Round 1 (26th Overall) – Isaiah Wynn, OG Georgia
This is the story of a player trending up. Look at evaluations for players before the Senior Bowl and you might see Wynn as a mid-second round pick, but after he is trending to the beginning of the second or late first round. His versatility and experience at several positions on the offensive line are seen as a strength. He adds value by being a potential starter from the jump and it is priority 1 to protect Matt Ryan.
Round 2 (52nd Overall) – Holton Hill, CB Texas
Hill has the ideal size that HC Dan Quinn and DC Marquand Manuel look for in a cornerback at 6 foot 3, 205 lbs. Hill is an insurance policy. He is a pick that insures a talented cheap addition to a talented deep group and he could be a future pro-bowler. He has potential at corner, but if the need were there, he could move to safety. Desmond Truant will be here for a while and so will Keanu Neal at Strong Safety. Robert Alford is solid at the other corner spot, however the Falcons are not sure if they want to commit long term to him. They could bring in Hill to learn and grow and he could be groomed for a starting role and be a cap savings in the long run for Atlanta.
Round 3 (78th Overall) – Billy Price, C/OG Ohio State
Price is a value grab here. This guy has potential to start right away at guard if Atlanta chooses not to bring back Andy Levitre. I think they will keep Levitre at least for this season and then have Price ready to assume the starting role. Again, this will end up saving some cap room in 2019 and you might have your eventual center to take Alex Mack’s role down the road. If anything has been proven with this season it is that Atlanta must upgrade the interior of the offensive line so that they can lengthen the window of success with Matt Ryan.
Round 4 (104th Overall) – Dante Pettis, WR Washington
Pets is a play-maker for the Huskies and will translate nicely to the NFL. I think it is naive to assume that he comes in to take the #3 receiver role/slot receiver right away. My money would be on Justin Hardy having an increased role. However, I do believe that his impact on special teams as a return man will help and he can learn the offense and be an eventual #2 receiver with some improvement of his route running ability.
Round 6 (156th Overall) – Hayden Hurst, TE South Carolina
This seems like a heavy offensive draft, does it not. I think that Atlanta looks to get a replacement at tight end for Matt Ryan to go to. This would be an excellent value pick to get Hurst here. He is older which scares some GMs away, but not the Falcons. The window for Atlanta is now for the next 3-4 years with Matt Ryan and a physically mature Hurst may actually be a benefit. He has great instincts and hands. He has natural athleticism and he will pick up the pro-game quickly.
Round 7 (182nd Overall) – Trent Thompson, DT Georgia
The Falcons have a need on the interior of the defensive line and they have a knack for evaluations. They picked Grady Jarrett in the 5th round in 2015 and he has proven to be a steal. I think they re-sign Dontari Poe or find another starter on a short-term basis in free agency, but the long term solution may be in the draft. Thompson is leaving Georgia early and some might say pre-maturely when evaluating his body of work. He is a little raw but has tremendous upside.