The Atlanta Falcons capped off a successful draft yesterday afternoon, adding four players who add immediate versatility and depth. It’s hard to know how any newly drafted player will impact the team but that shouldn’t stop us from guessing. We’ve been wrong before and will probably be wrong again. C’est la vie! So how will each of these players fit in immediately?
Sean Harlow - Round 4, Pick 30 - OG, Oregon State
Harlow has his work cut out for him and will need to beat out Wes Schweitzer, Hugh Thornton, and Ben Garland if he wants Chris Chester’s old gig. He’s played every offensive line position in college but he’ll need to make a complete transition from OT to OG. Harlow probably won’t win a starting gig right out of training camp, but he will get his snaps this season, likely spotting Schweitzer at right guard and Andy Levitre at right guard. Going forward, in a perfect world, he’s starting by year two.
Damontae Kazee - Round 5, Pick 5 - CB/S, San Diego State
Kazee is joining one of the NFL’s best secondaries, but if his reputation is on point, this ferocious ball hawk will find his way onto the field. The Falcons need depth at safety and no one is sure if Ricardo Allen has job security. Kazee will provide depth at worst and supplant Allen at best. If he stays at cornerback, Kazee could spell Brian Poole as the nickel back. In short, he’s quality depth for now with the potential for a bigger role down the line.
Brian Hill - Round 5, Pick 12 - RB, Wyoming
The Falcons already know they can’t keep both Devonta Freeman and Tevin Coleman. The writing is on the wall. Why not go ahead and draft a potential long-term backup? Hill does everything you’d expect a quality running back to do. He may struggle to get carries this season. Heck, he may not even be active for several games. But if he can outperform Terron Ward in training camp, Hill will have a spot on this team.
Eric Saubert - Round 5, Pick 31 - TE, Drake
Saubert is arguably the biggest question mark in the Falcons’ 2017 draft class. We’re hearing a lot about his potential and uncanny receiving skills, but he’s raw, and he needs to improve before taking on a substantive role. The Falcons are young at tight end and Saubert could work his way into the rotation if he outperforms Levine Toilolo and Josh Perkins immediately. Again, it’s hard to know just how quickly Saubert can make himself relevant. Best bet: he will need some seasoning before we see much of him.