There’s a debate going on about who the Falcons should take with the number 8 pick in this year’s draft. While there’s plenty of talent at the top of the class, It’s also incredibly deep, which is how the Falcons can get a jumpstart to their rebuild.
George Pickens, a wide receiver out of UGA, seemed like a surefire first-rounder for most of his career. Unfortunately, a torn ACL ruined his junior season and threw a wrench into his draft stock. Prior to the injury, the 6-3 wideout reeled in 85 catches for 1,240 yards in two seasons. The man was a living highlight reel at Georgia, and it’s a shame that injury struck. He is an athletic, sure-handed receiver with good speed who makes an array of contested grabs. With a healthy George Pickens, the Falcons receiving group looks far more intimidating.
SEC WR’s with the lowest drop rates since 2019 (min. 100 targets)
1. Austin Williams: 0.9%
2. George Pickens: 2.1%
3. DeVonta Smith: 2.6% pic.twitter.com/Vzvx2MxE0C
— PFF Draft (@PFF_College) April 17, 2022
Out of the receivers in the class, it can be argued that he has one of the highest floors when healthy, and at number 43 in the second round, Pickens could provide tremendous value. The allure of having a former Bulldog on the team is also a plus.
The edge rusher out of Southern California is another player I’d tab to be a steal; this time at the top of the third round. Drake Jackson comes in at 6-3 and had a combine weight of 254 pounds, although he played closer to 270 for most of his career. As a three time All PAC-12 team selection, it’s evident that he has the talent and size to make a difference. Jackson has shown versatility in both against the run and pass rushing, using his pure athleticism to dodge offensive linemen. He could improve his power, but in the third round, he would add much-needed depth and speed to the defensive line.
Cade Mays is an offensive lineman out of Tennessee, although he played at Georgia as well. CBS currently projects him as an early fifth rounder, but I could see the value in trading back into the fourth round to snag him. Mays has two main selling points — versatility and physicality. His vicious style of play led many to put him towards the top of mock drafts before 2021, but like so many others, Mays was encumbered by injuries. During the 2021 season, he played tackle for the Volunteers despite being a guard for most of his collegiate career. Given Atlanta’s iffy offensive line, Mays would be worth a look in the middle rounds to bolster the offensive line.