clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

The Falcoholic Staff’s favorite Day 2 NFL Draft picks

Let’s set the #4 pick aside for the moment, here’s what the Falcons should do on Day 2.

Virginia Tech v North Carolina
Javonte Williams
Photo by Andy Mead/ISI Photos/Getty Images

General managers are publicly evaluated by their first-round success rate, but championship teams are built on Day 2 of the NFL Draft. I know it hurts, but just think back to how integral Deion Jones and Austin Hooper were to the Falcons in 2016 and beyond.

The teams that successfully handle their second- and third-round picks can sometimes add first-round upside and truly maximize the financial benefits of drafting. But nobody ever talks about Day 2 or Day 3 of the draft. It’s all about the first 32 picks, and then hundreds of media outlets furiously churn out a “NFL Draft: Here are the best Day 2 prospects available” articles at 1:45 a.m. ET.

Well, here at The Falcoholic, we champion the overlooked. Let everyone else debate quarterbacks and future Hall of Fame tight ends. Right here, it’s all about our favorite Day 2 options. Stay tuned for a closer look at our favorite players on Day 3, too!

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: DEC 28 Cotton Bowl Classic - Memphis v Penn State
Kenneth Gainwell
Photo by Andrew Dieb/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

RB Kenneth Gainwell - Memphis

TE Pat Freiermuth - Penn State

DT Christian Barmore - Alabama

I like Gainwell both because his name is perfect for a running back and because his varied skill set gives him a path to playing time immediately in Atlanta. He’s good enough to be the lead option in Arthur Smith’s backfield over the long haul, but in year one his pass catching ability and mix of speed and power should slot him into a complementary role with Mike Davis and Ito Smith.

Freiermuth is the tight end Arthur Smith will find himself pining for if the team doesn’t snag Kyle Pitts. A top-flight receiving option with the potential to be a mismatch in the NFL, he won’t be as good as Pitts—he’s not even close as a blocker—but he’ll be a deadly one-two punch with Hayden Hurst right away and should step right in as the top tight end in Atlanta for years to come with experience under his belt if the team drafts him.

And let’s face it, I love a defensive tackle prospect in every draft class, and Barmore is one of the best ones in 2021, with a decent shot at making this part of my writeup moot by pushing his way into the end of the first round. He’s already a tough-to-handle, quick player who can afford to get a little bigger and stronger without sacrificing the agility that makes him dangerous. Grady Jarrett, Marlon Davidson, and Barmore could be a massive problem for opposing offensive lines. - Dave Choate

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: JAN 08 CFP National Championship
Ben Cleveland
Photo by Robin Alam/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

RB Javonte Williams - North Carolina

CB Asante Samuel, Jr. - Florida State

G Ben Cleveland - Georgia

Williams could very well be at the top of the second round for the Falcons later this month, and I just cannot resist the idea of adding a powerful, just-getting-started type like Williams who Arthur Smith could use as his Derrick Henry-esque bellcow one day. While Mike Davis can help ease the load for Williams now, he could be a feature back in Atlanta for years to come.

Samuel has the bloodlines you love to see, and after the skyrocket success of Bucs safety Antoine Winfield, Jr., teams might be paying extra close attention to what Samuel could do if picked. His dad, of course, is a former Falcon, and pairing a potential-laden talent like Samuel next to A.J. Terrell could be a big boost to the Atlanta secondary.

The Titans hit in the third round of the draft with Nate Davis in 2019, and I wonder if the Falcons could afford to sit still until the third round of the draft to grab a guy like Georgia’s very strong Ben Cleveland and see if he can compete for that left guard spot. His bench press reps are comical, and he seems like the kind of guard who could do nice things in this scheme. - Cory Woodroof

Florida State v Notre Dame
Asante Samuel Jr.
Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images

FS Richie Grant - UCF

CB Asante Samuel Jr. - Florida State

Edge Joseph Ossai - Texas

As you can obviously tell, there is a central theme here that I envision for the Falcons in the second round. There is a considerable likelihood that the first selection for the Falcons will be on the offensive side of the ball. So the beginning of day two can be devoted to improving the talent level on a unit that can use some sprucing at each level. I have put together a report on Grant where I highlight his playmaking ability and how he is, in my opinion, the best instinctual safety in the entire draft.

