Five Way-Too-Early 2023 NFL Draft Targets for the Falcons: Defense

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The draft never stops for me, and I’m already excited about a few players entering the 2023 NFL Draft. The Falcons have a lot of needs, and they’re a team that could either completely flop or actually carves out a few wins in 2022-2023. Atlanta will have a ton of cap space in the 2023 offseason, so who should they be looking ahead for in the 2023 Draft? I already covered the offense, but here are five guys at each defensive position group that I have my eye on:

Interior Defensive Line

IDL Jalen Carter — Georgia

IDL Bryan Breese — Clemson

IDL Byron Young — Alabama

IDL Gervon Dexter — Florida

IDL Will McDonald IV — Iowa State

As it stands, Jalen Carter is the prize of this group, and he should have a monster showing in 2022 if he stays healthy. I expect Atlanta to spend in free agency on the trenches, but if there’s a game-changer available — don’t count him out.

EDGE

EDGE Will Anderson — Alabama

EDGE Nolan Smith — Georgia

EDGE BJ Ojulari — LSU

EDGE Myles Murphy — Clemson

EDGE Isaiah Foskey — Notre Dame

While the Falcons should look to fortify the offensive and defensive fronts in free agency, I still think this is a great group led by the crown jewel of this class in Will Anderson. I expect Anderson to have a monster year and maybe bring home the Heisman if he can edge out CJ Stroud or his teammates Jahmyr Gibbs and Bryce Young. Nolan Smith is another high-quality option — you can never have enough talented pass rushers.

Linebacker

LB Noah Sewell — Oregon

LB Justin Flowe — Oregon

LB Trenton Simpson — Clemson

LB Mike Jones Jr. — LSU

LB MJ Sherman — Georgia

Like with many other positions, the Falcons are at a crossroads at linebacker. If they hang onto Deion Jones, they can cut him for next to nothing next offseason. They have some picks invested into the position, but there’s a lot of talent here if they choose to get a defensive leader.

Cornerback

CB Kelee Ringo — Georgia

CB Joey Porter Jr. — Penn State

CB Eli Ricks — Alabama

CB Cam Smith — South Carolina

CB Tony Grimes — North Carolina

The Falcons could easily target a running mate for AJ Terrell here, especially with the talent on the board. Casey Heyward is on a two-year deal, but I doubt the Falcons see him as a long-term solution. With little depth at the position right now, Atlanta could look to fortify their secondary.

Safeties

S Malachi Moore — Alabama

S Jordan Battle — Alabama

S Tykee Smith — Georgia

S Brandon Joseph — Notre Dame

S Jalen Catalon — Arkansas

The Falcons have some young pieces at safety, and they passed on Kyle Hamilton in the 2022 NFL Draft. Some premium options are hitting the market in the 2023 offseason, but maybe Atlanta will decide to go to the draft to get some depth at a position of need.

Photo by Rich von Biberstein/Icon Sportswire

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