Popular opinion suggests that it takes three years to fully grade a draft class. Who has time to wait that long? We will certainly have countless draft grade articles immediately after the draft, then probably revisit those grades every year for a few years. Luckily ESPN is as impatient as we are, and they did a redraft of the first round of last year’s NFL draft.
ESPN’s Vaughn McClure passed over Takkarist McKinley for an offensive weapon.
Player I would select now: TE O.J. Howard. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with sticking with McKinley here, and he has a bright future as he continues to develop his pass-rush skills. But for the sake of having fun with this project, Howard is a tight end the Falcons liked during the draft process and spent some time with along the way.
Howard was the highly regarded tight end out of Alabama that spent most of his rookie year playing second fiddle to Cameron Brate. He put up only 432 receiving yards, but had an impressive yards per catch (16.6!) and touchdowns (6!). He’s not quite a star yet, but could have helped Atlanta’s offense that was stuck in neutral most of last season.
I’d think the Falcons would take Takk again, but as McClure correctly says, that’s a boring pick for a redraft. He doesn’t fall far. Todd Archer gave his opinion, and perhaps explained why the Falcons traded up last year.
Player I would select now: LB Takkarist McKinley. It was interesting to see the third pick of the draft, Solomon Thomas, still available at No. 28. However, I went with the player the Cowboys would have selected at No. 28 last spring if he had been available, McKinley, who went No. 26 overall to the Atlanta Falcons. He has the suddenness in his game to play with speed and power.
The Falcons probably still feel a little salty from the 2014 NFL draft, where they failed to trade up for Dee Ford, then hoped DeMarcus Lawrence would fall into their lap. Both players are obviously looking better than their eventual selection, Ra’Shede Hageman.
I think both selections would be solid long-term additions. The Falcons never got a shot at Howard, but he is starting off his career quite well. He fell in the redraft due, in part, to some offensive inconsistencies in Tampa. After one year, it still looks like Takk was the correct pick.