By my math, we’re two weeks and two days away from the 2018 NFL Draft. There are a few burning questions for the Falcons—will they get their starting defensive tackle in the first round? Is there a speedy receiver who fits the offense late?—but there’s one that’s been nagging at the back of my mind for a while now. It’s a simple one, but it has profound implications for this team.
Are the Falcons going to draft a fullback?
The answer to this one is still probably no. Teams generally don’t draft them, for one thing, and the last time Atlanta did it was a disaster, as fifth round choice Bradie Ewing suffered a string of injuries that cost him his NFL career. Atlanta can probably pick up a couple of options as undrafted free agents and let them duke it out, and there should be one or two uninspiring yet capable free agent options lingering out there. At worst, 2017 starter Derrick Coleman are still out there, ready to swoop in and serve as a stopgap solution for yet another year.
Yet I don’t think we can totally dismiss the possibility, either. The Falcons have proceeded through this offseason as though they have one or two holes and aren’t particularly worried about their depth at other positions, which means they’re unlikely to be treating their draft class like it needs to be full of plug and play options. If they really think they can snag a defensive tackle, a wide receiver, a linebacker and a fourth safety and be in great shape, it may actually make sense (in Flowery Branch at least) for the team to go ahead and draft a fullback to ensure they land a player they really want. It wouldn’t happen before the sixth round, in all likelihood, and the Falcons have been pretty cavalier about the players they’re using their late round choices on of late anyways (remember Akeem King and Jake Rodgers?).
So don’t rule it out, as much as I hate saying that. There will be a new fullback in Atlanta before the season starts, in all likelihood, and it may even be a draft pick.