After a tedious three days of continuously staring at my tv, waiting anxiously for the Falcons to make their fateful selections, I’m actually pretty satisfied with our selections, although I’m greatly disappointed in our failure to move up in earlier rounds. Today I will be reviewing all the selections Dan Quinn, Thomas Dimitrioff and the Falcons front office made during the 2020 virtual draft days. Before I jump into that though , I would like to review the picks we had and my expectations going into the draft. The Falcons went into the draft fairly well off draft stock wise, owning the 16th (1st round), 47th (2nd round), 78th (3rd round), 119th (4th round), 134th (4th round) and 228th (7th round) picks. Shortly before the draft I became engulfed with the possibility of the Falcons having the means to trade up to the Lions #4 selection to draft generational talent, Jeff Okudah. I kept my mind open though to the possibility of sitting tight at our mid first round round selection and simply picking the player highest on our draft boards, which is exactly what the Falcons did.
Overall draft grade: B+
Grade Compared To Expectations: B-
If we were to stay at 16 I fully expected for the Falcons to take a shot with Javon Kinlaw, the monster DE out of South Carolina. Unfortunately the NFL community saw him go to the 49ers just 3 picks earlier, ending all hopes of the Kinlaw, Jarrett duo on the defensive line. All though I’d most definitely prefer the deadly defensive line duo, the front office is certainly not far off the trail by addressing our nagging secondary needs in the first round with the flashy CB. Not only does Terrell exceed in man coverage, which will be useful when he’ll be going against Micheal Thomas, DJ Moore, Mike Evans and Chris Godwin twice a year, but the front office seemingly has great confidence in his ability to be NFL ready day one; which should be important considering training camp will most likely be shortened. In total, I think Terrell could easily be justified as a high value pick for the Falcons and I’ve become more accustomed to the idea of having him be our feature CB for upcoming years.
Marlon Davidson, DE, Auburn
Overall Draft Grade: A-
Grade Compared To Expectations: B+
I’m going to be completely transparent here. I didn’t do my homework on the 297 pound monster as I had barely heard a peep about his unspoken potential, most likely due to the overshadow of 7th overall pick Derrick Brown playing alongside him for most of the year. Following the Falcons selecting him with the 47th pick I immediately started doing research, quickly finding out that this Auburn product is nothing less than an absolute demon for opposing QBs and offensive linemen, using his immense upper body strength to effortlessly toss linemen aside at will. Many experts compare this new Atlanta Falcon to the Ravens explosive DE Matt Judon, who put up 9.5 sacks last season. I expect nothing less than greatness from this aggressive, explosive and all around complete player.
Matt Hennessy, C, Temple
Overall Draft Grade: A
Grade Compared To Expectations: A+
Dan Quinn and Thomas Dimitroff hit a homerun with this pick, not only adding depth and further safety for the most frequently sacked Matt Ryan, but they also were planning for the inevitable retirement of center Alex Mack. Hennessy, a 22 year old out of Temple, is known for his terrific technique in run and pass blocking, nonetheless beneficial for Matt Ryan newly acquired Todd Gurley. Hennessy is frequently described as NFL ready and the most complete center in the draft, echoing the words of Temple coach Rod Carey, who has preached about Hennessy being the best center in the draft. Even though Hennessy most likely won’t make an immediate impact, I expect him to do a great job protecting Matt Ryan in the future.
Mykal Walker, LB, Fresno State
Overall Draft Grade: A-
Grade Compared to Expectations: A
As Dan Quinn has already announced Foye Oluokun to be starting material for next season, and the Falcons already having Deion Jones, I expected us to fill the last LB hole in the mid day two; most likely with the 119th selection. I was not disappointed by our choice. Mykal Walker, known for his extreme versatility and tackling abilities, fits the Falcons’ needs almost perfectly. Besides his lack of ability to effectively drop into zone coverage, Walker most certainly fits the bill as the pass rushing, off the ball linebacker we needed. I expect Walker to be named a starter come the 2021 season, and to be an effective player on the field.
Jaylinn Hawkins, S, California
Overall Draft Grade: B
Grade Compared to Expectations: B-
I highly doubt Hawkins to be a starter in this upcoming season but he will definitely provide some competition for Keanu Neal and Ricardo Allen for the starting job at safety. Hawkins is an athletic player with pretty good range and a competitive attitude, which is definitely needed in the Falcons locker room. I don’t have much to say about the fourth round pick but I do think highly of the role he’ll play in the locker room and on the field as a great depth player.
Sterling Hofrichter, P, Syracuse
Overall Draft Grade: D+
Grade Compared to Expectations: F
I wasn’t expecting the Falcons to take a punter in the 7th round following a 3 hour wait on my end, anxiously expecting the Falcons to take a shot at a player like Javelin Guidry, who had a spectacular combine and would’ve provided the Falcons with even better depth and competition at the CB position. Instead, we went with a punter simply to put Younghoe Koo and Ryan Allen on the hot seat, both of which had solid seasons last year. Although I always like a little competition I find drafting a punter in the 7th when we could’ve signed him as a UDFA was just simply unnecessary.
Overall Draft Grade: A-
I think the Falcons did a respectable job filling our most nagging needs and then some. I am convinced the upgrades in the secondary will help turn around the Falcons defense reputation and should help us make a strong playoff push in the highly competitive NFC South. I’m still completely stuck on the need to draft a punter with our 7th round pick but in the process I trust. And as always, Rise Up!