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Hello, Falcoholics, and welcome to this week’s Reacts survey! We’ve got two Falcons questions for you this week. First and foremost, now that the NFL schedule has been released for 2023, what do you think the Falcons’ win total will be?
And second, a few weeks back reader Pacomc79 suggested we re-grade the Falcons’ 2020 NFL Draft class. After three seasons of watching these players and their fit with Atlanta, let us know what grade you’d like to give this class overall.
As a reminder, here are the Falcons’ picks from the 2020 draft and where they were selected:
No. 16: A.J. Terrell, CB, Clemson
No. 47: Marlon Davidson, DL, Auburn
No. 78: Matt Hennessy, C, Temple
No. 119: Mykal Walker, LB, Fresno State
No. 134: Jaylinn Hawkins, S, Cal
No. 228: Sterling Hofrichter, P, Syracuse
And here’s a roundup of how this class was graded at the time:
Atlanta’s biggest need entering this draft was pass rusher—preferably an edge guy to align opposite free agent pickup Dante Fowler, which would enable Takk McKinley to slide inside. But this draft is light on ready-made first-round caliber pass rushers, and so Quinn and GM Thomas Dimitroff took the fuller value player. But they managed to find a defensive end they liked in the next round.
In some ways, Marlon Davidson—who played in Derrick Brown’s shadow at Auburn and was somewhat underappreciated—gives the Falcons another, more innately versatile version of Takk McKinley. He is a defensive end who has the tools to work off the edge or slide inside and play defensive tackle. That’s for 2020. For 2021 and beyond, Davidson potentially fills the role that the 2017 first-rounder McKinley, whose fifth-year option has not been picked up, has yet to fully maximize. After quietly going 6-2 in the second half of this season, this talented team is in “win now” mode. It needed more defensive line depth. A versatile player like Davidson can potentially solve multiple problems. - Andy Benoit
Thomas Dimtiroff didn’t waste time addressing the big cornerback need with Terrell, and Davidson was a good versatile pass rusher for their defensive front. Hennessy was a good option to upgrade left guard this year or replace Alex Mack at center next year. - Vinnie Iyer
USA Today: C-
CB A.J. Terrell (Round 1), DL Marlon Davidson (Round 2) and C Matt Hennessy (Round 3) are solid. None feel like the missing piece for a team that’s underachieved lately, and the final product can’t help but feel flat in the wake of pre-draft buzz that GM Thomas Dimitroff had a bold, Julio Jones-level trade in the works. Never happened. - Nate Davis
Day 1: A.J. Terrell is one of few cornerbacks in this class with high-end movement skills, and it’s likely the primary reason Atlanta took him off the board at No. 16. He needs to get better at the catch point and develop better ball skills, but his match-and-mirror ability is evident on tape. LSU’s Ja’Marr Chase bullied Terrell at the catch point in their matchup in 2019, but the former Clemson cornerback still put a ton of positive reps on tape and stayed in phase for the most part in that game. Terrell ranked fifth among cornerbacks and 29th among all players on PFF’s board.
Day 2: Davidson falls closer to the tweener side of the spectrum or defensive lineman than the versatile side. His flexibility is impressive for a bigger dude, but he doesn’t have the burst to threaten NFL tackles. Bulking up and kicking inside looks like his best bet. He is largely a projection considering he didn’t play a ton of reps along the interior at Auburn, but he has all the tools to offer high-end production at the position in the NFL.
Hennessy can play on the move. That’s a coveted skill at the center position today. But we worry about his high-cut, slight build holding up at center against power. He ranked fourth among centers and 103rd among all players on PFF’s big board.
Day 3: Neither of the Falcons’ fourth-round selections was among PFF’s top 250 players in the class, both appearing as reaches in our eyes. They rounded out the day by selecting a punter in the seventh round. - PFF staff
The pick that stunned me the most on Day 1 was Atlanta taking cornerback A.J. Terrell at No. 16. It’s one of the biggest reaches of the past few years. Think of it this way: At No. 16, many teams can get a top-10 player on their own board. The Cowboys did that at No. 17 with CeeDee Lamb. Instead, Atlanta forced a pick for a position of need. Sorry, Falcons, but you’re not a cornerback away from the Super Bowl. - Mel Kiper
The Falcons now must face Tom Brady, Teddy Bridgewater and Drew Brees in divisional play, so they focused on their pass defense. Taking CB A.J. Terrell was a sound move at No. 16, and second-rounder Marlon Davidson should bolster the pass rush whether he lines up at end or tackle. - Mark Maske
Now it’s your turn! Predict the Falcons’ 2023 win total and give us your overall grade for the 2020 NFL Draft class. Let us know in the comments what your thought process was behind your responses. Check back later this week for results!