With the 2021 NFL Draft now in the books, analysts have been rushing out with their early draft grades. Looking at a sampling of those grades, it’s clear that most observers approve of what the Atlanta Falcons did in the past three days.
The latest Falcons news straight to your inbox! Join the Heavy on Falcons newsletter here!
Following are the players that Atlanta selected between Thursday and Saturday of last week:
R1 (4): TE Kyle Pitts, Florida
R2 (40): S Richie Grant, Central Florida
R3 (68): OT Jalen Mayfield, Michigan
R4 (108): CB Darren Hall, San Diego State
R4 (114): C Drew Dalman, Stanford
R5 (148): DL Ta’Quon Graham, Texas
R5 (182): EDGE Adetokunbo Ogundeji, Notre Dame
R5 (183): CB Avery Williams, Boise State
R6 (187): WR Frank Darby, Arizona State
Pro Football Focus Gives the Falcons a B Grade
For starters, the Falcons get a solid grade from Pro Football Focus, who love the fact that Atlanta got “the best non-quarterback in the draft” in Florida tight end Kyle Pitts, describing him thusly:
“He is going to be faster than any linebacker or safety and bigger than any cornerback [and] he enters the NFL as already one of the biggest matchup nightmares for a defense. His 96.1 receiving grade, 0% drop rate and above-average run-blocking grade in 2020 make him one of the best all-around pass-catchers we’ve seen in a while.”
PFF also appreciates Atlanta’s second-round pick, noting that “Richie Grant had exceptional run-defense grades in college and was a stud during the one-on-one drills at the Senior Bowl in coverage, flashing the potential to be an all-around player at the next level. Grant has excellent numbers across the board and is an outstanding overall football player,” concludes PFF, with its only criticism being that he was selected with Texas Christian’s Trevon Moehrig (PFF’s top-ranked safety) still available.
Pro Football Network Offers an A
Meanwhile, AJ Schulte offers similar sentiments about Pitts and Grant, but gives his lowest individual grade to third-round pick Jalen Mayfield (B-). On the other hand, PFN appreciates the selection of cornerback/kick returner Avery Williams and likes the addition of wide receiver Frank Darby (Arizona State) in round six, noting that Atlanta needs depth beyond its top three wideouts.
NFL.COM Gives Atlanta an A+
Likewise, Chad Reuter, draft analyst for NFL.com, also loves the selection of both Williams and Darby, saying the latter has great “potential as a quick-footed deep threat.”
Reuter also highlights cornerback Darren Hall, calling him “an athletic and competitive corner worthy of the early fourth-round selection.”
He’s also good with the addition of Drew Dalman, describing him as “an athletic center with NFL genes. He can compete with 2020 draft pick Matt Hennessy at center or allow Hennessy to move to guard.”
The Best of the Rest
Of course, this is only a small sampling of the grades that are already available. Other representative early draft grades include The Sporting News (A-), Yahoo Sports (B+) and Washington Post (B).
Follow the Heavy on Falcons Facebook page for the latest breaking news, rumors and content!
• Falcons Signing ‘Very Talented, Very Raw’ Rookie Quarterback