We continue our ranking of draft picks in the Thomas Dimitroff era with third-round selections. To view our first and second round rankings, click the links below:
Like the first and second rounds, there are a lot of picks here that are egregious enough to make your eyes bleed, but Dimitroff has been able to come out with some quality talent in the third round occasionally.
13. Dezmen Southward (2014)
Southward quickly became a casualty once Dan Quinn arrived following Mike Smith. The latter helped select the Wisconsin safety in 2014 68th overall. Quinn decided to turn him into a corner in his first year on the job, and before the end of the season, Southward was on his way out. He signed with the Jags and then the Panthers, but only played in one more NFL game in his career.
12. Mike Johnson (2010)
Taken in the third round of the 2010 draft out of Alabama, Johnson never received a fair chance due to injuries. He spent the majority of his rookie year on injured reserve playing in just two games. Then, Johnson was a reserve in his sophomore campaign, starting in one game — the only start of his career. In the 2013 season, he was expected to take over as the starter at right tackle for Tyson Clabo. However, he fractured his fibula and never played in another NFL game, eventually retiring officially in 2015.
11. Chevis Jackson (2008)
A 2008 draft that turned the Falcons organization around, Jackson was one of the lone dark spots. A product of the defensive-back factory that is LSU, he never made much of an impact at the next level — outside of a 95-yard touchdown return against the Aints in his rookie campaign. By 2010, just three years into his NFL career, the Falcons opted to release Jackson, and he never played in an NFL game again.
10. Lamar Holmes (2012)
Holmes was a Southern Miss product that did not inspire much confidence, despite becoming a full-time starter in just his second season. He appeared in four more games in 2014 (all starts) but was injured and eventually released later that year.
9. Duke Riley (2017)
When the Falcons selected Riley, NFL experts everywhere were screaming, “steal!” Unfortunately, he turned out to be a major bust. The LSU linebacker followed in Deion Jones’ footsteps and even had the same athletic attributes with a similar physical profile. However, the two couldn’t have panned out any differently. While Jones turned into a Pro-Bowler in his second season, Riley was abysmal in nearly every aspect and was eventually traded to the Eagles this past year.
8. Deadrin Senat (2018)
Senat still has a chance to work his way up this list, but the Falcons haven’t given him much of a chance through two seasons, which should be telling considering the team’s struggles across the defensive line. The South Florida product only appeared in two games last year after playing in 15 — including two starts — as a rookie.
7. Chris Owens (2009)
Owens was a quality reserve and even started some games for the Falcons in four seasons, appearing in 59 contests (12 starts) and recording three interceptions along with 12 passes defended. It’s nothing special, but considering the people above him, he’s earned this spot.
6. Akeem Dent (2011)
Dent was one of my favorite Falcons because of the energy he brought to the defense. The former Georgia Bulldog only spent three years in Atlanta, playing in 42 games and starting 20, resulting in 81 solo tackles — 10 of which went for a loss. The Falcons ultimately traded him to Houston before the 2014 season for quarterback T.J Yates, who served as a backup to Matt Ryan.
5. Corey Peters (2010)
Peters has carved out a fine career for himself and is still in the league today, starting on the defensive line in Arizona over the last four years. Before that, he spent five seasons in Atlanta, appearing in 71 games (55 starts), racking up 101 solo tackles, 21 of which for loss, 19 QB hits, and 11 sacks. Peters was never a Pro-Bowl caliber player, but he was a solid snag in the third round.
4. Harry Douglas (2008)
Douglas was a part of that marvelous 2008 draft class and spent six years in Atlanta before signing with the Tennessee Titans. His best season came in 2013 when he racked up 85 receptions for over 1,000 yards. That year, he was asked to be a primary receiver due to an injury to Julio Jones, filling in wonderfully. However, he was primarily used as the third option over his career and was fantastic in that role. In 91 games for the Falcons, he caught 258 balls for 3,130 yards and eight touchdowns.
3. Thomas DeCoud (2008)
DeCoud is another member of that 2008 draft class that made the Falcons perennial playoff contenders. He only played in ten games as a rookie, but by his second season, he was a full-time starter at free safety. Over the next five years, he would start in 78 of the Falcons 80 games and even made a Pro-Bowl in 2012 after picking off six passes. DeCoud wasn’t perfect; he was guilty of some undisciplined play at times, but for a late third-round pick, he provided about as much production as one could expect.
2. Tevin Coleman (2015)
Perhaps you could make the argument that Coleman should be a little lower on this list since you can typically find a quality running back much easier in the mid-to-late rounds than many other positions. Still, Coleman was about as productive as one could have been in his four years with the Falcons. He was an integral piece to Atlanta’s record-breaking 2016 offense and has been oh-so-close twice to adding Super Bowl champion to his resumé. As the lightning to Devona Freeman’s thunder, Coleman rushed for 2,340 yards on 528 attempts with the Falcons. He was also a scary threat in the receiving game, catching 92 passes for 1,010 yards and 11 touchdowns.
1. Austin Hooper (2016)
The Falcons just let the best third-round pick they’ve had in the Thomas Dimitroff era waltz out the door to the Cleveland Browns. I don’t blame Atlanta for making that decision; it was one that had to be made, as Hooper was looking to become the highest-paid tight end in football — and for a good reason. The Stanford product improved in each season with Atlanta, eventually becoming one of the best receiving tight ends in the game. Hooper just recently made his first Pro-Bowl, and had he not been injured, costing him four games, he likely would have eclipsed 1,000 yards receiving. This was a slam dunk selection and undoubtedly the best third-round pick the Falcons have had in the Dimitroff era.
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