Samuel is an interesting study. While the Falcons can wait a bit to add more talent to their cornerback room, the value in the early rounds at the position may leave Atlanta wide-eyed and sticky fingered. Samuel is an excellent cover corner that despite his size, has shown plenty of versatility in various coverages while at Florida State. Plus, Samuel has a bit of junkyard dog in him that I believe can rub off on the other defenders.

With Ossai, his name does not get mentioned much, but his game deserves it’s fair share of flowers. Ossai is a compact edge rusher with uncommon length and a get-off that would even make Dan Quinn blush a little. A massive need for the Falcons is upgrading the edge rusher position and this is a really good class to need some help in that department. - Eric Robinson

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: NOV 17 Syracuse v Notre Dame
Andre Cisco
Photo by Rich Graessle/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

C/G Creed Humphrey - Oklahoma

RB Kenneth Gainwell - Memphis

S Andre Cisco - Syracuse

I strongly believe the Falcons will be leaving Day 2 with an interior offensive lineman, and I’d lean towards that position being the pick at 35 barring a surprising drop for another highly-rated prospect. Oklahoma’s Creed Humphrey is my favorite of the bunch as my highest-rated center, and he’s also got plenty of size and length to play guard. He tested out as an elite athlete (the best ever at center, per RAS) and plays a nasty, physical brand of football. Humphrey can thrive in any scheme without limitation and gives the Falcons flexibility on the interior. With the team sniffing around David Andrews in free agency before he re-signed with the Patriots, this fit makes even more sense.

The signing of Mike Davis, to me, points to the Falcons targeting running back later on Day 2 or perhaps even early on Day 3. We know the team has interest in Memphis’ Kenneth Gainwell, an explosive, dynamic runner with exceptional receiving talent and the ability to line up and run routes from the slot. He’s an ideal complement to the physical, workhorse style of Davis and will have plenty of time to learn the finer points of the position behind the veteran. One of Gainwell’s biggest concerns was his size, but he bulked up from a playing weight of 185 to 202 for his Pro Day.

Finally, Atlanta absolutely must come out of the 2021 NFL Draft with a new starter at free safety. This is an extremely deep safety class, with potential starters available into the early portion of Day 3. But they’d be wise not to wait that long and select one of the high-upside options, like Syracuse’s Andre Cisco. Cisco is the best ballhawk in college football, with an incredible 13 INTs and 14 PDs over 25 games. He’s got issues that must be corrected: he’s over-aggressive, freelances too often while hunting for turnovers, and is an unreliable tackler. However, Cisco has arguably the highest upside of any safety in this class. It’s a gamble, but in the third round, worth it for the Falcons. - Kevin Knight

Virginia Tech v North Carolina
Michael Carter
Photo by Andy Mead/ISI Photos/Getty Images

OL Samuel Cosmi - Texas

RB Michael Carter - North Carolina

DB Tyson Campbell - Georgia

Let me tell you something – Samuel Cosmi wakes up every morning and chooses violence. I first noticed Cosmi last offseason while I was doing draft prep on K’Lavon Chaisson. Although focused on Chaisson, I couldn’t help but be impressed by the Texas left tackle who continuously beat him. Cosmi is an incredibly balanced player and a tremendous athlete. He would immediately contend for the final starting spot and at the least be Atlanta’s top backup at multiple positions. Well suited for an outside-zone scheme, Cosmi has a lot of upside and a high floor.

I remain skeptical that Atlanta will add another running back in this draft, unless it’s on Day 3, but Carter checks a lot of boxes for me and could be in line with the best player available approach. He can contribute in the return game, was a trusted blocker for North Carolina and would be a perfect complement to Mike Davis. While nowhere near as small as Tarik Cohen, Carter could be lumped in with that type of player. The Falcons offense hasn’t had someone like that since perhaps Taylor Gabriel or, deeper cut, Jacquizz Rodgers. - William McFadden