For some, the Falcons addressed their clear top need with the No. 8 pick in this year’s NFL Draft by selecting former USC wide receiver Drake London. It’s a pick that makes a lot of sense for a team that has undergone massive turnover at the receiver position the last two offseasons, and London brings a lot to the table.
“We love the way the young man is wired,” Falcons general manager Terry Fontenot said of London after Day 1 of the draft. “He’s a tough, smart, competitive football player. The way he works, the way he competes, we are very excited to bring him. He fits our ethos. He fits the culture. Everything that we want to be as a football team here, he fits it. He checks all those boxes. And as a player, he’s big, he’s athletic, the versatility, things he can do on the field, the catch radius. We are very excited to make him a Falcon.”
While London’s versatility, natural athleticism and fearlessness should make him a fun player to watch in Atlanta, we’re here to talk about what the Falcons could do with the remainder of their picks on Day 2. Here are the team’s top remaining needs entering Friday:
For many, this was the team’s most pressing need entering the draft. And while the Falcons passed over some oft-discussed prospects at No. 8, Fontenot and Smith remained adamant that London was the top player on their board at the time of the pick. However, the Falcons finished with just 18 sacks last season and it would be a surprise to not see them add to their pass rush in the draft. There are some interesting prospects still available like Arnold Ebiketie, David Ojabo and Boye Mafe who the Falcons could take a swing on with one of their two second-round picks.
Interior defensive line
This could be lumped into the first need on this list, but I’m specifically separating for a specific reason. Atlanta showed variable fronts last season and would like to be versatile in its approach. The additions of Lorenzo Carter and Rashaan Evans will give the Falcons a little juice off of the edge, but the team could use one more asset in tighter fronts. Atlanta needs help against both the run and the pass, so it depends on how they choose to prioritize those skills with this position - if they choose to address it at all. If they do, Travis Jones, Logan Hall and Perrion Winfrey could be names to watch.
Given the talent of some of the top offensive tackles in this class, there was a real pre-draft conversation about whether or not the Falcons should take one at No. 8. With Kaleb McGary and Jake Matthews in place, that wasn’t necessarily a top need, but that’s also an example of how a best-player-available mindset is supposed to work - take good players regardless of current roster makeup. That didn’t happen, though, and it seems more likely Atlanta will turn its sights to the interior of the line than tackle on Day 2. Cole Strange coming off the board late in the first round removes a possible target for Atlanta, but there are still some good options left, including Luke Goedeke, Jamaree Salyer and Dylan Parham.