For day 29 of draftmas, the Atlanta Falcons take center stage.
Atlanta had a terrific season last year, finishing with a regular season mark of 11-5. Unfortunately, all that will be remembered is the Falcons blowing a 25 point third quarter lead in the Super Bowl.
There are not many weaknesses on this football team. The Matt Ryan led offense remains loaded. A lineup that features Julio Jones, Tevin Coleman, Mohamed Sanu and Devonta Freeman makes for an embarrassment of riches. Throw in an offensive line that was galvanized by free agent signing Alex Mack, and this offense went from talented to lethal last year. They were held under 20 points in just a single game
The defense was statistically below average, but the emergence of 2016 sack champion Vic Beasley and rookie safety Keanu Neal provides reason for optimism in 2017.
Pushing the right button on draft day makes a chance a Super Bowl redemption even more realistic than it already is. Here is a look at where the Falcons stand.
Picks and needs:
First round: (1) No. 31
Second round: (1) No. 63
Third round: (1) No. 95
Fourth round: (1) No. 136
Fifth round: (1) No. 174
Sixth round: (0)
Seventh round: (1) No. 249
These needs are in no particular order.
Defensive Line- Vic Beasley needs someone else to get after the quarterback, while they could use some depth on the interior as well.
Linebacker- Deon Jones is great, but they don’t have much outside of him.
Guard- Chris Chester retired and Ben Garland is the projected starter at right guard. They need to get that fixed before the start of the season.
Tight End- Austin Hooper is solid, but they don’t really have a big pass-catching threat at tight end.
These players could realistically be drafted by the Falcons where they are selecting. There will be no trades.
Pick #31: Charles Harris, DE/OLB, Missouri
Harris is a good pass rusher, who is also solid against the run. He doesn’t have great length for a edge rusher, but does have good strength. The Falcons had Vic Beasley last season, but need to get more pass rushers around him to have a better defense.
Pick #63: Raekwon McMillan, LB, Ohio State
McMillan needs to work on pass coverage, but can help stop the run. He will likely be a two down linebacker in the NFL to start. Atlanta doesn’t have many good linebackers outside of Deon Jones, so they can get another one with good value at this selection.
Pick #95: Ethan Pocic, OG/C, LSU
Pocic has a lot of experience playing on the interior of the offensive line at LSU. He needs to work on his pass blocking, but is good at run blocking. He can start at guard from day one with a good training camp and preseason showing.