The 2021 NFL Draft begins on April 29, which means that The Game Haus will be writing draft profiles for every team. Each NFL team will be evaluated heading into this year’s draft, as our staff recaps their last season, highlights their needs and pinpoints their potential 2021 NFL Draft targets.
The Atlanta Falcons are the subject of today’s 2021 NFL Draft profile.
The Falcons had a 2020 season that, by its end, saw them finish 4-12, finish last in the NFC South, fire their head coach, their special teams coordinator and their general manager. In short, it was one to forget, even if Matt Ryan continued to prove he is not done yet. Now, Atlanta has the ability to reboot a bit with a top five selection, a new coach, a new GM and possibly even a new quarterback. They have a lot of work to do, and they remain in a division with the defending Super Bowl champions, but there is little chance they can be worse than last season.
2021 NFL Draft Picks
The Falcons have three picks in the first three rounds of the 2021 NFL Draft.
First Round (one pick) – No. 4
Second Round (one pick) – No. 35
Third Round (one pick) – No. 68
Defense- Not to short change the reader out of reading more specific team needs, but the Falcons simply need defensive players at every position. Their defense ranked 19th in points allowed per game and 29th in yards allowed per game. Those numbers do not tell the whole story, but it is a good start. Atlanta needs a complete defensive re-work to be viable in the NFC South.
Running back- Todd Gurley was decent last season, but nowhere near his 2017 and 2018 form. Brian Hill was an average backup and Ito Smith did not have much of an impact. Both Hill and Gurley are free agents, but even if Gurley re-signs with Atlanta, some youth needs to be injected into the Falcons’ backfield.
Quarterback- Matt Ryan is aging, but not ineffective. The Falcons could feasibly wait on finding his replacement. The problem is they may not be this high in a draft with this amount of quarterback talent in the coming years. Atlanta may essentially be forced to pull the trigger to grab who they hope is their next franchise quarterback.
2021 NFL Draft Targets
Pick No. 4: Trey Lance, QB, North Dakota State
As stated above, the Falcons may be forced to take a quarterback at pick number four, even if they are not ready to move on from Matt Ryan. The positioning here is too enticing to not take one of the top four quarterback talents, whomever that may be.
Lance can sit behind Ryan and learn to be the best pocket quarterback he can be. Ryan is a masterclass in and of himself when it comes to passing the football with purpose and accuracy. It is unfortunate, however, that he may be pushed into a mentor role sooner than he maybe should. Unless they trade down to double down on Ryan, there is just a slim-to-none chance they will be able to resist taking a quarterback in the top five.
Pick No. 35: Wyatt Davis, OG, Ohio State
Many mock drafts have a run on offensive lineman taking place near the end of the first/beginning of the second round. This profile has defense (at every conceivable position) being the Falcons biggest need, but Atlanta may need to strike while the iron is hot here.
Wyatt Davis may be the best guard prospect available at pick number 35. There may be others, like Vera-Tucker and Leatherwood, but Davis likely will be on the board here. Davis played at a football power, and could move to either side of the line, which is worth a second-round selection. It is not the biggest team need, but it is a need. Atlanta should grab a lineman here before all of the good talent is gone.
Pick No. 68: Michael Carter, RB, North Carolina
It is hard to take skill positions this late in the draft, but the Falcons need a youthful running back to introduce into the fold. Michael Carter could be the closest thing to a sure bet if this is their avenue to do just that.
Carter has a nose for the end zone, it is as simple as that. He may be a featured back, or a third down back early in his career. But with a little more weight and enough NFL reps, Carter may be able to make a big difference in the red zone for this team.
Featured Image courtesy of Atlanta Falcons
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