Here we are, just months from another NFL Draft, and yet again, the Atlanta Falcons are looking to erase the mistakes of the past.
So many misses from general manager Thomas Dimitroff and his staff, yet they’ll be the ones drafting the future Falcons again this year. With a first-round pick at No. 17, this will be a crucial selection to either continue the upward trajectory of the franchise, or pick up a bust that won’t help the Falcons get “back.”
To whom should the Falcons hand that nondescript red jersey in the middle of the first round? Here’s a look at a few options, and if you disagree with all four, feel free to leave me a comment and let me know who you’d like to see in red and black next season.
Wide receiver Will Fuller, Notre Dame
Yes, the Falcons drafted Justin Hardy in the fourth round of last year’s draft. Yes, Roddy White is still a member of the Falcons – for how long, we don’t know. What if neither have a shot to be a legitimate No. 2 receiver and take some attention away from Julio Jones? They’ll need someone else.
Notre Dame wide receiver Will Fuller may be that guy. According to Football Betting Center, Fuller is a speedy six-footer who can get open quickly, which is something quarterback Matt Ryan needs. If you saw Fuller play at Notre Dame, you know what a difference-maker he can be.
Linebacker Reggie Ragland, Alabama
Man oh man do the Falcons need linebackers. Since the departure of Sean Weatherspoon, the team’s best linebacker has been Paul Warrilow, a journeyman who’s a nice player but by no means should be the strongest linebacker on an NFL roster.
Reggie Ragland could be that difference-maker on the Falcons’ defense. Ragland is a phenomenal tackler who could quickly help with one of the worst tackling defenses in the league. Far fewer missed tackles – how great does that sound, Atlanta fans?
Cornerback Mackensie Alexander, Clemson
One of the few draft picks in recent years that has been a success for the Falcons was when they got cornerback Desmond Trufant. He has become such a great corner that quarterbacks don’t throw in his direction often, and offenses frequently shift their best receivers to the other side of the field.
That means the Falcons need to add another lockdown corner to truly become great against the pass, and Mackensie Alexander is the best option in this draft. According to NFL.com, Alexander had no interceptions and only 11 pass breakups in the two years he started at Clemson, but that was mostly because quarterbacks didn’t even throw in his direction. That’s the kind of guy Atlanta needs.
Defensive end Emmanuel Ogbah, Oklahoma State
It’s far too early to say if the Vic Beasley experiment failed, but the Falcons have to continue drafting young talent along the defensive line. They’re not getting any pressure on opposing quarterbacks, and that’s hurting their defense as a whole. The Falcons need to keep drafting pass rushers and hope several become solid players so this defense can be feared.
Emmanuel Ogbah has all the pieces to become a strong pass-rusher in the NFL. According to SB Nation, “He’s a high-effort end who uses aggression and foot quickness to beat tackles and get to the quarterback.” Standing 6-foot-4 and weighing 269 pounds, Ogbah is two inches taller and more than 30 pounds heavier than Beasley, and the Falcons need to get bigger, stronger and faster along the defensive line.
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