The 2020 NFL Draft is just under a month away, which means that The Game Haus will be doing draft profiles for every team. Each NFL team will be looked at heading into this year’s draft including what their needs are and who they could be targeting. The Atlanta Falcons will be the 16th team evaluated.
The 2019 Atlanta Falcons got off to a slow start, winning just one of their first eight games. They got things back on track by winning six of their last eight games, but it was too little, too late for the playoffs. The success over the back half of the season was enough to keep Dan Quinn’s job as head coach.
Atlanta scored 23.8 points per game last season. They rushed for just 85.1 yards, but threw for 294.6 yards per game, which ranked third in the league. Matt Ryan passed for 4,466 yards, 26 touchdowns and 14 interceptions on 66.2 percent completion. Julio Jones posted 1,394 receiving yards, while Clavin Ridley had 866. The running game was one of the worst in the league, as lead back Devonta Freeman was only able to get 656 yards on the ground. The Falcons’ offensive line dealt with injuries all season long, which really limited what they could do offensively. This offseason, the Falcons lost Freeman and Hooper in free agency and signed Todd Gurley to be their top running back.
Their defense allowed 24.9 points per game, ranking 22nd in the NFL. They allowed 244.9 passing yards and 110.9 rushing yards per game. Grady Jarrett was a star in the middle of the defensive line with 69 tackles and 16.5 tackles for loss. Deion Jones played well again for the linebacking core with 110 total tackles. The secondary needs some work after Desmond Trufant signed with the Lions this offseason. Atlanta also lost Vic Beasley and De’Vondre Campbell, so they’ll need to find some new playmakers on the defensive side of the ball. They started to address this in free agency, by signing Dante Fowler, but more is needed in the draft.
2020 NFL Draft Picks
The Falcons have six picks in the 2020 NFL Draft.
First Round (one pick)- No. 17
Second Round (one pick)- No. 47
Third Round (one pick)- No. 78
Fourth Round (two picks)- No. 119, No. 143
Fifth Round (no picks)
Sixth Round (no pick)
Seventh Round (one pick)- No. 229
Cornerback- The Falcons needed a cornerback or two before Desmond Trufant was released, so now they need even more help at the position.
Safety- The secondary was a mess all over and that includes the play at safety.
Defensive Tackle- Grady Jarrett is great, but the Falcons need someone next to him.
Edge Rusher- Dante Fowler and Tak McKinnley should create a solid duo, but they can do better.
Guard- They used early picks on a guard and tackle last season and need to get another guard to really make sure the offensive line is solid.
Running Back- Todd Gurley was signed, but if the arthritis in his knee doesn’t improve, they need a long-term answer at the position.
Wide Receiver- The Falcons traded Mohamed Sanu to the Patriots. It isn’t a huge need, but a third receiver behind Jones and Ridley would be nice.
2020 NFL Draft Targets
Pick No. 16- C.J. Henderson, CB, Florida
Atlanta needs to add a few corners in this draft class. There should be a few that are available at pick no. 16 for the Falcons to choose between. Henderson is a good man to man corner, who can start from day one. He should be able to turn into a solid starting corner, which is exactly what the Falcons need with Tom Brady and Drew Brees in the division.
Pick No. 47- Clyde Edwards-Helaire, RB, LSU
The Falcons may be relying too much on Todd Gurley to carry the rushing attack. They can get one of the best running backs in the draft with their second-round pick. Edwards-Helaire had a great 2019 and is a threat to catch the ball out of the backfield. He can complement Gurley by being a third-down back and then possibly take over when Gurley wears down.
Pick No. 78- Damien Lewis, OG/C, LSU
Atlanta may want to do everything to make their offense high-powered again, even with holes on the defensive side of the ball. Lewis is a tough and physical interior lineman, who got plenty of reps in the passing game last year at LSU. He should be able to fill out the Falcons’ offensive line well.
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