Falcons 2024 draft class defined by reaches, per analytics

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The NFL Draft is so funny to me sometimes, particularly when people start throwing grades out hours after the seventh round is finished, and the Falcons aren’t receiving favorable reviews.

Atlanta made a head-scratching move, taking Michael Penix with the 8th overall pick, but the rest of their draft was defined by other reaches. Many were just as confused when Terry Fontenot traded a third-round pick to move up to a select Ruke Orhorhoro in the second.

A lot of well-respected draft pundits had third and fourth-round grades on the Clemson product, but according to Warren Sharp, who is the resident NFL nerd, the Falcons had the least valuable draft class of the cycle.


From Sharp:

The Atlanta Falcons shook up the first round by taking Michael Penix Jr. at No. 8 overall.

But what if I told you they drafted five more players who were significantly larger reaches than Penix?

It’s not the worst thing to reach for a late-round pick you evaluated differently than your peers or the consensus, but to make it a habit for all four picks from the fifth round on is surprising.

Atlanta’s draft board was clearly very different than the 31 other NFL teams and 101 other big boards.

That’s almost never a good thing, and the Falcons’ 2024 NFL draft delivered the most reaches and the least value of any team based on this methodology.

I have a couple of thoughts on Sharp’s assessment.

Firstly, the ‘draft and develop’ philosophy is the crux of any sustainably successful organization. Developing players is the critical part of that equation, so we won’t know whether these picks were good or bad for years to come.

It’s funny to see these pundits work so hard to build up or tear down draft classes before they even report to rookie camp.

Secondly, I don’t think the Falcons, or any entity in any area of business, should be worried about what everyone else is doing. Having conviction in your work is more important.

However, I do think Sharp has a point. The Falcons have constantly been the butt of the jokes in the NFL, and at a certain point, going against the grain has to be tiresome.

The Falcons clearly had a different big board than most media pundits and some teams around the league. Normally, I would say, “So what?”

But this organization doesn’t have a track record that demands the benefit of the doubt. In fact, it’s been the opposite. We should question them at every step of the way.

What do you think of the Falcons draft class?

Zach Bolinger/Icon Sportswire


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