ESPN NFL writer Matt Bowen took the task of trying to find the best fit for the top-15 wide receivers in a very deep draft class. Unlike his ESPN colleague Todd McShay, who reflexively says “wide receiver” when he hears “Falcons”, Bowen isn’t necessarily advocating, or mocking, a wide receiver to the Atlanta Falcons
He’s simply saying if Atlanta goes receiver, this would be the best choice.
Bowen has Ohio State’s Garrett Wilson as the best fit for the Falcons, and in this scenario, he’s the first wide receiver off the board at No. 8.
“Why he fits: Given the lack of depth and talent in Atlanta’s wide receiver room, however, I like Wilson here because of his dynamic traits and the playmaking element he brings to all three levels of the route tree,” wrote Bowen.
“The Falcons can scheme catch-and-run balls for Wilson in Arthur Smith’s offense. Throw the play-action concepts and cater to Mariota with in-breaking routes off run-pass option (RPO). Wilson is sudden in the open field, with ball-carrier vision and the stop-start acceleration to beat defenders. Plus, with 4.38-second 40-yard dash speed and inside/outside versatility, Wilson can get loose over the top. I see top-10 traits here, and his playing style reminds me of Bills wide receiver Stefon Diggs’.”
Again, Bowen isn’t necessarily advocating for the Falcons to take a wide receiver with their No. 8 pick, he’s picking a scheme where the player and team could thrive. In this case, Wilson to the Falcons makes sense.
With the lines of scrimmage a mess on both sides of the ball, I’ve been vehemently against taking a wide receiver with the No. 8 pick, considering the depth of the position in the draft and the dire need to improve the pass rush and the offensive line.
Should the Falcons brass insist on a wide receiver in this class, offering No. 8 and a later-round pick for D.K. Metcalf of the Seattle Seahawks makes more sense. Just 24-years old, he’ll be looking for a new contract with any move, but the Falcons have plenty of money in 2023 for any extension.
Wilson should be a good player in the NFL… Metcalf is a good player in the NFL.
That said, the seven-round mock draft we did on Wednesday’s Forging the Falcons (video below), we addressed the edge position with Georgia’s Travon Walker and would feel better getting a wide receiver later in the draft.