The 2021 season is coming to an end this weekend, and positional reviews are in full force. The 2021 NFL Draft delivered a lot of rookies who made an impact in their first year, especially at the top of the draft.
With the year nearing an end, ESPN has took an interesting look—with the advantage of hindsight—at what a re-draft might look like if it occurred today. For the Falcons, ESPN reporter and friend of The Falcoholic Michael Rothstein made the selections for what the Falcons would do in rounds one and two and adds context as to why. Let’s take a look at how the re-draft went for the Falcons.
Round 1, 4 — LB Micah Parsons
Actual pick: TE Kyle Pitts
This has absolutely nothing to do with Pitts, who had a transcendent rookie season and is going to be a star. He was a big reason why Atlanta’s offense had any sort of production. But the Falcons entered and exited the season with the same problem — how to rush the passer. Parsons had 13 sacks, 30 quarterback hits and 3 forced fumbles, creating complete havoc. Among Parsons, Pitts, Ja’Marr Chase and offensive tackles Rashawn Slater and Penei Sewell, the Falcons couldn’t go wrong here in hindsight.
Regardless of whether you agree or disagree with the selection, the Falcons were getting an instant contributor with the fourth pick. Kyle Pitts had a tremendous season for a rookie tight end, one of the best ever. In 17 games, Pitts recorded 68 catches, 1026 yards and a touchdown. He was also selected to the Pro Bowl, where he scored. The re-draft has Pitts going to the Carolina Panthers at pick No. 8.
I can’t argue though with the Micah Parsons pick here either. The Falcons have been searching for a reliable pass rusher since John Abraham left the team in 2013. We’ll see in the next few years as Parsons continues to grow as a player, as he seems to be on a path to becoming one of the leagues top pass rushers and most exciting young defenders following a season that saw him awarded AP NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year.
Round 2, 35 — OT Sam Cosmi
Actual pick: Traded down with Denver (S Richie Grant - Pick 40)
Again, while the Falcons need help lots of places, protecting Matt Ryan remains paramount. This move would allow Atlanta flexibility in either trying Kaleb McGary inside or offering other long-term options to an offensive line that routinely struggled to protect Ryan.
As noted above, the Falcons didn’t make a selection at pick No. 35 as they moved down with the Denver Broncos and took safety Richie Grant at No. 40, while Denver took running back Javonte Williams. Although it’s too soon to rule out Grant, there’s definitely some better options available at this pick that would make a re-draft interesting. In the re-draft, Grant was not selected in the first two rounds.
Sam Cosmi is who Rothstein has the Falcons taking in this scenario, and it’s a sensible selection. The Falcons have been struggling to keep Matt Ryan upright, and taking Cosmi here at least tries to address that. Cosmi, who in real life plays for the Washington Commanders, was Pro Football Focus’ third best offensive tackle for the 2021 season.
If you’d like to see ESPN’s entire two-round re-draft, click here. Do you like the re-draft or the team’s actual first two picks in 2021?