ESPN talked to multiple NFL personnel evaluators—that could be anyone from a head of scouting to a scout to a guy who watches film in between serving lunches, I suppose—and came up with one draft steal for each round. The Falcons, perhaps predictably, were left off this list.
On one hand, it’s hard to quibble with Takk McKinley not being considered a steal, especially given that the Falcons traded up for him. Duke Riley, Sean Harlow, Brian Hill and Eric Saubert all went either when they were supposed to or a little earlier than expected, and while they may prove to be steals, you can understand why evaluators aren’t thinking about them right now. Even if I hate seeing the Buccaneers praised in any context, I can’t make a stink about any of those rounds...except the fifth.
I’m frankly a little shocked that Damontae Kazee couldn’t crack the list in the fifth round, considering that was perhaps the only universally acclaimed selection the Falcons made. Evaluators and analysts repeatedly praised his playmaking ability and intelligence and projected him to be a steal for this Falcons team, especially after learning he’ll get into the mix at safety. But in the end, it wasn’t enough to earn him a selection here, likely because evaluators didn’t feel he had the upside and role of some other potential selections. I certainly think he would have been a deserving choice, however.
Let’s hope this class makes these anonymous evaluators eat their selections sooner rather than later.