At their bye week pace, the Falcons could’ve had a top five pick and would’ve likely cleaned house, giving them a true opportunity to start anew in 2020. They chose a different course, going 6-2 in the second half, betting on the current regime to finally build on a hot streak next season, and will now pick 16th in the 2020 NFL Draft.
It’s frustrating that the Falcons missed out on a chance at a top five selection to go after someone like Chase Young, but that may have been a bit of a longshot regardless given how inept their competition was. They haven’t taken themselves out of the running for a quality player, at least, and the Falcons could desperately use some of those. A loss to the Bucs would’ve put them at #11, but Matt Gay and Jameis Winston more or less guaranteed they would not.
Falcons are locked in to the 16th overall pick.— Mike Conti (@MikeConti929) December 30, 2019
The question, of course, is whether this regime can select and utilize an impact player at #16. They have recent success stories at #14 (Chris Lindstrom, though it’s a little early to say for him), #26 (Calvin Ridley), #17 (Keanu Neal, tragically being undone by injuries), #22 (Desmond Trufant), and #19 (Sean Weatherspoon). I’m actually pretty optimistic they’ll land a good one, and much more concerned with how the team is going to going to fare overall.
If you’re curious what the recent history of the 16th pick looks like, here it is going back to 2010. Quality players bolded.
2019: DE/LB Brian Burns
2018: LB Tremaine Edmunds
2017: CB Marlon Humphrey
2016: T Taylor Decker
2015: CB Kevin Johnson
2014: OG Zack Martin
2013: DE Quinton Coples
2012: DE/LB Ryan Kerrigan
2011: DE Derrick Morgan
2010: DE Larry English
Again, history suggests the Falcons will have a shot at a very good player here, and they’d be thrilled to get someone as good as Martin or Kerrigan, should the opportunity arise. If they’re going to be a resurgent team in 2020, they probably need to get someone who is at least an above average starter right out of the gate.