The Falcons made their last pick of the day on Saturday afternoon, rounding out Atlanta’s 2018 draft class. The Falcons added talent at positions of need without giving up a ton of future draft capital. We’ll call that a win.
Let’s review the Falcons’ selections and what they bring to the table for our beloved birds.
Round 1, Pick 26
Calvin Ridley, WR, Alabama
Wide receiver wasn’t the expectation for the Falcons at No. 26. But snagging Ridley makes a ton of sense. Ridley was arguably the best player available at that point, and it is a position of need. Ridley’s speed and pretty routes will be an asset for Matt Ryan, and he’ll draw coverage away from Julio Jones, freeing Jones up to make more plays. Fans, Falcons players, and analysts all loved the pick. If Steve Sarkisian can’t make magic with this offense, he’ll have no excuse.
Round 2, Pick 58
Isaiah Oliver, DB, Colorado
Oliver was an absolute steal at this spot. He’s got the size and length Dan Quinn covets in a defensive back, with a build that resembles Richard Sherman. He’s got an NFL pedigree, too. His dad, Muhammed Oliver, was an NFL corner and a top college decathlete. Oliver finished his college career with 71 tackles, 29 pass breakups and three picks.
Round 3, Pick 90
Deadrin Senat, DT, USF
The need everyone expected the team to address right off the bat got filled in Round 3 with Senat. Senat’s frame and explosiveness call Grady Jarrett to mind. He’s also got pass rush skills that should help Atlanta’s defensive front disrupt quarterbacks this season.
Round 4, Pick 126
Ito Smith, RB, Southern Miss
Smith, in my mind, is one of the most underrated running backs in this year’s draft. He’s well-rounded, and he’s able to make an impact in the passing game as well as the run game. Oh, and his name isn’t really Ito. It’s Romarius. But his family nicknamed him Ito because as a baby he resembled Judge Lance Ito, who presided over the O.J. Simpson trial.
Round 6, Pick 194
Russell Gage, WR, LSU
It just wouldn’t be a Falcons draft if Thomas Dimitroff didn’t A) trade up and B) take some guy out of LSU. He killed both birds with one stone in the sixth round, trading away both of the team’s seventh-round picks and selecting Gage. Gage isn’t just a receiver. He converted from defensive back, and he had the third-most rushing yards on the team, behind running backs Derrius Guice and Darrel Williams. He could show up on special teams next season as a gunner or possibly a return specialist.
Round 6, Pick 200
Foyesade Oluokun, LB, Yale
Oluokun had 50 tackles, nine of which were for a loss last season. He’s got 13.5 tackles for loss and three sacks over his career, and he was named All-Ivy twice in his college career, and he blew it out of the water at his pro day. His 40-yard dash, 20-yard shuttle time, vertical jump, and broad jump would have all ranked in the Top 10 among all linebackers at the combine. He’s the type of pure athlete Dimitroff loves.
So that’s the Falcons’ 2018 draft class. Welcome to the Brotherhood.