Draft season is upon us ladies and gentlemen. Teams can now turn their full attention to the bevy of prospects in the 2018 NFL Draft. The Atlanta Falcons are one of the few teams that do not have many holes to fill throughout their roster. Their main positions to address this off-season should be OG, DL and S. While not all positions of need can be filled in the draft, rookies are always counted upon to fill holes because they have talent, they have relatively cheap contracts — depending on where they are drafted — and good coaches can develop them into great players. Let’s see who can help propel Atlanta back to the Super Bowl.
1st Round: Taven Bryan, DT, Florida
Atlanta has a star in IDL Grady Jarrett that needs a partner in crime. At the moment, it is uncertain if Dontari Poe will be back and Ahtyba Rubin cannot be the only DT next to Jarrett. Taven Bryan would be a perfect addition to the Atlanta DL that includes Vic Beasley and Takk Mckinley leaving fire trails off the edge.
First thing that pops off of Bryan’s tape is his snap quickness.
All game long he is aggressive with his rush and his hands. That can get him into trouble sometimes by going too far up field in the run game, but Bryan has all of the athletic traits to contribute for Atlanta from Day 1. There have been rumors of the Falcons taking a DT in the first round and Bryan has been one of the targets named, per The Falcoholic. And Dan Quinn loves Florida guys since he was their defensive coordinator and DL coach in 2011-12.
2nd Round: Donte Jackson, CB, LSU
The Dan Quinn regime has drafted an LSU defender every year of their tenure and it continues this year. Donte Jackson has the athleticism and skills to be a great corner and form a dynamic trio for Atlanta.
Jackson has the long speed to stay with any receiver but strong, large receivers do give him trouble. His best place is in the slot where he can sit and showcase excellent ball skills.
Although Jackson lacks great size, he has the elite athleticism to cover anyone. He will need to get better at technique or he will end up jumping stop-and-gos similar to LSU alum Jalen Mills. The Falcons have the coaching to do it, so they would be honored to have such a player in their secondary.
3rd Round: Keke Coutee, WR, Texas Tech
Unless the Falcons re-sign Taylor Gabriel, he’s hitting free agency. Steve Sarkisian didn’t use Gabriel as well as Kyle Shanahan did. Keke Coutee would be a great slot receiver and he has the size and hands to catch balls downfield.
Texas Tech got Coutee in space as much as they could for good reason. He is a dynamic athlete and runner that is electric with the ball in his hands.
On YouTube he has a highlight tape that labels him “the fastest player in college football”. While I don’t think he’s that fast, the man can scoot. The Falcons could definitely use him to add to their lethal offense.
4th Round: Duke Ejiofor, DE, Wake Forest
You can never have enough pass rushers. The Falcons have a few depth pieces up for free agency (Adrian Clayborn, Ahtyba Rubin, and Courtney Upshaw) and while they may sign them, or other vets back, young, developmental players on the DL are always nice. Duke Ejiofor is large and stout with good hand usage. Guys who know how to use their hands last pretty long in this league.
Ejiofor knows his best moves and uses them to his advantage. He also has a strong base to hold up in the run game.
Ejiofor has the tools to contribute from Day One. He is a strong pass rusher that uses his hands and doesn’t rely on his strength to win, but can win with his strength. The defense would love to have quality depth rushers and Ejiofor would be of great value in the 4th round.
6th Round: Wyatt Teller, G, Virginia Tech
Atlanta has drafted two Gs in the past two years, and Wes Schweitzer had some highs and lows this past year. While Schweitzer and Sean Harlow are thought to battle it out in camp this year, the Falcons could bring in another G in free agency or in the Draft. Wyatt Teller is very strong and very compact, and he flashes that strength on film.
According to Lance Zierlein and his abundance of sources, Teller was a world beater in 2016 but his play steadily dipped in 2017. While he has his flaws, he still shows some exciting traits to work with.
While I wouldn’t expect Teller to contribute right away, you never know how fall camp will play out. Teller would be a decent backup for the Falcons today and maybe an eventual starter down the road.
7th Round: Darrel Williams, RB, LSU
Last year, Atlanta drafted power back Brian Hill in the 5th round and they cut him in October. They can try their luck again with Darrel Williams. Tevin Coleman and Devonta Freeman are a great duo when they are both healthy, but it wouldn’t hurt the Falcons to have a bruiser RB to wear down the defense.
Williams shows good patience in waiting for blocks to set up and good jump cuts to get to where he needs to go. While he may not be a home run hitter, he has enough giddy-up to bust a long run. He can also be an asset out of the backfield on passing downs.
Williams can be a steal if the Falcons use him properly. The Eagles just won the Super Bowl using three RBs as focal points of their offense. Atlanta arguably has better backs that can impact games in the same way.
*Mock drafts will be updated periodically throughout the draft process*