The Falcons must crush the 2022 NFL Draft, just like they had to nail the 2021 Draft if they want to compete anytime soon. We’ve seen the draft strategy under this new regime, targeting high-character and older players who fit the scheme they want to run. However, this isn’t a ranking for the Falcons, this is my ranking for the entire NFL. About halfway through the college football season, I figured I’d take a stab at ranking some of these players that I have my eye on early in the process. I’ll probably do one of these after the season, then after the combine, Senior Bowl, and my film study ends.
If you want to see my big board for the offense, you can find that here:
Interior Defensive Line
IDL1 Jordan Davis, Georgia
IDL2 DeMarvin Leal, Texas A&M
IDL3 Perrion Winfrey, Oklahoma
Right now, there isn’t a lot of depth with this group, but there are two bona fide studs at the top. I have Jordan Davis over Leal, which isn’t a popular opinion at this time, but I think it’s mostly due to position. Leal is more of a 5-technique, while Davis has a little more flexibility with the 1-technique and 3-technique due to his size and athleticism. If an NFL team can get Davis playing the 4-tech and 5-tech… watch out. They’re 1A and 1B at this point. Winfrey is somewhere in the middle, but there’s a pretty significant drop after the top two for now.
EDGE1 Kayvon Thibodeaux, Oregon
EDGE2 George Karlaftis, Purdue
EDGE3 Aidan Hutchison, Michigan
EDGE4 Drake Jackson, USC
EDGE5 Adam Anderson, Georgia
EDGE6 Nolan Smith, Georgia
EDGE7 Myjai Sanders, Cincinnati
EDGE8 Kingsley Enagbare, South Carolina
EDGE9 Zach Harrison, Ohio State
EDGE10 Jermaine Johnson, Florida State
EDGE11 Brenton Cox, Florida
This is a very deep and talented group, which is good news for the Falcons. I wouldn’t even mind seeing them double or even triple down on EDGE defenders, and you can argue that 8 of these 10 guys are first round talents. Watch out for Kingsley Enagbare; he could shoot up these rankings quickly. I think Nolan Smith and Adam Anderson will do the same.
LB1 Nakobe Dean, Georgia
LB2 Brandon Smith, Penn State
LB3 Christian Harris, Alabama
LB4 Devin Lloyd, Utah
LB5 Mike Jones Jr., LSU
Nakobe Dean has shown that he’s an absolute game-wrecker as a blitzer and in the run game, so he has created a little seperation in a group that’s deep but not very top heavy. All of the other four guys have potential to start from day one, which the Falcons may need if they lose Foyseade Oluokun in free agency.
CB1 Derek Stingley Jr., LSU
CB2 Sauce Gardner, Cincinnati
CB3 Kaiir Elam, Florida
CB4 Andrew Booth Jr., Clemson
CB5 Trent McDuffie, Washington
CB6 Derion Kendrick, Georgia
This is a VERY deep cornerback class with loads of talent at the top. The top five of these guys are top fifteen talents as it stands. With Stingley out indefinitely, I could see any of the 2-4 guys challenging him for the top spot. I’m pretty high on Ahmad Gardner, Kaiir Elam, and Booth — the Falcons could easily find AJ Terrell‘s running mate in this draft.
S1 Kyle Hamilton, Notre Dame
S2 Jordan Battle, Alabama
S3 Jaquan Brisker, Penn State
S4 Daxton Hill, Michigan
S5 Brandon Joseph, Northwestern
S6 Tykee Smith, Georgia
I’ll get a bit deeper into this class as the process goes on because there’s a lot of big question marks down the board, which is typical with safeties. Bubba Bolden, Lewis Cine, Xavier Henderson, Smoke Monday, and Jalen Cantalon will likely enter these rankings somewhere, eventually. Right now, Kyle Hamilton is the easy wire-to-wire S1. He is an elite playmaker in multiple facets of the game, and he has Derwin James potential. The rest of these guys are likely to be high priority second round targets, and I’m curious to see if the Falcons get some more safety help next to Richie Grant. If any of these guys are available, they’re solid options.