The 2016 NFL Draft is in the books, and now it's time for endless analysis of the players the Falcons picked. CBS 46 sports anchor Sherree Burruss invited me to join her for a segment talking about the first three rounds of the Falcons' draft.
The grade I gave the Falcons only extended to Keanu Neal, Deion Jones and Austin Hooper. With no real effort to address the lack of pass rush that has plagued the team for many seasons, I couldn't give them an A for their picks, but I feel pretty comfortable with the B.
Neal, though many considered him a reach, would not have been available when the Falcons picked at 50, and he likely wouldn't have been available past the Jets' pick at 20. Even if he had slipped past the Jets and the Steelers later in the first round, the team would have likely needed to move up to get him in the second, and with only five picks (at that time), that wasn't practical.
Jones is a great fit, and we've since learned that the team plans to try him at middle linebacker, where he's an instant upgrade. Though I do think Hooper will need some time to develop, with Jacob Tamme still on the roster, this is a perfect situation for him to adapt to the NFL and learn the scheme.
Since this segment was filmed, the team also added linebacker De'Vondre Campbell, guard Wes Schweitzer and return specialist Devin Fuller. Factoring in those picks, my initial grade still stands. The Falcons made the most of the picks they had to work with, and Dan Quinn got some fast and physical players on defense.