The Falcons currently (though not necessarily on draft night) hold the 14th pick in the 2019 NFL Draft. That selection should be able to snag the Falcons a very good player, but you might if yourself wondering if history is on their side in that regard.
Today, we’ll take a look to see whether the 14th selection (which the Falcons have not had in the past nearly 40 years, incidentally) has a history of yielding quality players or not. Let’s go back to 2000, with a few highlights of true greats who were drafted since 1980.
2018: DE Marcus Davenport, Saints
2017: DE Derek Barnett, Eagles
2016: S Karl Joseph, Raiders
2015: WR DeVante Parker, Dolphins
2014: CB Kyle Fuller, Bears
2013: DT Star Loulelei, Panthers
2012: DL Michael Brockers, Rams
2011: DE Robert Quinn, Rams
2010: S Earl Thomas, Seahawks
2009: CB Malcolm Jenkins, Saints
2008: T Chris Williams, Bears
2007: CB Darrelle Revis, Jets
2006: DT Brodrick Bunkley, Eagles
2005: LB Thomas Davis, Panthers
2004: DT Tommie Harris, Bears
2003: DE Michael Haynes, Bears
2002: TE Jeremy Shockey, Giants
2001: T Kenyatta Walker, Buccaneers
2000: TE Bubba Franks, Packers
1996: RB Eddie George, Titans
1989: DE Jaff Lageman, Jets
1983: QB Jim Kelly, Bills
What can we get out of this list, which I followed all the way back to 2000 before just picking a few highlights out from the years past? The trend since 2000 or so has been to take defensive linemen or secondary players at #14, and the NFL has largely been rewarded with great players by making those choices. Brockers, Lotulelei, Quinn, and Jenkins are all good players, while Earl Thomas and Darrelle Revis are two Hall of Famers. Even some of the more recent picks, like Davenport, Barnett and Joseph, could turn into quality players in the near future, and Davenport has the tools to be a star.
In other words, the 14th pick is usually a pretty good spot to be in if you want a quality defender, and that figures to be the case again this year. Typically teams reach for quarterbacks in the top ten—something the Falcons may or may not see this year, depending on whether teams fall in love with Dwayne Haskins and Daniel Jones—but their chances of getting a player they love in the trenches is very high even if they don’t move.
If the Falcons stay at 14, who do you think they’ll pick?