By: JJ Lanier
TheSouthernSportsEdition.com news services
Trying to get a community of sports fans to come to a consensus of how the draft went for their favorite team is like asking coffee connoisseurs what their favorite brand is- everyone has an opinion and almost no two will be alike.
Even if you find a majority that agrees, it’s mostly determined on the first few rounds only; outside of an NFL scout, who has time to read up on every available player.
So, instead of grading the Falcons picks here are few observations that came to mind regarding Atlanta and the draft.
Because of Atlanta’s draft position, especially in the first few rounds, the end result was almost predetermined to be underwhelming. The main talking points after almost any pick revolve around “value” and “need vs. talent”.
Early in the round you’re more likely to find a player that meets all those criteria, and you know you won’t find one towards the end of the round, so you basically pick a lane and stick with it; the middle of the round can get tricky though.
Do you do what Atlanta did and pick a player like A.J. Terrell, whom most people believe fills a need, fits the system well, and was the best available at that position with the most upside, but is considered to be a reach at that spot, especially when there was better talent available?
What makes the decision tough is that while all five draft recap articles I read unanimously agreed with what I just wrote, every single one listed a different player Atlanta should’ve drafted. So even had Atlanta drafted someone else, the same articles still would’ve been written, just with a different name.
The same issue rears its head in subsequent rounds, albeit on a much lesser scale. Point being, no matter who Atlanta picked, people were going to have issues, and it’s not entirely their fault.
Atlanta will need to hand out “Hello, my name is…” stickers at their first defensive meeting. Most of the Falcon’s biggest needs entering this season are on the defensive side of the ball and their draft reflected that. (When your lone offensive pick is a lineman that probably won’t play much for another year or two, you must feel ok with the side of the ball.)
Regardless of how people feel about those picks, the team will need some of them to contribute quickly, especially Terrell and 2nd round pick Marlon Davidson. I mean, that is why those guys were drafted where they were, right?
Is Atlanta fielding a second, secret team full of undrafted free agents? I realize the number of undrafted players a team signs after the draft has finished varies, but Atlanta almost signed enough to field an entire team before Tae Crowder could be crowned Mr. Irrelevant.
I know they’re making up for only having six draft picks, but it’s almost as if the Falcons front office wasn’t even wild about their draft.
Matt Ryan’s arm just may fall off after attempting his 10,000th pass of the year. Seriously, you’re good entering the season with one viable running back whose knee is one wrong cut away from ending his career? Good luck with that.
Obviously, I have no idea how these picks will pan out, and neither does anyone else. I just hope we all get a chance this fall to see for ourselves. I feel like that’s something we can all agree on.