The NFL Draft starts tonight and the Atlanta Falcons have the No. 8 pick in the first round. With needs all over the field, it’s been tough to predict what the Falcons could do.
Other than possibly a pass catching tight end, the Falcons literally have a need at every position on the field.
There is depth at edge rusher in this class that wasn’t available when the Falcons picked at No. 4 last year, but the wide receiver room with the loss of Julio Jones and Calvin Ridley in the last 12 months is barren.
Hence, there hasn’t been a consensus among the biggest names in the NFL Draft space on what the Falcons might do at No. 8, but they have narrowed down their choices to either edge or wide receiver.
Mel Kiper Jr., ESPN – WR, Garrett Wilson, Ohio State
Todd McShay, ESPN – Edge, Kayvon Thibodeaux, Oregon
Daniel Jeremiah, NFL.com – WR, Jameson Williams, Alabama
Pete Schrager, NFL.com – Edge, Kayvon Thibodeaux, Oregon
Charles Davis, NFL.com – Edge, Jermaine Johnson II, FSU
Bucky Brooks, NFL.com – Garrett Wilson, Ohio State
Rhett Lewis, NFL.com – Edge, Kayvon Thibodeaux, Oregon
Kayvon Thibodeaux appears the most with three picks, but there is no consensus amongst the seven analysts with four different players being chosen.
We ran a mock draft yesterday on Forging the Falcons, and I had the choice of every player on the list above. I went a different direction with arguably the top player in the draft in safety Kyle Hamilton formerly of Marist High School in Atlanta.
The Falcons could decide to go quarterback here as well. Malik Willis went to Roswell High School and has the most upside of any quarterback in the class, but he’s a risky pick with his limited experience and accuracy problems out of the pocket.
I still advocate for the Falcons to trade down tonight. They have holes all over their roster and the strength of this draft is in the middle rounds. Load up on as much draft capital as possible and add another layer to the rebuild that be accelerated next year when the Falcons escape cap hell.
By unloading Matt Ryan and eating $55 million in dead-cap space this season, the equivalent of a college team losing more than 20 scholarship players, the Falcons signaled they were willing to endure the pain of a lost 2022 season.
The right offer to trade back would be the most appealing, but if the Falcons stay at eight, they’ll have a variety of options at virtually every position.
It should be one of the more interesting drafts in recent memory.