Why your team’s draft may (or may not) suck…..
Welcome one and all to You Got A Minute Fam? The unoffical CPT article of IBN. This year we at YGAMF have decided to dabble in the grading of draft picks! Atlanta you got the first pick so come onnnnnn down.
2020 Atlanta Falcons
The 2020 Atlanta Falcons were a confusing bunch. If a team was a person and that person was raised to be gender neutral but one day encountered boys who told said person that it was in fact…a girl…that person would be the 2020 Atlanta Falcons. Seriously what is so complicated about tanking? I know certain people do not believe in tanking but when you lose a game like the Falcons did against the Cowboys you may as well rage quit the season. Yet the Falcons pressed on. More Julio the Strong Safety highlights, more Matt Ryan darts to opposing teams, and more Yunghoe Koo memes. Oh and the inevitable losing record of 4-12. The Falcons finished 2020 slightly below average on offense. You could probably directly tie that into the injuries of Julio Jones but Calvin Ridley showed some promise. Defensively they were once again near the bottom of the league and ultimately they had no choice but to fire Dan Quinn. Raheem Morris filled in to a 4-7 record and so Atlanta figured why not hire an Offensive Coordinator to help us get this defense turned around. I mean it has to work because hiring a defensive coordinator like Quinn didn’t help. Look you got a team led by a guy named Arthur Blank…either his checks always cash or well that next joke isn’t football related or appropriate….
2021 NFL Draft and Grades
Atlanta has had the same tandum at QB and WR since 2011. That’s 9 years of Matt Ryan to Julio. Since Matt Ryan has entered the league I can’t recall a time where offensive weapons were truly a pressing need for the Falcons and most people believe they found their compliment to Julio in Calvin Ridley. The folks over at the draft network had the Falcons primary needs as CB, EDGE, OT with secondary needs of QB, RB. They felt like they could also use support at LB, S, WR, IDL but those needs were not pressing. Here is what Atlanta did:
- 4th Overall Selection (R1-P4): Kyle Pitts, TE, Florida
- 40th Overall Selection (R2-P8, from Denver): Richie Grant, S, UCF
- 68th Overall Selection (R3-P4): Jalen Mayfield, OT/G, Michigan
- 108th Overall Selection (R4-P3): Darren Hall, CB, San Diego State
- 114th Overall Selection (R4-P9, from Denver): Drew Dalman, C, Stanford
- 148th Overall Selection (R5-P4): Ta’Quon Graham, DT, Texas
- 182nd Overall Selection (R5-P38): Adetokunbo Ogundeji, EDGE, Notre Dame
- 183rd Overall Selection (R5-P39): Avery Williams, CB, Boise State
- 187th Overall Selection (R6-P3): Frank Darby, WR, Arizona State
There are people out here (I know probably at least two of you reading this article) that really think the Falcons should have taken Justin Fields. If you are one of those people I want you to remember Matt Ryan is 35. Barring a major injury you do not have to worry about replacing him for at least three more years. In that three year span do you think you would be able to find someone like Kyle Pitts at his respective position? Hell do you think you would fine anyone with this kind of combination of size and athleticism to play offense? The answer is no. Kyle Pitts is a gawd….and honestly if you have to move on from Julio and Ryan at some point in the next 3-4 years …a foundation of Pitts and Ridley wouldn’t be bad at all for any young QB to come in and work with. Honestly it’s a no brainer for me and a certified ‘A’ rating. “Player Comparison: Travis Kelce/Calvin Johnson. As the team sources said above, they feel Pitts could be an elite receiving tight end like Kelce or Gonzalez. If Pitts moves to wide receiver, they feel he could be a poor man’s Calvin Johnson.”-Walterfootball.com
I do not plan to go through every single pick but I don’t like the Richie Grant pick as much as I would have liked to have seen the Falcons take Trevon Moehrig from TCU. Most people have the top level of the safety position very close this year but there is something about a guy who moves from Corner to Safety and excels that makes me value them more. In my opinion Moehrig showed more versatility as a defender and because of his experience as a corner I think you could trust him more to cover the various athletes that you’re going to encounter in today’s NFL. Both gentlemen have great ball skills but I prefer Moehrig’s instincts more than Richie. Ultimately Atlanta may live to regret not getting someone that could provide more versatility for them in their secondary. I personally gave the Richie pick a C but that is only because I personally was so high on Moehrig.
After we navigate the first two picks I have to give Atlanta credit for maneuvering the draft and picking up guys that you can see contributing sooner rather than later. Guys like Mayfield and Dalman are not what I consider elite prospects but they both come in with high ceilings and from programs where you know (for their respective positions) they are well coached. Overall I look at this draft class as a group of guys after Pitts who will need great coaching and patience in their development. If I have to go out on a limb and call someone a sleeper pick it has to be Avery Williams from Boise St. The guy can do just about anything, block kicks , return kicks , cover some what and even run the ball. He is the perfect project guy for an offensive minded coach to really get creative with. If you could factor him into a game plan with Darby stretching the field and Julio, Ridley , Pitts working everywhere else….fantasy owners paradise and opposing defenses worst nightmare. Ultimately Atlanta will still remain their worst enemy and missing out a couple guys I think would have been better plug and plays on defense leaves me not as high on this draft as some others.
On it’s face I’ll give it a B. The ceiling would probably be A- and that’s depending on the development of their first 5 picks. It’s not the worst draft but I think the public and pundits have overvalued it a little.