We’ve all had some time to absorb the Falcons’ surprise selection of Calvin Ridley in the first round of the 2018 NFL Draft. Now it’s time to think about what the team might do over the next couple of days.
But the Falcons aren’t the only team picking, of course. There are 31 other teams in the division, and three of those are dreaded NFC South rivals. Nobody here wants anything good to happen to the Saints, Buccaneers, or Panthers, and that includes landing decent players in the draft. Here are our writers’ picks for the players they don’t want any other team in the NFC South to land.
Harold Landry, DE
Clearly teams have some concerns about Landry’s injury history, because there’s no other reasonable explanation for him making it out of the first round. I would hate to see one of the best pass rushers in this class wind up anywhere in the NFC South, especially with the stout interiors pretty much every team in the division currently boasts. - Dave Choate
Maurice Hurst, DT
Speaking of injury concerns, there has been recent buzz that Hurst could possibly fall to day 3 of the draft due to a heart irregularity which was uncovered at the combine. Without that ailment, I have no doubt that Hurst would have been a day 1 selection, because he’s one of the best defensive linemen in this draft. It’s not every day that you can find a DT who’s so proficient in getting into the backfield, as both a run stuffer and a pass rusher. He could still prove to be an incredible value pick and it would really sting if an NFC South rival reaped the benefits of other teams getting scared off and letting Hurst fall too far. - Adnan Ikic
Maurice Hurst, DT
Were it not for his medical flag at the Combine for a heart condition, defensive tackle Maurice Hurst is a consensus first-rounder and potentially a top-fifteen pick. Many here at The Falcoholic, myself included, had him pegged as the Falcons’ first selection — and an enticing one, at that. Alas, Atlanta tossed a curve ball into our draft expectations by selecting Calvin Ridley, meaning Maurice Hurst is still on the board with some likelihood that he could be snapped up by a division rival. That’s not good. Hurst excels in both run defense and pass rush, and will prove a handful for any offensive line that has to deal with him. Hopefully it’s not the Atlanta Falcons twice a year. - Carter Breazeale
Maurice Hurst, DT
Despite having well-documented health concerns, Hurst is an exceptional talent that will make offenses suffer. His first step and violent hand usage makes him an ideal fit in Dan Quinn’s rapidly improving defense. The possibility of New Orleans taking him in the second round should make them wary. What team wants to deal with Cameron Jordan and Hurst running stunts? Playing him alongside Grady Jarrett would create immediate havoc. If the medical tests are clear, there is no reason why he should be on the board following the second round. - Allen Strk
Any Ohio State player, any position
The Ohio State University
Look. I can accept that the Falcons don’t draft Buckeyes. But I swear on all that is sacred and holy, I’m tired of watching players from the team I love more than any other team except for the Falcons go to garbage teams like the Saints and Panthers. Last year, I had to watch the Saints draft Marshon Lattimore and Vonn Bell, adding them to a roster that includes former Buckeyes Michael Thomas, Ted Ginn Jr., and Kurt Coleman. The dang Panthers grabbed Curtis Samuel last year. And I can’t stand by and watch one of these NFC South teams other than the Falcons grab Jamarco Jones or Sam Hubbard or Jerome Baker over the next couple of days. It’s too much. - Jeanna Thomas
Derrius Guice/Nick Chubb
I know a lot has changed under Dan Quinn, and Atlanta’s run defense is no longer a wet paper bag only to be run through by backs. I think I still have night terrors of randos like Charles Simms having career games against Atlanta. The thought of a good running back in the division is still pretty terrifying. We don’t need to see another Alvin Kamara type twice per year. - Matt Chambers