ESPN recently put together a list of the 32 worst draft classes ever, and remarkably, the Falcons made the list just once.
That class? The 1996 one, which out of all the drafts the Falcons cobbled together over the years, delivered the least value per Pro Football Reference’s Annual Value (AV) ratings.
After relinquishing their first-round pick in the Jeff George trade, and dealing their second-round pick to the Raiders for safety Patrick Bates, the Falcons' first pick this year was defensive tackle Shannon Brown in the third round. Brown never made an NFL roster. Of Atlanta's five remaining picks, only DB Juran Bolden (fourth round) and LB Craig Sauer (sixth round) would see meaningful action in a Falcons uniform.
Some of the drafts on this list are abysmal and even unsettling, and so the Falcons have a much less objectionable entrant overall. Even in a history of missed picks, though, this draft stands out because the Falcons A) traded their first pick for Jeff George, B) traded their second for a guy I don’t even vaguely recall, and their third rounder didn’t even make a roster. That’s a bit of a disaster
Fortunately, with the current brain trust in charge, this year’s draft class probably won’t ever sniff 1996. This helps me appreciate the recent draft success even more.