After drafting Drake London with the 8th pick in the NFL draft last night, the Falcons pass-catching group looks a lot more formidable. Kyle Pitts and London are both physical specimens who can snatch contested catches over any defender, and are the basis for an elite air attack. However, those two by themselves aren’t enough to strike fear into opposing defenses. The Falcons still need to add at least one more pass catcher in the draft.
Calvin Austin III
Calvin Austin III, a receiver out of Memphis, saw his draft stock balloon after a strong showing at the combine and a standout performance at the Senior Bowl. Teams are certainly attracted to his 4.32 40-yard dash time, third fastest among wide receivers. As a Junior and Senior with the Tigers, Austin emerged as one of the top options for the offense, topping the 1,000 yard mark in both seasons. Currently, he’s projected as a third or fourth rounder, and he should undoubtedly be on the Falcons radar.
Surprisingly, Tyquan Thornton is even faster than Calvin Austin. He clocked in the fastest 40-yard dash by a receiver at 4.28. Thornton’s speed is a massive asset, but there have been concerns about his size and strength. NFL analyst Lance Zierlein said that his build is a “bad combination in defeating strong press-man corners” in NFL.com’s analysis of Thornton. The good news is that opposing defenses will be busy putting those corners on Pitts and London. Although Thornton has criticisms, his fit in the Falcons’ offense is impeccable, and the Baylor product is worth a fourth round flier if he’s still available.
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