With the NFL season officially halfway over (sadly), Atlanta’s next draft feels like a do or die. After a win against the Broncos, the Falcons are 3-6 and currently own the 11th pick. This team has to hit on almost all of their picks if they want to keep this roster afloat for a little longer under the new coaching staff.
This first edition will NOT feature trades, but one of those will be coming eventually with trades up & down. We’ll also expand to the Falcons three 6th round picks around the combine. I’m still very adamant the team should go for an additional 2nd rounder, but a trade-up is certainly in the cards. Note that some of these picks are projected compensatory choices. Take some of these player rankings with a grain of salt. In the wake of COVID-19, team draft boards and player rankings will be all over the place. Some guys will rise, some guys will fall, but I’m going to address positions of need for Atlanta with prospects I like that could realistically be available.
R1, Pick 10: EDGE Gregory Rousseau, Miami
If the Falcons lost, I was going to have a tough time choosing between Trey Lance & Zach Wilson. However, with the Jets, Jags, Giants (maybe interested in QBs), Football Team, & Panthers currently picking before Atlanta — I think the top tier quarterbacks will be gone. Anything can happen between now and Week 17, but Rousseau is not a bad consolation prize. He led the ACC in sacks with 15.5 & 19.5 TFL in 2019. I can’t blame him for sitting 2020 out; he is a monster and will be highly coveted in April. Rousseau is as gifted athletically and size-wise as any prospect in this draft, and he has that “bend” that NFL teams covet. He’s still developing technically, but if he puts it all together, he’s going to be a nightmare in a division with excellent QB & WR play. I also quite like Carlos Basham, Joseph Ossai, Kwity Paye, and Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah here as contingency. I’ll let the tape talk.
Gregory Rousseau's FSU tape is nsfw, IOL had no answer for him.pic.twitter.com/b0Pb3GHoI4
— Austin Gayle (@PFF_AustinGayle) July 21, 2020
Gregory Rousseau, Edge, MIA-
– Freaky Athlete
– Outstanding Length
– Arm Extension and Hand Placement
– Stays Clean w/ Length and UOH
– Quick and Powerful Hands
– Very Good Sack Production
– Lateral Agility Vs O/S Zone
– Understanding of Run Concepts#NFLDraft pic.twitter.com/dEFhuSZsaH
— Ryder McConville (@RyderM25) July 6, 2020
Don't try to cut block Gregory Rousseau. Just don't even bother. pic.twitter.com/HdWxVtcheH
— Cam Mellor (@CamMellor) May 11, 2020
R2, Pick 42: S Jevon Holland, Oregon
Holland is a very enticing prospect. He was getting a lot of first-round buzz before choosing to sit 2020 out. Andre Cisco and his ball-hawking skills are tempting here, along with Richie Grant out of UCF. However, I value Holland’s versatility a little more as a Keanu Neal replacement. If Rico Allen becomes a cap casualty, I wouldn’t mind doubling up and trying to get Cisco or Grant too. Holland is similar to Antoine Winfield Jr, who I coveted in the last draft and has been fantastic in the NFL. Holland is the captain of Oregon’s defense and lines up at both safety spots and nickel corner. One disadvantage to Holland is that he takes on so many roles, he hasn’t become elite in one area. I think once he gets a true position in the NFL — he’ll be an upper-echelon safety and a steal at this point in the draft.
Jevon Holland's two-year PFF coverage grade from the slot is the best in College Football. pic.twitter.com/IGjXMdHbxO
— PFF College (@PFF_College) August 11, 2020
— Austin Gayle (@PFF_AustinGayle) July 13, 2020
R3, Pick 74: C Josh Myers, Ohio State
This pick is contingent on a few things. It’s almost a foregone conclusion Alex Mack will not be back, and Matt Hennessy hasn’t been a world-beater in limited action. James Carpenter could become a cap casualty, so Atlanta may want to experiment with some new interior lineman. Kaleb McGary & Chris Lindstrom have been grading out very well — Myers could be the last piece of a competent O-Line. He has been described as “nasty” and “mean” by his teammates — an edge I’m sure my last two picks would appreciate. Myers’ stock is sort of all over the place, but we’ve seen interior offensive lineman fall in the draft recently.
