The NFL Draft is mercifully almost here. It’s one thing to talk about what plans are for this Atlanta Falcons team and how they’ll return to contention, and another thing entirely to see those plans actually play out. I think many of us have accepted that the Falcons are unlikely to be great this year and quite likely to struggle to get close to a winning season, and even if they surprise, the team’s ceiling isn’t all that high.
That could change in a hurry, as many things do in the NFL, if this team is able to spend its 2023 cap space effectively and nail the past two draft classes. Opinions about the 2021 class are divided—I think there’s real promise there, Allen Strk and many others want to see more in 2022—but regardless of where you stand the need for an impactful class in 2022 is readily evident.
The Falcons have five selections in the first three rounds, after all. This is also a team with only 3-5 truly elite players—A.J. Terrell, Grady Jarrett and Younghoe Koo are the locks, with Kyle Pitts and Chris Lindstrom well on their respective ways—and very few truly settled positions. You can fix some of that in free agency, but that money will evaporate quickly, an the players you’ll add either will be inexpensive short-term solution or very expensive medium-term solutions. Getting your future stars and role players via the draft is a very big deal, given their relative affordability and the appealing prospect of having them under contract for at least four years.
With the importance of nailing this draft class in mind, let’s turn this into a discussion. What would nailing it even look like for Atlanta? Does it mean landing 3-5 impact starters who immediately make a difference, or is it about landing 5-6 long-term contributors? Does it mean getting the quarterback of the future or passing on it this offseason? You get the picture.
What would make this draft class a success in your book? Sound off in the comments.