Atlanta was aggressive about improving their offense, adding upside, and prizing athleticism and versatility. How does it look?
The Falcons have just put their finishing touches on the 2021 NFL Draft class, the first with new general manager Terry Fontenot at the helm. The class was not about any one, unifying ideal per se, but athleticism, versatility, and sky-high upside seemed to drive most of these selections.
That began with Kyle Pitts, who many draft analysts thought was tone of the most gifted players in the class, regardless of position. It continued with the physical, tenacious Richie Grant and Jalen Mayfield on day two, and rolled over into the “this guy is tough as hell and a good athlete, let’s see what he can do” ethos that animated the Darren Hall, Drew Dalman, Ta’Quon Graham, and Ade Ogundeji picks. They finished up with a legitimately dangerous punt returner who can play multiple positions in the secondary and a developmental receiver with the speed to be a problem.
This won’t be a perfect class or anything close to it, but it’s not difficult to envision a path to contributing for anyone here. If the Falcons prove right in their bet that Matt Ryan can pilot this offense at a high level and coaching will make a massive difference for this team in general, this is the kind of group that ought to help propel Atlanta back to contention. If they’re not right about that bet and they miss on more than 1-2 of these players, at least as contributors, well, I don’t have to tell you the roster is dicey enough that it won’t be a lot of fun. Right now, it’s hard not to be optimistic about the way things unfolded over the past three days, at least for me.
Here’s the full class:
Round 1, Pick 4: TE Kyle Pitts, Florida
Round 2, Pick 35: S Richie Grant, UCF
Round 3, Pick 68: OL Jalen Mayfield, Michigan
Round 4, Pick 108: CB Darren Hall, San Diego State
Round 4, Pick 114: OL Drew Dalman, Stanford
Round 5, Pick 148: DL Ta’Quon Graham, Texas
Round 5, Pick 182: DE Adetokunbo Ogundeji, Notre Dame
Round 5, Pick 183: CB Avery Williams, Boise State
Round 6, Pick 187: WR Frank Darby, Arizona State
Having a closer look at it, how would you grade it?