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Top UDFA targets for the Falcons

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The Falcons made seven picks in the 2019 NFL Draft, but there are a lot of quality players that weren’t drafted. Here are the top UDFA names to watch for Atlanta.

NFL: Atlanta Falcons-Training Camp Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

The Falcons walked away from the 2019 NFL Draft with seven total picks. Atlanta addressed many positions of need, but notably, not all positions of need. For help with those, the Falcons will turn to the undrafted free agent class (or UDFA, for short). Every year, teams unearth a few diamonds in the rough—and Atlanta has been particularly good at getting quality contributors from the ranks of the undrafted.

Here are some of the top names that will be entering the UDFA market. Keep in mind these players can come and go pretty quickly—just because you’ve heard someone is signing somewhere, that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s true until the team announces it. Scouting notes from my prospect previews or scouting reports are embedded where applicable. Enjoy!

DEFENSE

EDGE

The Falcons added John Cominsky with their second fourth-round pick, but they could potentially add more depth for camp competition. This position was pretty well drafted, but there are a few guys left that are worth a look.

Wyatt Ray, Boston College
Jonathan Ledbetter, Georgia
Malik Carney, North Carolina

DT

The Falcons didn’t add a defensive tackle in the 2019 NFL Draft, but based on Quinn’s comments, it seems like the team expects Cominsky to play a lot of snaps on the interior. Expect Atlanta to chase some of the top remaining names as UDFAs. Daniel Wise in particular would be an awesome addition—he’s an explosive penetrator on the interior, and was an early-Day 3 grade for me.

Daniel Wise, Kansas

At 6’3, 290, Wise isn’t going to blow you away with size or power. Where he excels is in a penetrating role—using his speed, athleticism, and technique to explode into the backfield and disrupt plays. He’s got a great understanding of leverage and uses his hands well, making him a dangerous pass rusher. Wise isn’t going to be a force against the run, but he can carve out a role for himself as a pass-rushing specialist. In a penetrating 4-3 scheme like Quinn’s, Wise is a perfect fit. We’ll see how high his stock rises after the Combine, but he’d be a great value early on Day 3.

Gerald Willis, Miami
Ricky Walker, Virginia Tech

LB

Atlanta has seven LBs on the current roster, but we know Dan Quinn loves competition. There were a ton of quality LBs that weren’t drafted on Day 3—I’d expect the Falcons to try to add one of the top guys. Joe Giles-Harris was one of my top-5 LBs in the class.

Joe Giles-Harris, Duke

Giles-Harris has great size at 6’2, 240 and looks the part of a 3-down LB in the NFL with technically refined tackling and exceptional coverage ability. While Giles-Harris isn’t an elite athlete in the realm of Deion Jones, he’s still plenty quick enough to fly around the field and make stops. His weaknesses are similar to Jones’: Giles-Harris is never going to be an elite LB at stacking-and-shedding blocks. Still, the Falcons scheme should minimize the need for that, and Giles-Harris could eventually form a very good duo with Deion Jones, particularly on third down.

Te’Von Coney, Notre Dame
T.J. Edwards, Wisconsin

Edwards is instinctive as both a run defender and coverage man, with surprisingly good ball skills to boot. What he lacks in athleticism he makes up for with technique and competitiveness, and he plays with a physical edge. He’s a reliable tackler and can be trusted on all three downs. Edwards will never have the splash plays of someone like Deion Jones, but as a 4th or 5th LB that can do it all, I love his value on Day 3.

CB

The Falcons added two CBs in the 2019 NFL Draft: Kendall Sheffield in the fourth round, and Jordan Miller in the fifth round. Atlanta’s depth chart there is pretty stacked at this point, but they’ll still add some guys to compete in camp. Some good ones are available, too: Mark Fields was a player I mocked to the Falcons consistently in the fourth round.

Mark Fields, Clemson

I like Fields’ potential as a future starting slot CB in the NFL. He’s physical, aggressive, and athletic in space, with the speed to cover downfield and the lateral quickness to match up with more agile receivers. Fields isn’t the most polished player and it’s clear that he needs time to develop his instincts in coverage, but he’s the rare late-round pick with legitimate starting upside.

Saivion Smith, Alabama
Montre Hartage, Northwestern

S

Atlanta added a bunch of safeties just prior to the draft, which made it unlikely that they’d select one during the draft. However, they’re still going to bring in a few guys to compete in camp.

Evan Worthington, Colorado

A big safety prospect with good athleticism and coverage ability, Colorado’s Evan Worthington checks a lot of boxes as a potential NFL starter. At 6’2, 212, Worthington certainly has the size to play in the box and matchup with TEs, but he’s a surprisingly good athlete and was often deployed as a deep safety in Colorado’s defense. Worthington is a reliable tackler with good instincts in run defense, although he isn’t as physical as you’d like.

