The Falcons figured to head into this draft prioritizing offensive line help, given that their left guard situation was going to come down to some combination of Matt Gono, Josh Andrews, Willie Wright, and Willie Beavers. New third round selection Jalen Mayfield is likely to push for the job in 2021.
Mayfield played a lot of tackle in college, has size and athleticism in spades, and comes to the NFL figuring to plug in as a starting guard or get real consideration at swing tackle, depending on what Atlanta thinks of their incumbent competitors. Either way, he’s going to play a major role on this offensive line this season. and left guard is the most logical spot with Matt Hennessy likely slotting in at center. It’s worth remembering that Hennessy did not start last year despite being a third round pick, so there’s a chance he tops out as a useful, versatile reserve for 2021.
On our Falcoholic Live show, Eric Robinson and Locked On Falcons host Aaron Freeman both noted that he was solid but unspectacular in the games they watched. Our Kevin Knight mocked him to the Falcons in the second round at one point, and draft guru Dane Brugler had him as the #53 player in the draft. If Atlanta believes he’s the best fit for their offensive line needs at this juncture—and obviously they do, because they just took him—it’s likely because they’re intrigued by his athleticism and movement skills, regardless of whether they view him as a guard, a tackle, or potentially both.
Atlanta definitely believes they’re getting a long-term starter, either way, and with time Mayfield could be a really good player. The theme of this draft so far has been considerable upside, and if Pitts, Grant, and Mayfield all work out, this will be a much better team for it.
Round 1, Pick 4: TE Kyle Pitts, Florida
Round 2, Pick 35: S Richie Grant, UCF
Round 3, Pick 68: OL Jalen Mayfield, Michigan
Round 4, Pick 108
Round 4, Pick 114
Round 5, Pick 148
Round 5, Pick 182
Round 5, Pick 183
Round 6, Pick 187