NFL Experts Hand Out Falcons Final Draft Grades

Dan quinn

Getty Atlanta Falcons head coach Dan Quinn.

The 2020 NFL Draft has concluded and now it’s time to see how well the Atlanta Falcons actually did, from the experts’ eyes.

The Falcons went into the draft really prioritizing their defense. Here’s what they did:

Round 1: No. 16 overall – A.J. Terell, CB, Clemson
Round 2: No. 47 overall – Marlon Davidson, DT, Auburn
Round 3: No. 78 overall – Matthew Hennessy, C, Temple
Round 4: No. 119 overall – Mylak Walker, LB, Fresno State
Round 4: No. 134 overall – Jaylinn Hawkins, S, Cal U
Round 7: No. 228 overall – Sterling Hofrichter, P, Syracuse 

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Atlanta Falcons Final Draft Grades

Atlanta met needs at cornerback, defensive tackle and the interior offensive line in the first three rounds. The Falcons also required help at the second level of their defense, and Walker fits that bill, although he might not have been the best player available to fill that need. Same goes for the Hawkins pick. Finding a young edge rusher post-draft should be a high priority. Grade: B+

Sports Illustrated :

This selection could be viewed as a mild admission of underachievement from 2018 second-rounder Isaiah Oliver, who likely will now be cemented into the nickel outside corner role that he was demoted to down the stretch last season. Second-year pro Kendall Sheffield becomes the likely full-time slot defender. If all goes well, Atlanta will have three quality corners, which would allow them to maximize those Cover 3 zone concepts and continue to quietly dabble in more man-to-man than people realize. Grade: B+

Pro Football Focus also tagged the Falcons with a B, no plus overall. Here’s a thought on A.J. Terrell:

A.J. Terrell is one of few cornerbacks in this class with high-end movement skills, and it’s likely the primary reason Atlanta took him off the board at No. 16. He needs to get better at the catch point and develop better ball skills, but his match-and-mirror ability is evident on tape. LSU’s Ja’Marr Chase bullied Terrell at the catch point in their matchup in 2019, but the former Clemson cornerback still put a ton of positive reps on tape and stayed in phase for the most part in that game. Terrell ranked fifth among cornerbacks and 29th among all players on PFF’s board. Grade: B

NFL guru Mel Kiper of ESPN wasn’t a fan of the Falcons’ move on day 1. He handed the Falcons a C grade but has yet to comment on the rest. Here’s what he said on the Falcons’ first pick:

The pick that stunned me the most on Day 1 was Atlanta taking cornerback A.J. Terrell at No.16. It’s one of the biggest reaches of the past few years. Grade: C

What Can We Conclude?

  1. 1. The Falcons certainly didn’t draft the absolute best player available at the time of their pick. However, they did grab quality guys who fit the Falcons’ needs and that look coachable.
  2. 2. We ALL have to look past Terrell’s championship game and realize he’s actually a beast on the field.

3. Kiper is just upset that the Falcons didn’t follow his lead and grab a top edge first.

4. We won’t know until gameday.

READ NEXTFalcons QB Tells A.J. Terrell ‘Don’t Step on the Falcon’ [WATCH]

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