The Pick: DE/OLB Dante Fowler Jr, Florida
The Skinny: This stud is a three-down linebacker-defensive end hybrid, who can stop the run AND rush the passer. The Falcons have been embarassed by their lack of defensive attitude and prowess, and they get both with this all-around talent. He is a scheme fit for any scheme because of his size and athleticism.
Round 2 – 40th overall
The Pick: ILB/OLB Bernardrick McKinney, Mississippi State
The Skinny: This talented linebacker has the size, 6 foot 4 in 243lbs, and speed, 4.6 40yd dash, to be a long time starter in this league. With an upside as high as Navarro Bowman, and very little to be concerned about, this would essentially add a starter to this maligned defense and build a long-term solution to the woes that this front seven of the Falcons has suffered from for several seasons now.
Round 3 – 72nd overall
The Pick: TE Nick O’Leary, Florida State
The Skinny: Strictly a value pick right here. I would argue that the players available on defense and the offensive line at this point in the draft would not be starters in year 1. I do however think that O’Leary could be an instant contributor to an already explosive offense and be an intriguing red zone aid, as the Falcons have not been able to fix their woes. I also believe that interior offensive line man, which is what the Falcons need can be taken later in the draft, no need to reach.
Round 4 – 104th overall
The Pick: OT Jake Fisher, Oregon
The Skinny: This would be a pick in which the Falcons could add quality depth and give a young guy to this group of veterans that can be developed over the next year or so into a solid starter at right tackle. Has a good frame and held together the offensive line for Oregon during their Pac-12 championship and College Football Playoff run.
Round 5 – 136th overall
The Pick: OLB Jordan Hicks, Texas
The Skinny: If you haven’t noticed the trend, it’s defense. The Falcons need potential starters and quality depth to improve this unit. Hicks is an agile player who could be a part of the youth movement on this defense that helps build a new identity.
The Pick: OC David Andrews, Georgia
The Skinny: With a nickname “Boss” how could you not take the undersized center in the sixth round. He was a three year starter at UGA, and a natural leader. He will have a chip on his shoulder and he has very high football IQ, which always helps the overall unit. And with all of the struggles on the offensive line, any type of leadership and attitude potential is a plus at this spot in the draft.
Round 7 – 200th overall
The Pick: CB Damian Swann, Georgia
The Skinny: Yes, I know i doubled down on UGA players, but this is a value pick for Atlanta. Swann is a three and a half year starter who had a great sophomore year, a below average junior year, and a stellar senior season. This is an asset because it shows how he responds to adversity. Both defensive coordinators that Swann learned under are both aligned with NFL principles and help his understanding of different schemes. He is a versatile defensive back that played corner and safety in college. He can help on special teams and add depth and versatility to a thin secondary.