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Falcons draft prospect watch: CB

It’s never too early to start exploring potential draft targets for the Falcons! Today, we’ll be taking a look at the CB position, where Atlanta added an impact starter in A.J. Terrell but still needs a lot of help for 2021.

Florida vs Georgia Photo by Piper Hansen/Collegiate Images/Getty Images

We’re now through Atlanta’s bye week and into Week 11, as the Falcons prepare to face off with the hated Saints on Sunday. The team has remained at pick 10 in the projected 2021 NFL Draft order after some shuffling from other teams. With a very difficult remaining schedule, I’d expect the Falcons to finish somewhere in the range of 6-16 in the final draft order—and remember, that strength of schedule means that the team will lose ties with most teams when all is said and done.

Now is an ideal time to start looking ahead to some potential draft targets for Atlanta in the 2021 NFL Draft. Last week, I previewed a few potential prospects at EDGE. Today I’ll be taking a look at CB, where the Falcons added a very good player in A.J. Terrell in the first round of the 2020 draft. However, outside of Darqueze Dennard in the slot—who may or may not return in 2021—the team still has a significant need for multiple impact players.

Here are four CB prospects to keep an eye for the Falcons.

Caleb Farley, Virginia Tech

Projected: 1st Round

The top CB prospect in the 2020 class, at least in my opinion, Virginia Tech’s Caleb Farley is actually fairly new to the position. Farley played QB in high school and committed to Virginia Tech as a WR before transitioning to CB in 2018. At 6’2, 197, Farley clearly has the build of an NFL CB1. He’s also a tremendous athlete, with excellent long speed and agility to match up with just about any type of WR. Farley is farther along in his technique than you’d expect for a player with limited experience, but he’s currently much more comfortable in man than zone. He’ll likely be a top-10 pick, but he’d be an excellent long-term partner for A.J. Terrell.

Eric Stokes, Georgia

Projected: Late 1st Round/Early 2nd Round

One of the biggest risers of the 2020 season, Georgia’s Eric Stokes has emerged as one of the top CB prospects in the class. At 6’1, 185, he’s got good size and length for the position and is one of the most physical players I’ve seen thus far. Stokes is most comfortable in press coverage and plays it extremely well. Athletically, he isn’t quite as flashy as some of the other CBs on this list, but his long speed and agility are more than good enough. Stokes doesn’t possess great ball skills and isn’t likely to create many takeaways, but he’s been a near-shutdown CB on the outside this season and could possibly be around in the late 1st/early 2nd.

Patrick Surtain II, Alabama

Projected: 1st Round

At 6’1, 203, Patrick Surtain II certainly has the look of a high-end CB1 prospect. He combines prototypical size with exceptional long speed and ball skills, making him a well-rounded outside corner. Surtain is at his best when he can use his size and physicality to disrupt opponents, but can struggle against smaller, shiftier WRs. His tackling is also a bit hit-or-miss, and he could stand to improve his technique in some areas, but Surtain has the ceiling of an elite CB1 in the NFL.

Shaun Wade, Ohio State

Projected: Late 1st Round/Early 2nd Round

The rare truly elite slot CB, Ohio State’s Shaun Wade is actually versatile enough to play just about anywhere in the secondary. He’s got plenty of size at 6’1, 194 to survive on the outside, but has spent most of his time on the inside at Ohio State. Wade is an elite athlete who also has tremendous instincts for the position, and his physicality really stands out. Unlike a lot of top CB prospects, Wade is a very strong tackler who plays like a strong safety in the box. He’s not your typical top CB prospect, but Wade could be a high-end player in the right defense.

What are your thoughts on the Falcons targeting a CB early in the 2021 NFL Draft? Are you interested in any of these prospects, or do you have another player in mind for Atlanta?