Looking back at the 2019 Draft class for the Falcons, it’s easy to determine what the initial focus was going in: Protecting Matt Ryan. The Falcons also managed to fill key depth positions of need in the 2019 draft.
However, the question truly is how these players are to be featured and do they truly fit into future plans for the Falcons, given that we’re past that unfortunate 2019 season. Let’s take a look at each draft pick and how the Falcons coaching staff will feature them in the year ahead.
Round 1 Pick 14 – G Chris Lindstrom
This pick was a surprise to most, including me, especially considering the money they tied into Jamon Brown and James Carpenter. Most considered it to be a boring and unnecessary pick. However, Lindstrom will be featured as the unquestioned starter at right guard going forward.
He missed most of the season with a broken foot, but you could really tell when he was in action. His athleticism, toughness and intelligence are quite easy to see on film. He had his issues starting out as a rookie, but there aren’t many rookies in this game that come out the gates firing on all cylinders, and coming into his second year, Lindstrom has a chance to be special.
Round 1 Pick 31 – OT Kaleb McGary
Here’s another pick that was questioned. The Falcons traded away their 2nd and 3rd round picks to move up for McGary. McGary is certainly an asset as a run blocker, but has some footwork and technique issues in pass protection.
However, he is the unquestioned starter at the right tackle position. Dimitroff really made it a point to attempt to shore up the offensive line, and picked up two young starters on the right side of it. McGary has more work to do to than Lindstrom, but still has a lot of potential.
Round 4 Pick 111 – CB Kendall Sheffield
One of my favorite picks of this draft, there’s no denying Sheffield’s speed and ability to run hip to hip with some of the fastest wideouts in the game. Initially viewed as a backup, Sheffield saw significant time on the field due to the injury to Desmond Trufant.
Sheffield could actually be featured as a starter at corner, or at least a nickel CB, depending on how the Falcons approach the 2020 draft. He’s likely to be a big piece of the puzzle no matter what.
Round 4 Pick 135 – DE/DT John Cominksy
Cominsky is a big, athletic and raw prospect who actually saw increased opportunities as the season progressed. I’m very interested to see how Cominsky has progressed from year one to year two as he has a high ceiling. Given that the Falcons didn’t re-sign Crawford this offseason, Cominsky is likely to be featured in the base defensive end/nickel defensive tackle rotation on the defensive line.
Round 5 Pick 152 – RB Qadree Ollison
A big, powerful back with good balance, Ollison saw the field as a short yardage option who scored 4 TDs in his rookie season. He will likely be featured in the same role in 2020 and get some run as a special teams player, as the acquisition of Todd Gurley this offseason will likely lessen his short yardage opportunities. He could be on the outside looking in if the Falcons add any more backs.
Round 5 Pick 172 – CB Jordan Miller
Miller has good length, above average speed and the ability to press receivers at the line of scrimmage with a good timed punch. However, his thin frame and lack of strength is what made him a Day 3 pick.
Given that he starts the season on a 4 game suspension, he will be featured as a backup as well as a special teams player in 2020. Miller increasing his play strength and adding a little weight to his frame will ultimately determine if his role increases on the defense in 2020 and beyond.
Round 6 Pick 203 – WR Marcus Green
Green was initially drafted to take over KR/PR duties, but an inability to secure the football in some of his opportunities in last year’s preseason games resulted in him getting cut and replaced by Kenjon Barner. Needless to say, he won’t be part of the team’s plans in 2020.