The 2020 NFL Draft is in the books, and the Falcons are now to be judged. These grades could all look hilariously inaccurate in three years, either because we were far too positive positive (the average here is a B) or undersold this front office’s brilliance (less likely, but possible). Nonetheless, we forge on to see where the collective fanbase and where draft analysts stand on the class as of today.
The Falcoholic’s readers: B
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The Falcoholic readers on Twitter: B
What's your snap grade for this draft class?— The Falcoholic (@TheFalcoholic) April 25, 2020
Atlanta met needs at cornerback, defensive tackle and the interior offensive line in the first three rounds. The Falcons also required help at the second level of their defense, and Walker fits that bill, although he might not have been the best player available to fill that need. Same goes for the Hawkins pick. Finding a young edge rusher post-draft should be a high priority.
When the Falcons released cornerback Desmond Trufant, replacing him in the draft became a priority. That’s the direction they went in the first round by taking Clemson cornerback A.J. Terrell. He fits Atlanta’s press scheme, and he has good tools and size.
After taking two offensive linemen in the first round in 2019, the Falcons added Temple’s Matt Hennessy to the line in the third round. He could push for the left guard job, or take over eventually for center Alex Mack, who is in a contract year.
The puzzling thing about Atlanta’s draft is the lack of a pass rusher. Second-round pick Marlon Davidson can provide some of that from the inside, but the Falcons need another edge player to go with free agent signing Dante Fowler.
Thomas Dimtiroff didn’t waste time addressing the big cornerback need with Terrell, and Davidson was a good versatile pass rusher for their defensive front. Hennessy was a good option to upgrade left guard this year or replace Alex Mack at center next year.
It’s easy to spot panic. And when the Falcons couldn’t trade up for Jeff Okudah or CJ Henderson, they panicked into Terrell at No. 16. Hennessey could’ve gone 40 picks sooner, so good value.
CB A.J. Terrell (Round 1), DL Marlon Davidson (Round 2) and C Matt Hennessy (Round 3) are solid. None feel like the missing piece for a team that’s underachieved lately, and the final product can’t help but feel flat in the wake of pre-draft buzz that GM Thomas Dimitroff had a bold, Julio Jones-level trade in the works. Never happened.
The Falcons now must face Tom Brady, Teddy Bridgewater and Drew Brees in divisional play, so they focused on their pass defense. Taking CB A.J. Terrell was a sound move at No. 16, and second-rounder Marlon Davidson should bolster the pass rush whether he lines up at DE or DT.