Through three weeks of the season, the strengths and weaknesses of the Falcons are starting to clearly define themselves. While it's too early to predict who the Falcons will take once the draft rolls around in April, it's a good idea to take stock of the college football landscape and project which players fit into what Atlanta may be looking for.
Here are a few players to keep an eye on:
Oklahoma (#15) versus West Virginia (#23) (Fox Sports One, 12pm ET)
West Virginia: S Karl Joseph (Sr.)
Karl Joseph (5'11", 197) is one of the best safeties in the country and he should continue to shine versus and Oklahoma team that features some shoddy quarterback play. Joseph has the range, speed, and experience to lockdown the deep portion of the field and packs quite the punch against opposing ballcarriers. He would be a really nice fit in Dan Quinn's Cover 3 scheme due to his ability to play both deep and near the line of scrimmage.
Baylor (#5) versus Texas Tech (ABC/ESPN2, 3:30pm ET)
Baylor: WR Corey Coleman (Jr.)/DT Andrew Billings (Jr.)/DE Shawn Oakman (Sr.)/C Kyle Fuller (Jr.)
Baylor is one of the most talented teams in the country and it shows in the amount of draftable talent they currently have on the team. It starts with junior receiver Corey Coleman (5'11", 190") who's one of the most explosive players in all of college football. He's a spectacular athlete that's produced 460 yards and 8 touchdowns on only 17 catches so far this season in Baylor's vertical, no-huddle attack. In Kyle Shanahan's offense, he would be a perfect as the number two receiver across from Julio Jones. He's dangerous after the catch and would be a dynamic weapon on play action crossing routes through the middle.
Baylor's defensive line features two big names as well. Defensive tackle Andrew Billings (6'1", 310) is one of the best interior defensive linemen for the upcoming draft. To pair with his size he has phenomenal athleticism, strength, and hustle. He has the size and strength to play nose tackle and the speed to play three technique. If Atlanta continues to play well, it would take a small miracle for him to draft him in the first round, but he's still a joy to watch.
Shawn Oakman (6'8", 280") is one of the most interesting prospects to come out in recent memory. He has insane measurables, but has yet to piece it all together to become a dominant football player. For Dan Quinn's defense, he would be best suited to play strongside defensive end due his length and penetration ability.
Kyle Fuller (6'5", 315) is a big, athletic center prospect who would be a perfect fit in the zone blocking scheme. It's not a secret that the Falcons might be looking to upgrade the center position. Fuller has experience running the inside zone and outside zone; if he declares I expect the Falcons to view him in high regard.
Georgia (#8) versus Alabama (#13) (CBS, 3:30pm ET)
Georgia: LB Leonard Floyd (RS Jr.)/LB Jordan Jenkins (Sr.)
Alabama: LB Reggie Ragland (Sr.)
This game features a trip of linebackers that Falcons fans should pay attention too. First and foremost is Alabama linebacker Reggie Ragland (6'2", 252). Ragland is a wrecking in the ball in the middle of the field with great athleticism to chase plays sideline to sideline and hold up in coverage. While this may come across as a "lazy" comparison, he is extremely similar to current Patriots linebacker Dont'a Hightower. Ragland would be an incredible fit next to Justin Durant in the middle of the Falcons defense.
On the other side of the field are Georgia linebackers Leonard Floyd (6'4", 231) and Jordan Jenkins (6'3", 253). Floyd was moved to the middle of Georgia's defense, but in the NFL his primary function will be getting after the passer. He has good length and explosion that should translate well to the profession level. Jenkins is also a rush linebacker, however he's a bit of a different player than Floyd. Jenkins' game is centered around effort and technique rather than raw athleticism. Both would be good fits as strongside linebackers in this scheme, but the Falcons would probably favor Floyd due to his natural athleticism.
Clemson (#12) versus Notre Dame (#8) (ABC, 8pm ET)
Notre Dame: LB Jaylon Smith (Jr.)/WR Will Fuller (Jr.)
Clemson: S Jayron Kearse (Jr.)/CB Mackensie Alexander (Jr.)
Clemson and Notre Dame are two of the top programs in the country right now and Saturday night's game should be an exciting matchup. Clemson is littered with playmakers on both sides of the ball, but two players to keep an eye on are safety Jayron Kearse (6'5", 220) and cornerback Mackensie Alexander (5'11", 195). Kearse is a massive safety prospect who shows impressive range on the backend to go along with the ability to play with violence and tenacity over the middle of the field. Alexander is a very good cornerback prospect, but for this game Falcons fans should view him as a free safety prospect. He's a phenomenal athlete with top notch ball skills and instincts. He can play both cornerback and safety and would add versatility to the Falcons defensive backfield.
Will Fuller (6'0", 172) has drawn comparisons to DeSean Jackson, on the field. Fuller is a slight, yet very explosive deep threat that can really take the top off the defense. Jaylon Smith (6'2", 235) is one of the most athletic players in the country at his position. He's extremely impressive in coverage and grows by the week as a run defender. The team may be looking for upgrades at inside linebacker in the 2016 NFL Draft, and landing a talent like Jaylon Smith would be a huge get.