Falcons plan for the right 2021 NFL Draft: Buying and selling down within the first spherical can be sensible


The Atlanta Falcons are getting into a brand new period with first-year head coach Arthur Smith and common supervisor Terry Fontenot — who they took away from the rival New Orleans Saints. Sadly, the brand new entrance workplace has not completed a lot in free company to get the fan base excited for the 2021 season, however there’s a chance so as to add younger expertise developing later this month within the 2021 NFL Draft.

Whereas this offseason hasn’t been too eventful for the Falcons, it is the draft the place true contenders are constructed. Atlanta holds three picks within the prime 70, they usually might flip it into extra with a commerce. The Falcons are additionally nicely suited to mine a few gems on this deep class, as they maintain a complete of 5 picks in rounds 5 and 6. The entrance workplace will in fact look to fill the wants on protection, handle the offensive line and discover worth in all seven rounds, however some points are extra essential than others at this juncture. 

Under, we are going to map out three aims the Falcons should accomplish in the event that they wish to pull off the right 2021 NFL Draft and get again into the combo within the very aggressive NFC South.

Reply the telephones, take into account a commerce down

With the San Francisco 49ers buying and selling as much as No. 3 general, the primary three picks of the 2021 NFL Draft are all anticipated to be quarterbacks. Whereas the Falcons at No. 4 general might have their likelihood at the most effective participant within the draft who shouldn’t be a quarterback, there could also be a mad sprint inside the highest 5 or prime 10 for groups all in favour of taking the fourth quarterback. Some analysts — together with a number of of our CBS NFL Draft writers — imagine that the Falcons will shock the NFL by taking a quarterback at No. 4 general. I do not assume the Falcons ought to transfer on from Matt Ryan simply but, however I’d put it on the market that my franchise is certainly all in favour of taking a quarterback with my No. 4 general choose. Let me clarify.

Because the 49ers have confirmed, groups which are contemplating quarterbacks might be aggressive in buying and selling up for his or her man. The Falcons are in a main spot at No. 4 general, however it might profit this rebuilding group to commerce down. I’d be leaking out info saying that I am contemplating taking the fourth quarterback, but additionally that I’d take into account buying and selling down for the proper provide as nicely. Then, I’d reply these commerce calls, negotiate the most effective provide and pull the set off. 

Nice minds clearly assume alike, as a result of in his newest mock draft, my colleague Chris Trapasso has the Falcons sending No. 4 general and No. 142 (Spherical 5) to the Denver Broncos for No. 40 general (Spherical 2) and No. 192 general (Spherical 6) together with choose No. 9 and a 2022 first-round choose. Trapasso then has Atlanta, who’s now at No. 9 general, sending that choose together with No. 68 general (Spherical 3) and a 2022 fourth-round choose to the Detroit Lions to maneuver up two spots to No. 7 general. There, the Falcons choose former Florida tight finish Kyle Pitts, who a lesser common supervisor might have taken at No. 4 general.

To recap this hypothetical, the Falcons gave up a third-round choose, a fifth-round choose and a future fourth-round choose whereas gaining a second-round choose and a sixth-round choose together with a future first rounder. The Falcons might work out the main points in order that they provide up future mid-round picks as a substitute of present ones in the event that they wish to actually hit this draft laborious, however buying a possible star participant whereas additionally buying a second-round choose and a future first is a good deal. Once more, this was a hypothetical commerce. The Falcons might probably get extra in return for buying and selling down. Both means, take a quarterback with a later choose. 

Handle edge rusher early

The Falcons recorded 29 sacks final season, which was tied for No. 23 within the league. Linebacker Deion Jones was Atlanta’s main “sack artist” with 4.5 sacks, and Dante Fowler Jr. recorded simply three sacks after racking up 11.5 with the Los Angeles Rams in 2019. The Falcons want a professional beginning pass-rusher, and want to deal with it early on. With the Falcons holding that early No. 35 general choose within the second spherical, that is the place they may take their pass-rusher. CBS Sports activities’ Cody Benjamin took defensive finish Joseph Ossai out of Texas with Atlanta’s second-round choose, however the Falcons might additionally take into account Penn State’s Jayson Oweh or Miami’s Gregory Rousseau. Atlanta’s protection surrendered the fourth-most yards per sport final season, and have been useless final in go protection with a median of 293.6 air yards allowed per sport. Bettering the go rush will assist with that, and we are going to handle the opposite half of the protection subsequent. 

Beef up the secondary

With Keanu Neal, Ricardo Allen and Damontae Kazee now enjoying for different groups, the Falcons want a security. It isn’t simply security they need to be taking a look at both, because the Falcons must improve at cornerback as nicely. It is laborious to play cornerback within the NFL, however I like final yr’s first-round choose in A.J. Terrell. Nonetheless, the general expertise and depth of this place group shouldn’t be going to scare Tom Brady. Utilizing the draft to improve at each positions can be superb.

As for the incoming safeties, this class is not too deep. Our personal Trapasso ranked the place group as his third-worst within the draft. There’s Trevon Moehrig, Richie Grant after which Andre Cisco as the most effective of the most effective, however how a lot potential the remainder of the category has on the subsequent stage could also be questionable. Trapasso explains:

“The subsequent few tiers are first rate, led by TCU’s Ar’Darius Washington — one other slot defender/playmaker sort — and Indiana’s Jemar Jefferson, who supplies considerably of the identical fashion as Washington. Oregon’s Jevon Holland is extremely versatile too, I am simply frightened about his general athletic profile. Florida State’s Hamsah Nasirildeen and Virginia Tech’s Divine Deablo are your prototype “huge nickel” safeties on this class, and Deablo is extra of a big-play generator.

Past these safeties, you are stepping as much as the plate, closing your eyes and hoping for the most effective.”

As for cornerback, this can be a a lot deeper group — ranked fourth-best by Trapasso. We all know the elite prospects that might be taken within the first spherical, however this class does have some intriguing prospects that can go Day 3. Tay Gowan out of UCF is an athletic cornerback with good dimension who might shock folks on the subsequent stage, after which there’s Shaun Wade. The Ohio State defensive again is listed as a cornerback, however is perhaps a security. He is a hard-hitter who is aware of the best way to rush the quarterback and likes to hit within the open subject. Not everybody loves his movie, however he might be price a shot. The Falcons need assistance on protection and will stand to improve at most positions on that facet of the ball. The secondary might be younger, however hopefully some expertise may also help comprise the passing assaults of the NFC South. 

Seven-round mock

Listed here are the prospects CBS NFL Draft author Josh Edwards has the Falcons taking in his mock draft:

1 (4)

Trey Lance (QB)

North Dakota State

2 (35)

Travis Etienne (RB)


3 (68)

Quincy Roche (EDGE)

Miami (Fla.)

4 (108)

Joshua Bledsoe (S)


5 (148)

Darius Stills (DT)

West Virginia

5 (182)

Darren Corridor (CB)

San Diego State

5 (183)

Kylen Granson (TE)


6 (187)

Josh Palmer (WR)


6 (219)

Jonathan Cooper (EDGE)

Ohio State



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