Atlanta Falcons NFL Draft Prospect Jaxon Smith-Njigba Ohio State Buckeyes - Orlando Ramirez-USA TODAY Sports
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Could the Falcons Draft Another WR in Top 10?

Terry Fontenot is about to direct his third draft as the general manager of the Atlanta Falcons. Fontenot and head coach Arthur Smith have been adamant about their “best player available” philosophy which has led them to taking pass catchers in the top 10 two years in a row.

Could they make it three?

The Falcons brought in Ohio State wide receiver Jaxon Smith-Njigba for a top-30 visit according to Ian Rapoport.

“OSU WR Jaxon Smith-Njigba, a consensus first-rounder, has already had a Top 30 visit with the Falcons, source said.” Rapoport reported on Twitter. “Among the many he’s scheduled to visit are the Ravens, Texans, Bills and Cowboys.”

The Falcons need another receiver to compliment Drake London and Kyle Pitts, and Smith-Njigba brings a skillset that Atlanta doesn’t currently have.

At 6′ 1/2″ and 196 pounds Smith ran a 6.57 L-cone and 3.93 shuttle at the NFL Combine. Both of those times were tops at the event… at any position.

More than the forty-yard dash, the L-cone and shuttle help measure a player’s change of direction. Kyle Pitts has a fast 40, but his 7.12 L-cone is more than a half second slower than Smith-Njigba’s.

Pitts is 50 pounds heavier. His L-cone is elite for a player who measured 245 pounds, but it’s a good way to point out the difference in skill sets between the two players.

Pitts is big and fast. Smith-Njigba has elite quickness and change of direction. It’s easy to picture him in the slot flanked by Pitts and London.

It’s a weak group of receivers in the draft this year which could push Smith-Njigba’s stock even higher.

“One thing has become clear on calls around league past couple weeks: NFL isn’t nearly as high on this year’s WR class as media,” wrote Senior Bowl director Jim Nagy on Twitter. “Frequently seeing 4-5 wideouts in mocks. Have spoken to numerous teams that have only one first round grade at the position. That guy is JSN (Jaxon Smith-Njigba).”

The Falcons have also had visits with wide receivers Trey Palmer and Jonathan Mingo of Nebraska and Ole Miss respectively. They are clearly targeting another wide receiver in the draft.

But will they use the No. 8 pick on a wide receiver? They are also using their top-30 visits on quarterbacks Anthony Richardson (Florida) and Will Levis (Kentucky).

There’s no reason to think the Falcons wouldn’t take a wide receiver at No. 8 in this class. It makes more sense than taking pass catchers the past-two seasons.

But Smith-Njigba might not be the right fit. He is being mocked in the teens including No. 13 on NFL Mock Draft Database.

If the Falcons stick to their best player available strategy, they should be able to address the defense with an edge rusher like Tyree Wilson or cornerback Christian Gonzalez.

The Falcons sit in an interesting spot at No. 8 with a load of options available, and they appear to be doing due diligence on every position including quarterback and wide receiver.

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Scott Kennedy
Scott Kennedy is an Atlanta native and 20 year media veteran including time as Director of Scouting at, Managing Editor at 247Sports, VP Content Operations at Sports Illustrated and more. Scott has appeared as a recruiting and NFL Draft analyst on dozens of media including ESPN, NFL Network, USA Today, NY Times, and more.

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