Falcons part ways with another member of new regime’s first draft class

DKB221016030 sfo vs atl

The Falcons would probably like a do-over with the 2021 NFL Draft. In Arthur Smith and Terry Fontenot’s first draft, the club brought in a nine-player rookie class, which has quickly dissipated.

Three of those nine have already played their final snaps in Atlanta and another could join them soon. The Falcons parted ways with Frank Darby and Jalen Mayfield earlier in the offseason; now, Darren Hall is joining them on waivers, according to Mike Garafolo.

Ade Ogundeji is currently on the injured reserve, but many expected him to also be waived amid roster cuts.

Mayfield was the worst of the bunch as a third-round pick. He never looked like he could cut it in the NFL after the Falcons tried at multiple positions. Darby never really got a shot, but as a sixth-round pick, expectations were never high to begin.

Hall was a fourth-round pick out of San Diego State and was thrust into a starting role the past two years due to injuries. He struggled but performed admirably, given the circumstances. The Falcons have a crowded cornerback room, so this isn’t too surprising.

More than anything, this shows the Falcons’ incompetence during the new regime’s first draft. Kyle Pitts is a sure-fire star, but the rest is to be determined. Richie Grant is entering his third season and second as a starter. Next to Jessie Bates III, many are expecting him to take a big leap in his development.

Ta’Quon Graham has proven to be a valuable rotational piece but probably isn’t a starting-caliber defensive lineman in this league. Still, that’s more than enough for a fifth-round pick. Avery Williams is a special teams ace and a home run of a sixth-round pick but is out for the 2023 season with a torn ACL.

The Falcons would like the 2022 and 2023 draft classes to pan out more so than their first, but no club bats 1.000 in the draft. It’s about maximizing those premium draft picks. We’ll see how the rest of the draftees turn out.

Photographer: Rich von Biberstein/Icon Sportswire

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