C #71 Josh Myers violently puts DL #15 over onto his left guard. you can always win in the run game when you take care of the first level defenders first. pic.twitter.com/hgZAfzsolg
— Mike Golic Jr (@mikegolicjr) December 12, 2019
R4, Pick 112: EDGE Victor Dimukeje, Duke
Dimukeje has been a man possessed in 2020, and if he keeps it up, he’ll outplay this draft position. The former first-team all-freshman has 7.5 sacks already after notching 8.5 in 2019. Coaches rave about his work ethic and motor, and his first step is upper echelon. Dimukeje is also an evolutionary Anthropology Major at Duke, so his intelligence is another desirable trait. Rousseau, Jarrett, Davidson, Cominsky, Fowler, and Dimukeje gives you a nice stable of pass rushers — something Atlanta hasn’t had since the Abraham days.
Duke's Chris Rumph II & Victor Dimukeje are tied for #️⃣1️⃣ in the nation for Sacks. Each player has 7.5 Sacks this season.
— CFB Home (@CFBHome) November 3, 2020
Duke DE Victor Dimukeje (@Big_vic72) executes a nice stab club to get the sack. He was named to second team all ACC after getting 8.5 sacks on the season.
-Stab OL inside chest
-Clubs the arm away
-Rips to disengage from block
-Bends to QB for sack#Passrush #Sack #CFB #GoDuke pic.twitter.com/i4pwhmw6mz
— Big Dog Pass Rush (@bigdogpassrush) December 4, 2019
Watching Chris Rumph II and Victor Dimukeje today.
Rumph II needs to put on some weight, but this is a nice swim move against Jedrick Wills. pic.twitter.com/6hikFO7Rj6
— Zach (All-22 Addict) Gartin (@All22_Addict) September 11, 2020
R5, Pick 152: RB Kylin Hill, Mississippi State
I coveted Kylin Hill in the last draft before he decided to return to Starkville, and after Week 1 — it looked like he made the correct decision. However, Mike Leach’s offense has come back down to earth, and Hill has had a rough 2020. Now, he’s opting out of the season altogether. His questionable exit could cause his stock to fall. If you look at his tape, it quells a lot of concerns. Hill isn’t a burner by any means, but he’s a punishing back that loves to dish out contact. His vision has been improving steadily, and I really like him as a prospect. Even though I’ve been advocating for Brian Hill to get more touches, Kylin Hill could be a fun piece for a new coaching staff.
That's it. That's the tweet. pic.twitter.com/2j7jCwiSrs
— SEC Network (@SECNetwork) September 7, 2019
Mississippi State RB Kylin Hill has officially declared for the 2021 NFL Draft
Hill: Most elusive SEC RB in 2019
— PFF College (@PFF_College) November 3, 2020
KYLIN HILL, STILL HERE
— PFF College (@PFF_College) September 26, 2020
R5, Pick 175: QB Desmond Ridder, Cincinnati
Ridder is an interesting pick here, and a compensation pick may be a good spot for Atlanta to snag a project QB. Ridder’s numbers aren’t amazing, but he’s spearheading a potent Bearcat offense. He’s thrown 11 TDs and run for 8, and at 6’4 215 — he’s got the size and athleticism teams should be coveting.
— American Football (@American_FB) November 2, 2020
— Steve Helwick (@s_helwick) November 7, 2020
In the middle of the Rays chaos, Desmond Ridder did a thing… pic.twitter.com/T3IdjDET0J
— CFB Pylon (@TheCFBPylon) October 25, 2020
Photo: Doug Murray/Icon Sportswire