Falcons Draft: Mixed bag but mostly positive reaction – BY DAN MATHEWS

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Matthew Hinton/Associated Press

May 3 2021 –
680 THE FAN, ATLANTA – The Falcons pick up nine players over the three days of the NFL Draft. Overall, I like what they did. 

I think they had two goals over the three days. One, they wanted to take the best available player who could also help their strength… The passing game. Two, they wanted to add depth to key positions of need. 

One thing I didn’t like, is that the running back position was not addressed. I believe that is a concern heading into the season. 

These are the three things I noticed over the last three days. 

  1. Add depth to the offensive line and actually promote good competition: The Falcons made the decision to go forward for at least this season with Matt Ryan as their quarterback. It is clear from the last three days of the draft, that they want to give Ryan the best opportunity to succeed. First and foremost in reaching that goal, is to make sure he down’t take as many hits. I love the additions of Michigan’s Jalen Mayfield (tackle competition) and Drew Dalman from Stanford (guard/center competition). I like that the team has spent five picks on the offensive line over the last few years. If nothing else, you’re giving yourself a better chance at getting your starting five correct. It is good that they’re making Matt Hennessy earn the start at center through training camp and preseason games. The same goes for Kaleb McGary at right tackle, now that Mayfield is part of this team.

  2. Where are the running backs?: That was kind of disappointing over the weekend, I’m not going to lie. While the running game in the NFL is not the most important part of your offense, it is still very important. Yes, you would like to have a strong offensive line to make that happen. The depth now looks to be there up front. It is hard for me to believe that the Falcons couldn’t have used one of these nine picks to add help in the running game. 18 running backs were drafted over the weekend and not one was by the Falcons. It’s clear that they want to go the veteran route to add to this group heading into the season. No disrespect to Mike Davis and Qadree Ollison… But, I still need someone else to be part of the group to make me believe in their potential high level production.

  3. I like the direction of the defense: Five of the nine picks belonged to Dean Pees’ defense. A lot of people are very impressed with the second round selection of Central Florida safety Richie Grant. He is known as a disciplined player who has a nose for the football. Has that been a description of a Falcons defensive back over the last few years? No, it has not. The Falcons needed help in the secondary and added cornerbacks Darren Hall from San Diego State and Avery Williams from Boise State. They added help on the defensive line with defensive end Adetokunbo Ogundeji from Notre Dame and defensive tackle Ja’Quon Graham from Texas. This is needed for a line that is going to be part of a defense that is “multiple” in their looks the season, from what Dean Pees told us earlier this offseason. That side of the ball needs capable depth and hopefully added that. Aside from Ogundeji, I’m not going to say I know anything about these players. We’ve all seen the highlights and it’s what most of us have to judge from at the moment. That said, I still do not understand the perceived reluctance to draft players from SEC programs, much less from Georgia. I’m not saying it’s a must. But, I also think it is a pretty good group to pull from…  
Dan Mathews

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