Although the Atlanta Falcons had the worst record in the National Football Conference (NFC) at 4-12, the team can still be optimistic about the 2021 season. Multiple injuries to the receiving corps along with losing seven of their twelve games by seven or less points could mean that committing to making a few more plays could cause for the Falcons to turn things around.
Fortunately, the Falcons had a few picks in the 2021 National Football League (NFL) Draft that for allow for the team to rebuild properly instead of going to Home Depot. Let's take a look at who Atlanta picked.
Round 1, Pick 4: Kyle Pitts - TE - Florida (6'6", 245 lbs). Pitts is one of the best receiving tight ends to be in the Draft in quite some time. His size means that he will be a match-up nightmare for opposing defenses because he has a 4-5 inch height advantage on safeties and he can outrun linebackers. Last season, he caught 43 passes for 770 yards with 12 TD's. There is no doubt that he will start right away after the Falcons decided not to renew the contract for their starting tight end from last season. If he is able to adjust quickly, then he will have a chance to be the offensive Rookie of the year.
Round 2, Pick 8: Richie Grant - S - UCF (6'0", 197 lbs). Grant was very productive as a three-year starter at safety during his tenure at Central Florida. Last season, he led the team in tackles with 72 along with three interceptions, six pass break-ups, 3.5 tackles for loss, and two fumble recoveries. This type of play-making ability is desperately needed in the Falcons secondary so he will see plenty of time in the defensive backfield.
Round 3, Pick 4: Jalen Mayfield - OT - Michigan (6'5", 326 lbs). Mayfield started for two seasons at right tackle for the Wolverines, but an ankle injury sidelined him after two games last season. The injury caused for Mayfield to drop into the third round, which allowed for the Falcons to swoop in for this pick. Mayfield should see some time as a backup tackle in the offensive line rotation.
Round 4, Pick 3: Darren Hall - CB - San Diego State (5'11", 188 lbs). Hall did some good work as a corner last season at a college that is known for having good defenses over the past decade (3 interceptions, 6 pass break-ups). He will add even more depth to the secondary along with Grant.
Round 4, Pick 9: Drew Dalman - C - Stanford (6'3", 295 lbs). Dalman started at center for Stanford last season, but he could possibly play at either center or guard for the Falcons. Dalman will definitely add interior depth to the offensive line.
Round 5, Pick 4: Ta'Quon Graham - DT - Texas (6'3", 292 lbs). Graham did not have the elite production that was expected with 23 tackles, 7 tackles for loss, and 2 sacks last season. However, he has the size to compete for some playing time along the defensive line.
Round 5, Pick 38: Adetokunbo Ogundeji - DE - Notre Dame (6'4 1/2", 260 lbs). Ogundeji led the Fighting Irish with seven sacks. He could possibly see some time as a pass rusher on third and long plays.
Round 5, Pick 39: Avery Williams - CB - Boise State (5'8", 187 lbs). Williams was one of the best returners in college football last season by returning two punts for touchdowns and by returning two kickoffs for touchdowns as well. He will compete to be the #1 returner on the team.
Round 6, Pick 3: Frank Darby - WR - Arizona State (6'0", 201 lbs). Darby played through injury last season, which is why he dropped to the sixth round. He is a deep-route threat that averaged 19.9 yards per catch two seasons ago. The competition will be thick at the receiver position, but he could possibly see some time or be placed on the practice squad.
Grade: The Falcons drafted rather well because they addressed their issues in their secondary and in both lines. I give them a B+.