The Falcons are coming off of a 2018 where they missed the playoffs. They have a top 15 pick in the 2019 draft and solid position.
The Falcons have some holes on their team, mostly on the defensive side of the ball. They desperately need to add a run stuffing defensive tackle in the middle to pair with budding star Grady Jarrett. There is some edge talent on this squad but they seem to have been under performing. Takkarist McKinnley has not lived up to his first round status and since Vic Beasely won the sack crown, he has seemed to fall off the earth.
The defensive backfield is actually in good shape right now and could just look to add a little depth. Maybe adding a speedster on the outside would benefit stretching the field but Calvin Ridley and Julio Jones make for a real nice pair of receivers. They did lose Tevin Coleman to the 49ers and Ito Smith played well last year but adding another running back should be a priority.
Round 1, Pick #14 Christian Wilkins, Defensive Tackle- Clemson
Christian Wilkins is a great combination of skill and character. Not only was he a First Team All American during his Senior season but he was also able to get his degree in two and a half years. With his brains and brawn he fits perfectly next to Grady Jarrett and is a great locker room guy. He stands at 6’3 and weighs 315 Lbs. and has experience playing defensive tackle and defensive end.
Not only is he active behind the line of scrimmage with his 40.5 career tackles for a loss and 16 career sacks but has very active hands. Always keeping his eyes on the quarterback he comes up with a large amount of batted balls at the line with 15 career passes defended and nine his Sophomore year. This is a pick the Falcons cannot screw up and he fills an immediate need.
Round 2, Pick # 45 Chris Lindstrom, Offensive Guard- Boston College
Chris Lindstrom is probably the most athletic interior offensive lineman in the draft. He is 6’4 and 308 Lbs. while running a 4.91 second 40 yard dash. He comes from a football family as his father is entrenched in the Boston College Hall of Fame and played three seasons in the NFL himself. Lindstrom will work great as a move blocker pulling outside, a place where Atlanta really likes running the ball.
He is athletic enough to move on the line with any defensive lineman in the draft. His bend to stay with edge rushers is great and should have a great NFL career. The Falcons could use a jolt at the guard position and in a pinch can play tackle as well have played both positions in college.
Round 3, Pick # 80 Joe Jackson, Edge- Miami (FL)
Joe Jackson has been a consistent pass rushing force at the University of Miami. In three seasons in the NCAA he has totaled 129 tackles, 35.5 tackles for a loss, 22.5 sacks, five passes defended, one interception, five forced fumbles, two fumble recoveries, and two touchdowns. His pass rush style is that of a bull rush which is something that the Falcons lack.
Something happened to Vic Beasley after the 2016 season. He finished 2016 leading the league with 15.5 sacks but followed that up with only 10 the next two seasons combined. Joe Jackson brings pass rush consistency to the team. He has a great frame standing at 6’4 and 275 Lbs. with great strength. He can instantly push for pass rush snaps and makes two former first round picks expendable.
Round 4, Pick # 118 Rodney Anderson, Running Back- Oklahoma
Rodney Anderson is coming off of a broken leg that ended his last college season after only two games. He was primed for a huge season after 2017 which he was dominant. During 14 games in which 7 he started he totaled 1,161 rushing yards at 6.2 yards per carry, 13 rushing touchdowns, 281 receiving yards and an additional five touchdowns.
Rodney Anderson is a mix of elusiveness and power. He is 6’0 224 Lbs. and put up 25 bench press reps at the draft combine though he did not do any running drills. The Falcons lost Tevin Coleman to the 49ers via free agency. They do have a talented back up in Ito Smith but Rodney Anderson brings a new dynamic to the running game with his power. He is also a great receiver and could pick up the Coleman role very nicely.
Round 4, Pick # 138 Emanuel Hall, Wide Receiver- Missouri
The Falcons have a great receiver duo in Julio Jones and Calvin Ridley. The one thing they are missing is the deep threat that can stretch the field so the other two can work. Emanuel Hall turned some heads at the combine with some of his athletic numbers. He posted the second best broad jump in NFL combine history at 141 inches.
