Round 4: Justin Hardy
Justin Hardy was picked for a couple of reasons. The first reason is that Atlanta is looking for Harry Douglas’ replacement. The other reason is to hopefully find a receiver to take over when Roddy White retires. Roddy White and Devin Hester are not getting any younger, so Atlanta has to prepare for the future. Hardy will compete to play as the slot receiver in his first year, and hopefully become a reliable receiver for Atlanta. Hardy’s strengths include his smooth hands and hips, his ability to get open for his quarterback, and is a very talented blocker at receiver. Hardy racked up 387 receptions, the most in FBS history. He has always played with fire because people have said his 5’10” frame is too small to become successful. Don’t be surprised to see Hardy fight for a starting position, and start midseason for the Falcons.
Round 5: Grady Jarrett
When a team picks a player in the 5th round with a 2nd round draft stock, that is defined as a win. Grady Jarrett, son of Falcon legend Jesse Tuggle, is 6’1” and weighs 304 pounds. Jarrett is short for a defensive tackle, but that does not stop him from being a great football player. He is very explosive, quick, and can shoot the gap in an instance. On Friday night, Jarrett’s house was destroyed in a fire and the next day, he is drafted to his favorite NFL team. Jarrett has a high motor and does not tend to take any plays off. I believe Jarrett is a replacement for the loss of Corey Peters and the aging Jonathan Babineaux. With Grady Jarrett’s skillset, I could see him as a three down football player for the Falcons for years to come. The Falcons traded their 5th and 6th round picks to nab Jarrett, and I applaud the front office on this selection.
In the 7th round, the Falcons selected Jake Rodgers, offensive guard, out of Eastern Michigan. They also selected Akeem King, safety, out of San Jose State. Both of these guys are projects and will fight for roster spots. I am not going to grade these guys because 7th round picks usually do not pan out or are too hard to grade. I wish the best of luck to these two to try and make the roster.