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Falcons are projected to pick 9th overall in the 2021 NFL Draft after Week 11

After a thorough shellacking at the hands of the Saints, the 3-7 Falcons managed to slightly improve their draft standing. Atlanta is now projected to hold the 9th overall pick in the 2021 NFL Draft after Week 11.

Atlanta Falcons v New Orleans Saints Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images

After raising hopes with an inspiring 3-1 run under interim head coach Raheem Morris, the Falcons plummeted back down to earth against the Saints on Sunday. The offense was a disaster, and the defense reverted to some of its worst habits against a New Orleans offense helmed by backup QB Taysom Hill. It was a thoroughly ugly game made worse by a truly inept coaching performance.

The good news is that the loss helped the Falcons maintain a quality pick in the 2021 NFL Draft, and that’s about the only shred of positivity we have. Atlanta is now projected to pick 9th after falling to 3-7, a slight move up from their previous position. That’s a pretty solid place to be heading into Week 11, but could change pretty significantly over the remainder of the season.

Below you’ll find the projected top-15 of the 2021 NFL Draft. Remember that draft order is determined by overall record, with ties broken by Strength of Schedule (SOS). The team with the lower SOS receives the better pick. SOS ties are broken by a coin flip before the draft, though we won’t need to worry about those until the end of the season.

Projected 2021 NFL Draft Order (Week 11)

Team (Record) [Strength of Schedule] | Projections from Tankathon

  1. New York Jets (0-1) [.585]
  2. Jacksonville Jaguars (1-9) [.553]
  3. Cincinnati Bengals (2-7-1) [.534]
  4. Dallas Cowboys (3-7) [.469]
  5. Washington Football Team (3-7) [.472]
  6. Los Angeles Chargers (3-7) [.500]
  7. New York Giants (3-7) [.500]
  8. Miami Dolphins (from HOU) (3-7) [.553]
  9. Atlanta Falcons (3-7) [.556]
  10. Carolina Panthers (4-7) [.544]
  11. Detroit Lions (4-6) [.503]
  12. New England Patriots (4-6) [.503]
  13. Minnesota Vikings (4-6) [.509]
  14. San Francisco 49ers (4-6) [.522]
  15. Denver Broncos (4-6) [.571]

The Falcons jumped up one spot from the previous week, where they had been at 10th overall. As you can see, there is quite a logjam of teams at both 3-7 and 4-6. Any wins or losses can drastically affect your draft stock at this point in the year, particularly when you have a Strength of Schedule (SOS) as high as Atlanta’s.

At .556—and only likely to increase over the course of the year—the Falcons currently hold the 3rd highest SOS in the NFL. That means they’ll lose ties to virtually every NFL team when it comes to draft seeding, although it’s important to note that the only two teams with stronger SOS are close to them in the draft order (NYJ are at 1 with a .585, DEN are at 15 with a .571).

Potential draft prospects

6. EDGE Gregory Rousseau (Miami)
7. CB Patrick Surtain II (Alabama)
8. CB Caleb Farley (Virginia Tech)
12. EDGE Kwity Paye (Michigan)
13. QB Zach Wilson (BYU)
14. QB Trey Lance (NDSU)
16. CB Jaycee Horn (South Carolina)
17. RB Travis Etienne (Clemson)
18. LB Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah (Notre Dame)
19. EDGE Joseph Ossai (Texas)

The 9th overall pick is a pretty good spot to be if you’re the Falcons. It puts the team in ideal position for either a top EDGE or CB, or for one of the top QBs. Atlanta currently occupies a pretty important spot in the draft, and they could be a prime trade target for QB-needy teams in the early teens. New England, San Francisco, Denver, and Chicago could all be looking to jump up for their preferred pick of either Zach Wilson or Trey Lance.

If the Falcons don’t have a favorable trade offer, they could elect to take one of those QBs themselves or opt for a top defensive player. Pairing an ascending A.J. Terrell with a top CB prospect in Patrick Surtain II or Caleb Farley could seriously reshape Atlanta’s defense. Top EDGE players like Miami’s Gregory Rousseau or Michigan’s Kwity Paye could also be available to inject some life into one of the NFL’s worst pass rushes.