The Atlanta Falcons will add a shiny new draft class to their repertoire in less than a month. Most fans and pundits are expecting Thomas Dimitroff and his merry band of scouts to zero in on a defensive tackle. After the departure of Dontari Poe and Adrian Clayborn, it’s a logical conclusion. But the Falcons have surprised us before, and they may well surprise us again.
Mel Kiper’s latest mock draft dropped yesterday. Kiper has the Falcons passing up the opportunity to bolster their defensive line in the first round. Instead, he thinks the Falcons will select dynamic University of Alabama WR Calvin Ridley.
Finally, a receiver comes off the board. Ridley is still my top-ranked wideout, but he’s dropping a little bit. He didn’t test well athletically at the combine, and he didn’t show off the explosion I expected (a vertical jump of 31 inches was concerning). Still, the tape shows a player who consistently beats cornerbacks and is great after the catch. Ridley, Julio Jones and Mohamed Sanu would form one of the most talented receiving corps in the league.
Ridley is a familiar name (224 receptions, 2,781 receiving yards, and 19 receiving touchdowns over three years at Alabama), but he’s seen his draft stock drop since the National Championship, particularly after the NFL Combine. Scouts question his strength and size, yet there’s no doubting his resume. Ridley projects as an immediate contributor if the Falcons bring him aboard.
Your thoughts about Kiper’s pick for the Falcons?