Atlanta Falcons 2021 NFL Draft Recapby Charlie Parent May 6, 2021 0 comments
The Atlanta Falcons came into the 2021 NFL Draft with some major holes to fill, especially on the defensive side of the ball. They ended up making nine selections in the draft and boy were there some good ones.
It all started at pick four with the selection of Florida’s Kyle Pitts. Atlanta now gets to utilize Pitts’ mismatch ability for years to come and has set up a deadly receiver core. Quarterback Matt Ryan will be throwing to Pitts, Julio Jones, and Calvin Ridley next season.
After the selection of Pitts, the Falcons started to address more needs. The selection of Richie Grant and Darren Hall in the first four rounds should help the secondary nicely, and Atlanta will be able to develop these two young guys for at least four years. The Falcons also made some moves in this draft. Trading back in the second round with Denver for some more picks was the most notable move.
Make sure to check out all of our 2021 NFL Draft Team Recaps.
Best Pick: Richie Grant (Round 2, Pick 40)
It is hard not to choose Pitts here but with the overall need for safeties, Grant was a phenomenal pick. With the current starters being Jaylinn Hawkins and Erik Harris, Grant will easily slide into one of their roles and should take over the job from day one. The Falcons continue to get younger in the secondary with this pick and will hope to continue to develop guys such as Grant and former first-round pick A.J. Terrell. Overall, getting a top safety prospect at the biggest position of need in the second round is just incredible value. This pick will go a long way towards this rebuild.
For more on Grant, check out our scouting report here.
Worst Pick: Ta’quon Graham (Round 5, Pick 148)
This one was a pretty hard decision and unfortunately, Graham draws the short end of the stick. It’s not really a bad pick by any means but it is worse than all the other ones. Graham will be able to provide some depth behind Grady Jarrett and potentially even be the future after Jarret, but that is doubtful. For all the talent Atlanta acquired in this draft, Graham just doesn’t have as much value to the team from day one as some others do. It’s hard to say what else the Falcons should have done here, but maybe just ‘best player available’ instead of addressing one of their stronger positions’ future.
Sleeper Pick: Frank Darby (Round 6, Pick 187)
Even with a loaded receiving core, Darby could make a name for himself early. He was a senior bowl standout and would have been an absolute steal for any team in the sixth round. It just so happens that Darby now gets to learn from some of the best receivers in the game to further develop his career early on. There was really no need-based strategy with this pick, but with Jones’ future with Atlanta up in the air right now, you never know when Darby could be thrust into an early role. It should be fun to see Darby play for Atlanta once he starts getting meaningful reps down the road.
For more on Darby, check out our scouting report here.
The Atlanta front office was staring down one of the most important drafts of their franchise’s history and they nailed it. They addressed needs and got some serious talent all over the place. We did not even mention the improvement they made on their offensive line with the selections of Jalen Mayfield and Drew Dalman. Pitts will be a threat in the NFL for as long as he can stay healthy and Grant will be a phenomenal piece to that young defense. Even their later-round guys like Avery Williams out of Boise State will offer some production early. Williams will be a big-time special teams guy who has worked in the return game quite a bit. Overall, this was an outstanding draft for Atlanta and they will look to keep building on this offseason’s success.
Overall Grade: A