Malik Gant, Marshall

An under-the-radar prospect from a non-P5 school, Marshall’s Malik Gant certainly plays like he has a chip on his shoulder. Gant is an extremely physical strong safety prospect that hits like a truck. His aggressiveness, toughness, and competitiveness immediately stand out. Gant is a relentless player in run support that is always seeking to deliver the big hit, and he’s got the size to follow through.

D’Cota Dixon, Wisconsin

Dixon is a good, not great athlete that is unheralded because he lacks any elite traits. If you’re looking for a starter, Dixon doesn’t provide a ton of upside. But he does provide consistency, reliability, and excellent character and football IQ. What he lacks in traits he makes up for in attitude, and I think Dixon certainly has a place on an NFL roster. For the Falcons, he’d be a good fifth safety or “big nickel” player that can do a little of everything.

OFFENSE

QB

I don’t expect the Falcons to take much of a look at the available QBs with Matt Schaub and Kurt Benkert under contract, but they always add a guy or two for camp.

Brett Rypien, Boise State
Tyree Jackson, Buffalo
Jordan Ta’amu, Mississippi

RB

Atlanta added two RBs (one is more of an RB/WR/returner hybrid) in Qadree Ollison and Marcus Green, but there’s always a ton of talent at the position that winds up undrafted. This year is no different, with three of my favorite RBs still available. Ozigbo and Williams would be fantastic additions with a real shot to make the roster.

Devine Ozigbo, Nebraska

A one-year wonder that had a production explosion under new head coach Scott Frost, the 6’0, 230 Ozigbo totally redefined his game and excelled in the new zone blocking scheme. Ozigbo has good vision, impressive physicality, and excellent agility and change-of-direction skills. He’s not an elite receiver, but he’s certainly capable of making plays there and can also contribute as a pass protector. Ozigbo doesn’t have breakaway speed and will never be a home run hitter in the NFL, but he’s a very well-rounded back that would be an ideal fit in Atlanta’s offense. In the sixth round, he’d be a steal.

James Williams, Washington State

Enter James Williams from Washington State, who might be the most talented receiving back in the class. Williams did most of his work in the passing game, but he’s a quietly competent goal-line option as well—he had 12 rushing TDs in 2018. How could a player like Williams fall this far, you might ask? This class is absolutely loaded with Day 3 RBs, and somebody is going to fall to the wayside—hopefully to the Falcons’ benefit.

Karan Higdon, Michigan

WR

The Falcons, surprisingly, didn’t address the WR position in the 2019 draft. I’d expect a pretty major haul of UDFAs to compensate, and hopefully they can get their hands on some of the talent that’s still out there. Hall was a Day 2 grade for me, while Stanley Morgan Jr. and Jakobi Meyers were both early Day 3 values.

Emanuel Hall, Missouri
Stanley Morgan, Jr., Nebraska
Jakobi Meyers, NC State

WR Jakobi Meyers is a QB-convert that has put up impressive production at NC State. While Meyers has to continue to learn the finer points of the position, he’s got all the traits you desire from a WR3-type player. He’s got the size—6’2, 203—the ball skills, and the competitive fire you want to see. Meyers also showed off quality blocking chops, which the Falcons require from their WRs. His overall athletic ability is merely average, but his frame and jump ball ability make him an excellent “move-the-chains” receiver.

TE

Atlanta wasn’t really in the market for a TE after adding Luke Stocker and re-signing Logan Paulsen, but I’d still expect them to add a few guys for camp. Dax Raymond is a particularly good value as a UDFA.

Dax Raymond, Utah State

An early Day 3 option that has the potential to grow into a dual-threat TE—particularly in a more mobile zone blocking scheme—Utah State’s Dax Raymond is one of the more impressive receivers in the class. Raymond pairs prototypical size with very good athletic traits and a nasty, physical streak to his run blocking. While he’s not quite elite in any one area, the complete package is very enticing for a team looking for a high-level TE2 that can do it all.

Donald Parham, Stetson
Andrew Beck, Texas

OT

With the addition of Kaleb McGary in the first round, Atlanta’s OT rotation is probably pretty solidified. That’s good news, because the guys available as UDFAs are not particularly inspiring. Hyatt is probably the biggest name on the list.

Donnell Greene, Minnesota
Ryan Bates, Penn State
Mitch Hyatt, Clemson

C/G

Beau Benzschawel, Wisconsin
Garrett Brumfield, LSU
Nate Herbig, Stanford

Atlanta added Chris Lindstrom in the first round, but they could still use a developmental center behind Alex Mack. The fact that Beau Benzschawel fell out of the draft is shocking to me. He’s a versatile player that could be just the piece the Falcons are look for as a reserve.

Who are some UDFAs that you’re looking at, Falcons fans?