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ESPN Identifies Top NFL Draft Needs for Atlanta Falcons

The Atlanta Falcons have been one of the busiest teams in free agency in 2023, but that doesn’t mean they are finished assembling their roster.

Atlanta was considered to have one of the worst rosters in the NFL the last-two seasons and overachieved with seven wins each of the last two years.

With the No. 8 overall pick in the NFL Draft and five of the top-115 picks, the Falcons have a chance to add another big injection of talent at the end of the month.

ESPN’s Jordan Reid and Matt Miller broke down every team’s draft needs on ESPN+, and they didn’t (completely) laser in on the quarterback position.

Second-year quarterback Desmond Ridder is the team’s answer for now, but a quarterback selection wouldn’t shock anyone if Will Levis (Kentucky) or Anthony Richardson (Florida) fall to No. 8 overall. The Falcons finished 31st in the NFL in sacks last season, and they have done nothing throughout free agency to truly address the edge of the defense. With eight total selections, the pass rush should see an upgrade.

Finding a speed receiver to pair with Drake London should be another early priority for the front office. Atlanta traded for Jonnu Smith to pair with Kyle Pitts at tight end, but it needs to surround Ridder with more talent outside.

Matt Miller – ESPN+

A 6’4+ and 244 pound freak of an athlete like Richardson to learn behind Ridder might be too tempting at No. 8 to pass by, but odds are he doesn’t make it out of the top five.

Miller is right in that the Falcons have put a lot of resources into the defense, but they’ve mostly been through the spine… defensive tackle, linebacker and safety.

An edge defender like Tyree Wilson has been a popular pick in mock drafts. I take him every time he’s available when I’m doing mocks.

A cornerback like Christian Gonzalez also plays on the edge of the defense, and he’s been another popular pick. Although he’s not a pass rusher, a long-term cornerback opposite A.J. Terrell is a big need for this team.

Atlanta has brought in several wide receivers for top-30 visits including Trey Palmer from Nebraska and Jonathan Mingo from Ole Miss. Miller is right in that the Falcons need another quick, speedy wide receiver to diversify the room that features big receivers like London and Kyle Pitts.

The Atlanta Falcons have made a lot of noise during the offseason already, and on paper, their defense looks a lot stronger. They’ll have a chance to add another premium-position player with the No. 8 pick and continue to build depth where they’ve had none the last two seasons with their next seven picks.

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Scott Kennedy
Scott Kennedy is an Atlanta native and 20 year media veteran including time as Director of Scouting at Scout.com, 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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