Falcons have posted losing records in each of the past two seasons.
While injuries have been a major factor, the pressure is on for Atlanta to prove its a contender in a competitive NFC. With all the noise surrounding the Saints and Buccaneers in the NFC South, the Falcons have to prove they belong in the conversation.
The 2020 NFL Draft haul assembled by general manager Thomas Dimitroff will be essential in getting back to the Falcons’ winning ways.
Atlanta's 2020 draft picks:
- No. 16: A.J. Terrell, CB, Clemson
- No. 47: Marlon Davidson, DT, Auburn
- No. 78: Matt Hennessy, C, Temple
- No. 119: Mykal Walker, LB, Fresno State
- No. 134: Jaylinn Hawkins, S, California
- No. 228: Sterling Hofrichter, P, Syracuse
Best Pick: Marlon Davidson
As someone who loves Grady Jarrett and watching him play, I’m often left wondering how much better he could be if Atlanta provided a formidable counterpart along the interior defensive line. With that selection of Davidson, the Falcons have found an exciting option to play alongside Jarrett.
Davidson was a versatile defender for Auburn that played almost everywhere in the defensive front seven. He profiles as an interior defensive lineman for the Falcons. Davidson brings an explosive athletic profile to wreak havoc up front and play on the other side of the line of scrimmage for Atlanta.
Biggest Surprise: No Trade Up
Normally this section of class recaps is reserved for the biggest surprise but nothing fits the criteria of Atlanta’s haul without it being a stretch; pivoting to no surprise is the way to go.
There were major rumblings about the Falcons wanting to move into the top 10 for a defensive prospect, just like last year when rumors swirled they would do the same. Again, just like last year, it didn’t happen. As much as people want to believe Dimitroff has another Julio Jones-like trade in him, forcing it needs to stop.
Day 3 Sleeper: Mykal Walker
Walker is a versatile defender and the exact prototype of linebacker that coach Dan Quinn can maximize; he’s done so in the past with the likes of De’Vondre Campbell. In college, Walker played a hybrid role with time primarily spent as a stand-up edge defender with few reps in a true off-ball role, where his physical traits suggest he will play in the NFL, especially now that he’s been drafted by the Falcons.
Walker recorded 325 tackles, 38 tackles for loss and 11 tackle for loss in college in an attack-style edge role. Quinn can confidently transition him to a position that will take advantage of his strengths. Walker will become a meaningful part of the Falcons’ defense.
X-Factor: A.J. Terrell
This selection came with plenty of doubters but not me. Terrell was a first-round prospect and top-20 player on my personal draft board. He has every trait necessary to become a top corner in the league with his size, length, quick feet, fluid hips and mirroring skills. Too much stock has been put in the plays he gave up against LSU in the national championship while not taking into consideration there is no defense for a perfect pass, which Terrell fell victim to on multiple occasions.
A thorough look into Terrell’s tape spanning both 2018 and 2019 reveals an exciting cornerback prospect with top traits. If Atlanta is going to have a chance in this division with all the dynamic receivers and passing offenses within it, it had to find a true No. 1 cornerback; Terrell has the makings to become that.
There’s so much to like about the Falcons’ draft class, especially the first four picks. Terrell profiles as No. 1 corner, Davidson can be the answer next to Jarrett, Hennessy has the makeup to eventually replace Alex Mack at center and Walker is a perfect match for Quinn’s defense. Finding holes to poke in this haul is a stretch; there is a clear path for Atlanta to get returns from these investments. The Falcons filled holes with good athletes that enter the league with plenty of game experience in college.
- Aug 12, 2022
- Aug 11, 2022