The new league year is finally upon us as we inch closer and closer to the 2021 NFL Draft. The Atlanta Falcons have been relatively quiet during free agency, with their eyes likely being on the upcoming draft to help shape their future. The organization currently holds the No. 4 overall pick and they are sure to have many options heading into the draft.
Recently, we’ve been looking at the recent history of specific positions that have been selected in round one. We’ve already looked at how quarterbacks, running backs, offensive tackles, tight ends and wide receivers. The only likely position not listed that they could also select in round one is at cornerback.
Below is every cornerback taken in the first round since 2013:
- Dee Milliner, New York Jets (9)
- D.J. Hayden, Oakland Raiders (12)
- Desmond Trufant, Atlanta Falcons (22)
- Xavier Rhodes, Minnesota Vikings (25)
- Justin Gilbert, Cleveland Browns (8)
- Kyle Fuller, Chicago Bears (14)
- Darqueze Dennard, Cincinnati Bengals (24)
- Jason Verrett, San Diego Chargers (25)
- Bradley Roby, Denver Broncos (31)
- Trae Waynes, Minnesota Vikings (11)
- Kevin Johnson, Houston Texans (16)
- Marcus Peters, Kansas City Chiefs (18)
- Byron Jones, Dallas Cowboys (27)
- Damarious Randall, Green Bay Packers (30)
- Jalen Ramsey, Jacksonville Jaguars (5)
- Eli Apple, New York Giants (10)
- Vernon Hargreaves, Tampa Bay Buccaneers (11)
- William Jackson III, Cincinnati Bengals (24)
- Artie Burns, Pittsburgh Steelers (25)
- Marshon Lattimore, New Orleans Saints (11)
- Marlon Humphrey, Baltimore Ravens (16)
- Adoree’ Jackson, Tennessee Titans (18)
- Gareon Conley, Oakland Raiders (24)
- Tre’Davious White, Buffalo Bills (27)
- Denzel Ward, Cleveland Browns (4)
- Jaire Alexander, Green Bay Packers (18)
- Mike Hughes, Minnesota Vikings (30)
- Deandre Baker, New York Giants (30)
- Jeff Okudah, Detroit Lions (3)
- CJ Henderson, Jacksonville Jaguars (9)
- A.J. Terrell, Atlanta Falcons (16)
- Damon Arnette, Las Vegas Raiders (19)
- Noah Igbinoghene, Miami Dolphins (30)
- Jeff Gladney, Minnesota Vikings (31)
We know the past, so now we look to the future. The Falcons have several options, including staying put and adding a potential franchise quarterback for life after Matt Ryan, or trading down and amassing extra picks. Realistically, the team isn’t drafting a cornerback unless they trade down into the 10-15 range. There’s a few names to keep an eye on that early, such as Patrick Surtain II and Caleb Farley. Both players have the potential to be the best cornerbacks on whatever team that draft them.
The Falcons find themselves with several needs currently. They need to add to their safety group, but there won’t be any that early in the draft worth selecting. At cornerback however, outside of A.J. Terrell who they selected in the first round in the 2020 NFL Draft, there’s not a ton of strength in the group. Behind Terrell are Isaiah Oliver and Kendall Sheffield, who have had their moments but haven’t consistently put things together. There is some depth already on the roster that could continue to grow, such as Delrick Abrams and Tyler Hall, but that’s about it. They have a pressing need to add more talent.
There’s still plenty of time to address the situation in free agency, and they probably will as the days go on. But in regards to the upcoming draft, with other needs on the offensive line and looking towards the future of the quarterback spot, it’s possible the Falcons may look to add to the position in later rounds and not go back-to-back drafts adding a first-round cornerback. If they do make corner the selection, expect it to happen after they move down.