The Falcons' draft is in the book, and the early response to the class ranges from "genuine appreciation" to "real admiration." It's a little surreal to hear so many people praising a Falcons draft class.
You'll find the grades below generally reflect that. I've rounded up reactions to the entire class, as well as Justin Hardy and Grady Jarrett specifically, for your consideration. Keep in mind that grades at this stage of the offseason simply indicate the approval of fans and pundits, not anything concrete about the future of this draft class.
Without further ado, here's some grades from around the Internet. I'll update these with grades from the likes of Mel Kiper and Mike Mayock when they're available.
For full grades from The Falcoholic staff, check back with us tomorrow morning at 8 a.m. We'll have a writer roundtable.
The reception was, as you might guess by reading the comments, very positive. Only 3% of you guys thought this draft deserved a D or F, and over half of you thought it deserved an A. This might be the most optimistic the fanbase has been about a draft class since I started The Falcoholic back in 2006, which is pretty impressive.
Dan Kadar/Mocking The Draft
This was a home run of a draft for the Falcons. Beasley should be a star in head coach Dan Quinn's system on defense. Collins might not be a starter as a rookie, but he has as much raw talent and potential as any cornerback in the draft this year. Coleman should easily be able to take over the starting running back job from Devonta Freeman. Hardy might not be the biggest, but he's a solid and reliable player who can do work from the slot. Getting Jarrett in the fifth round was fantastic value. The only thing holding this class back is a lack of an offensive lineman or two.
Only the Bengals had fewer sacks than Atlanta's 22 last season, and the Falcons went about fixing that issue right away, taking Clemson speed-rusher Vic Beasley with the eighth pick. Beasley put up 12 sacks and 21.5 tackles for loss on the nation's best defense last season, and he's no one-year wonder. He finished with 13 sacks and 23 tackles for loss the year before. He'll make new coach Dan Quinn very happy within Quinn's multiple fronts. The Falcons got a potential steal in the second round with LSU cornerback Jalen Collins, who started just 10 games for the Tigers but looks very comfortable on the field and projects as a physical No. 1 cornerback. Third-round back Tevin Coleman out of Indiana is a pure speedster who can add some real dynamism to a ground game that's been stuck in recent years. But the most interesting late-round pick for the Falcons—and a guy who might be one of the steals of this draft—is Clemson defensive tackle Grady Jarrett, who many had with a second-round grade. He's a highly productive three-tech, and to get him in the fifth round is a gift. Pairing him with Beasley means that the Falcons' formerly dormant pass rush is about to get a lot more interesting.
Atlanta Falcons: Dan Quinn is a walking fire emoji right now, hitting home run after home run in this draft. The first round saw Vic Beasley fall to Atlanta, giving a pass rusher it sorely needs to in a division with Jameis Winston, Drew Brees and Cam Newton. Beasley doesn't need to play every down and stuff the run (and he won't), he just needs to attack the passer when he's on the field. Jalen Collins has red flags but he's a long corner with first-round value. Tevin Coleman gives them a big, physical presence in the running game to complement Devonta Freeman. Justin Hardy in the fourth is a perfect replacement for Harry Douglas, while Grady Jarrett could end up being the best pick in the entire draft.
Grade: N/A (in the winner column)
ATLANTA FALCONS: The Falcons were thought to be considering a trade-up in the first round for Dante Fowler Jr. Instead, they stayed put and still managed to add a potentially disruptive pass rusher in Vic Beasley. They also did extremely well in the next two rounds by getting CB Jalen Collins in the second and RB Tevin Coleman in the third. Collins only made 10 starts at LSU but clearly is talented and could develop into an NFL standout. Coleman illustrates that it doesn’t take a first- or even a second-round choice to get a runner capable of stepping into the lineup and producing. Grade: A
Below, you'll find some individual grades for the team's 4th and 5th round picks.
Atlanta is having an excellent draft. Hardy can come in and play the slot right away. Possession guy with sneaky athleticism.
Undersized but tremendous burst from the interior. Highly disruptive player who adds to an excellent draft so far for Atlanta. Had a second-round grade on him.