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Staff grades and thoughts on the 2018 Atlanta Falcons draft class

How did this one shake out?

2018 NFL Draft Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images


Grade: B+

I hesitate to give the team a straight-up A, but this is one of the stronger drafts for the team in recent history. The front-office avoided trading up until the 6th round and let the picks come to them. While the selection of Ridley was surprising, it could end up being a steal when the full picture of this draft class is taken into consideration. All of the players selected offer considerable upside, but also have the potential to impact the roster immediately. The team still needs to fill out some of its depth, but it’s hard to argue with a class like this.

Matt Chambers

Grade: A

I never expected it, but the Falcons got me jacked up for the 2018 season after this draft. I am drinking the Kool-aid and ready to see this team hit the field. I’m so euphoric that I’ve forgotten all the issues with play-calling and execution last year. The team didn’t add a top defensive tackle like I expected, but round one and two suggest we will see a bigger focus on passing and shutting down the pass. They addressed a ton of positions with great scheme fits, and even put a focus on special teams. This is definitely one of my favorite drafts in years.

Dave Choate

Grade: A-

I’ve been ebullient about Falcons drafts before, with mixed luck in retrospect. This one is unique though because it wasn’t based around immediate needs, and yet the Falcons landed some genuinely exciting talent, even so. Calvin Ridley, Isaiah Oliver and Deadrin Senat all figure to be starters in everything but name in 2018, and Ito Smith is a potential impact player in 2019 when Tevin Coleman’s likely to be playing elsewhere. Round it out with some solid special teamers with upside and you have a very good class, one that is diminished only because I felt as though the Falcons passed on some genuine talent in the sixth round in favor of special teams-geared picks.

Eric Robinson

Grade: B+

Another draft, another opportunity for Dan Quinn and Thomas Dimitroff to show us that we all should fully trust them. The team pulled a mild shocker with the drafting of WR Calvin Ridley at 26th overall. Now the offense has a crafty playmaker that defenses will have to greatly account for. Having CB Isaiah Oliver available at 58th overall was something unexpected as well and now the team has a talented corner to form a dangerous trio along with Desmond Trufant and Robert Alford. The defensive line has a 314-lb nose tackle in Deadrin Senat that has scary strength and the ability to elevate the line as a whole. With Ito Smith, Russell Gage, and Foye Oluokun, the team added three athletic prospects that define versatility. The Falcons have themselves a roster folks.

Cory Woodroof

Grade: A-

The Falcons refuse to put themselves in the box we often set before them with where this draft process goes. With Taven Bryan, the de-facto favorite Atlanta first round pick, there for the taking, the team bucked expectations and went with dangerous Alabama WR Calvin Ridley, who had slipped a bit on the board. The move gives Matt Ryan the best trio of receivers he’s ever had, and going to make this passing game a bear to defend. To me, that was the theme of the draft. How can we make you scared of us again? Taking CB Isaiah Oliver second and adding him to a full room at the position will make Atlanta mighty hard to throw on, and RB Ito Smith is ridiculous depth behind Devonta Freeman and Tevin Coleman. New nose tackle Deadrin Senat has tons of potential and a killer motor, and the sixth rounders, WR Russell Gage and LB Foye Oluokun, will stand out on special teams early, with room to do more. The personnel worry comes with the hole Poe left in run support, but if Dan Quinn is confident in what his team has done to fill that gap for 2018, what on Earth are we so worried about?

James Rael

Grade: B+

We’ve reached a point in the Dimitroff era where you’re inclined to just trust the front office. They put an entire year into preparing for this draft, and they have the best feel for what the team needs from a personnel standpoint. That said, a lot of people thought Calvin Ridley to Atlanta was an impossibility heading into the draft. Most of us were sure the Falcons would draft a defensive tackle in the first or second rounds. Then the front office trolled us all and held off until the third round, selecting Deadrin Senat, Clogger of Space, First of his Name. I’m a little confused by all the panic, doom, and gloom triggered by the sixth round picks. At that point, potential and special teams value is all you’re looking for anyway. Overall this was a solid draft; not exceptional, but solid. And I’m satisfied.

Adnan Ikic

Grade: A-

I feel like the Dimitroff, Dan Quinn and company knocked it out of the park on the first two days of the draft. While I was expecting the Falcons to take Taven Bryan in the first round, I still really liked the Calvin Ridley pick in the first round after not expecting him to be there at 26. He’ll give the Falcons possibly the best WR trio in the NFL, and should seamlessly replace Mohamed Sanu in the next year or two. Watching Isaiah Oliver fall all the way to 58 felt too good to be true, and was undoubtedly a product of other teams’ GMs getting too cute with their selections in taking other CBs over him. He’s a prototypical Dan Quinn corner with the speed and length to start on day one and to give Atlanta possibly the best CB trio in the game as well. Deadrin Senat fills the big need at DT and looks like a serious space eater who will stop the run effectively. I wasn’t too crazy about the Ito Smith pick but loved everything else, as Foyesade Oluokun and Russell Gage will be much needed special teams contributors from day one.