Other than the broad jump he also posted a 4.39 second 40 yard dash which is incredibly fast and had a 43.5 inch max vertical. His collegiate numbers are not eye-popping having never posted more than 37 receptions or 828 yards in a season. With that said his deep threat ability was always on display. He averaged an whopping 20.8 yards per reception in college and will see plenty of one on one coverage playing alongside Ridley and Jones.
Round 5, Pick #153 Bobby Okereke, Linebacker- Stanford
The Falcons have one of the best linebackers in the business in Deion Jones and a solid sidekick in second year linebacker Foyesade Oluokun. Most of the other options they have tried have not lived up to the bill. Bobby Okereke can fit in well with this group and could start day one at the strongside linebacker spot.
His last two seasons in college have been very solid. He totaled 182 tackles, 16 tackles for a loss, 7.5 sacks, six passes defended, one interception, three forced fumbles, a fumble recovery and a touchdown. Okereke has very good athleticism running the 40 yard dash in 4.58 seconds. He also added a 33.5 inch vertical, and a 122 inch broad jump. Adding him to the group of linebackers makes the group one of the more athletic groups in the league.
Round 5, Pick #173 David Long, Cornerback- Michigan
David Long does not have gaudy numbers for his college career. Some would say it is because of lack of skill but this surely is not the case. If you watch the tape on Long his coverage skills are outstanding. He thrives in press coverage and runs routes better than most of the receivers he covers as he was a great receiver himself in high school.
Long scored great athletically at the draft combine. He ran a 4.45 second 40 yard dash, a vertical of 39.5 inches, had a 120 inch broad jump, ran the 3 cone drill in 6.45 seconds, and put up 15 bench press reps. What he lacks in height, he measures in at 5’11, he makes up for in skill. For 2018 he made First Team All Big-Ten honors and is a steal in the fifth round.
Round 6, Pick # 187 D’Cota Dixon, Safety- Wisconsin
The Falcons seemed like they were set at safety going forward with Keanu Neal and Damontae Kazee. There has been talk though that the reason the Falcons did not extend premier slot man Brian Poole is because Kazee will be manning the slot. Now they roster Ricardo Allen who has played solid for them in the past but is coming off a lost season to a torn Achilles.
D’Cota Dixon started his college career as a cornerback and then converted to free safety for his Junior season. In 35 games as a safety he posted totals of 161 total tackles, 8.5 tackles for a loss, 2.5 sacks, 10 passes defended, five interceptions, three forced fumbles and two fumble recoveries. If Kazee is truly moving to nickel corner than it would be smart for the Falcons to add another safety.
Round 7, Pick #232 Darius West, Safety- Kentucky
Darius West would probably go higher in the draft had he not had so much injury history. He broke his leg his Senior year of high school to only have it happen again in 2014 during a box drill. During his Junior and Senior years he was finally able to compete in every game. In those two full seasons he totaled 171 tackles, 4.5 tackles for a loss, seven passes defended, four interceptions, two forced fumbles, one fumble recovery and a touchdown.
West plays a lot of the Keanu Neal role and is more of a box safety with slight coverage restrictions. He does have solid ball tracking though with speed to make up for his restrictions. At the draft combine he ran a 4.39 second 40 yard dash. Runners fear his hitting as well and he did come up with three interceptions in his Senior college season. West can be a special teams gunner and is a former four star recruit with a possibility of making things work next to Neal.
The Falcons finish this draft adding a solid haul to the team. They start in the first round grabbing the best defensive tackle in the draft to play next to Grady Jarrett in Christian Wilkins. Then they grab one of the most athletic interior offensive lineman in the draft in Chris Lindstrom. He should add a great dynamic to the run game with his mobility. They also addressed the running game by drafting Tevin Coleman’s replacement in Oklahoma running back Rodney Anderson.
Joe Jackson from Miami was the third round selection that should add a solid and consistent pass rusher, consistency being the key there. With their second selection in the fourth round they add a real burner on the outside Emanuel Hall. Hall averaged over 20 yards per reception in college. That adds a beautiful dynamic to go with Julio Jones and Calvin Ridley.
In the fifth round they add a third linebacker to join Deion Jones and Foyesade Oluokun with Bobby Okereke. This makes one of the most athletic groups in the NFL. They finish out the draft grabbing two safeties in the sixth and seventh rounds with D’Cota Dixon and Darius West. These two can compete for the other starting safety position next to Keanu Neal.
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