On the first night of the draft, the Falcons made the surprising, controversial, but (by this morning) widely applauded decision to draft Alabama wide receiver Calvin Ridley. His addition removes the last true 2018 weakness on offense for the Falcons—unless you’re particularly down on Brandon Fusco or the team’s current lack of a fullback—and sets them up to juggle defensive needs and the Best Players Available (TM) the rest of the way.
That makes this a potentially intriguing draft class. Last year, the Falcons hit needs at defensive end (Takkarist McKinley), linebacker (Duke Riley), and developmental needs at guard, tight end and safety (Sean Harlow, Eric Saubert, and Damontae Kazee) with their limited selections. This year, they didn’t move up in the first round, but they have fewer holes than ever before, and can theoretically do just what they did with Ridley: Go with a consensus BPA at a position that’s less an immediate need than a long-term one.
That may lead to some surprises tonight, as going for a high-upside player on Day 3 barely raises an eyebrow at this point. The consensus need pick for the Falcons is still defensive tackle, a position the Falcons have praised for its depth, but there’s no guarantee they’ll get one in the second or even the third round. I find that prospect a bit unsettling, but hell, I’m just here for the ride.
We’ll buzz in with noteworthy developments, and of course we’ll follow along with the Falcons’ picks.
9:44 p.m.: The big news at the moment is that defensive tackles are finally starting to move. The Falcons may need to move up to ensure they get one they like, if they’re committed to doing so.
8:38 p.m.: The Bucs picked up CB M.J. Stewart, and the Panthers picked up CB Donte Jackson. Stewart’s good but a bit undersized, while Jackson is blazing fast but unrefined. Clearly, there are some concerns about covering the Falcons and Saints.
8:16 p.m.: The Eagles picked a top tight end in Dallas Goedert, while the run on running backs has been pretty intense. The Falcons still have their pick of the litter at defensive tackle, at the moment.
7:38 p.m.: The most noteworthy pick for our purposes is the Buccaneers selection of USC RB Ronald Jones. He’s a very good runner who immediately upgrades the offense, which could be scary if Jameis Winston puts it together. I was a bit surprised to see them pass on LSU stud Derrius Guice, however.