2015 Stats: 26 tackles, 4 sacks and 2 forced fumbles
Beasley was the Falcons first round draft pick, and I gave the pick at the time an A+++. It was obvious the Falcons needed to address the pass rush situation, and there was no doubt in my mind that Beasley was the best pick available. Beasley was quiet for most of his rookie season even though he saw a ton of playing time in his rookie campaign. He also announced late in the season that he had played the majority of the season with a torn labrum that had undoubtedly slowed him down. If I was grading this a few weeks ago it probably would not be as high, but Beasley had a coming out party of sorts against the Panthers. He was all over Cam Newton all afternoon and even came up with the game sealing sack,fumble play to end the Panthers undefeated season. Beasley followed it up with another solid performance against the Saints in the final game of the season and showed why he was deserving of that first round pick. Beasley is going to be a terrific player in the NFL going forward. He has a unique combination of size and speed. Beasley will be a double-digit sack guy for the Falcons in the future and that is exactly what the Falcons needed in last year’s draft. They nailed this pick.
2015 Stats: 17 tackles, 0 passes defended
While Vic Beasley was the obvious pick for the Falcons in the first round, Jalen Collins was not the obvious pick in the second round. On paper, Collins has all the physical tools to play in the NFL. He is a 6 foot 1 corner with good speed and is very physical. However, he struggled to stay on the field at LSU and had several question marks surrounding him. But Atlanta took the risk on Collins in hopes he could bring the same sort of physicality at the corner positions that Quinn had in Seattle. Collins actually played a good amount of snaps in his rookie season, which surprised me a bit because I though he was more of a project coming in. His time on the field, however, was not very productive. He rated on PFF as one of the worst corners in football and struggled mightily against both the pass and the run. Collins still has time to improve and pan out in the NFL, but I was not a fan of the pick when it happened and I am certainly not a fan of it after year one.
2015 Stats: 87 carries, 392 yards and 1 touchdown
The Falcons took the explosive Tevin Coleman in the third round. Coleman was one of only two players to rush for other 2,000 yards in a single season in Big 10 history. He came into a terrific opportunity as well because running back was a huge question mark heading into the season. Coleman started the season as the starter but was hampered by nagging injuries. In his absence, Devonta Freeman took the job and ran with it. Coleman still saw a good amount of carries as a backup and showed great ability to run the football. He averaged 4.5 yards per carry, however, he did struggle a little bit holding onto the football. Coleman had numerous big fumbles, but if he can straighten that up, him and Freeman could be a terrific one-two punch.
2015 Stats: 21 receptions for 194 yards
Hardy did not get activated onto the Falcons roster until week 8 against the Tampa Bay Bucs thanks to a few injuries in front of him. He was an outstanding receiver for East Carolina in college, breaking the record for the most receptions in NCAA history. Players and coaches raved about his performances in practice, and he did not disappoint once he finally saw the field. Ryan and Hardy started developing more and more chemistry each week, and Ryan looked for him in several key situations on 3rd down. The Falcons found themselves a nice possession receiver for years to come in the fourth round. Hardy will play a big role for this receiving core going forward.
2015 Stats: 27 tackles and 1 sack
When the Falcons announced Grady Jarrett as their 5th round draft pick, I was ecstatic. The 6 foot tall, 300 pound defensive lineman stood out at Clemson, and was the steal of the draft in the 5th round. He saw over 250 snaps in his rookie campaign, which is a hell of a lot for a 5th round pick, and he was great. He graded out on ProFootballFocus as the Falcons second best interior lineman, finishing just behind veteran Jonathan Babibneaux. Jarrett will play an even bigger role for Atlanta next year, and could be a pro-bowl defensive lineman in the future.