More than any other team, Falcons must nail NFL Draft

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The NFL Draft can propel the Falcons from a fringe playoff team to a legitimate contender.

We’ve seen it time and time again, but one draft, in particular, always comes to my mind — the 2017 New Orleans Saints draft class. At the right hand of Mickey Loomis, Terry Fontenot oversaw a class that netted Marshon Lattimore, Ryan Ramczyk, Marcus Williams, Alvin Kamara, Alex Anzalone, and Trey Hendrickson in the first 103 selections.

The Falcons will need a similar draft if they hope to maximize Kirk Cousins’ contract. CBS Sports recently came up with a list of five teams that need to nail their drafts, and Atlanta wasn’t one.

The Bears were one, but Chicago “needing to nail” their draft seems somewhat overblown. It’s the Caleb WiIliams show now in the Windy City; there’s nothing more to it. It’s really about what they want to do at No. 9, and whether they want to draft someone like Brock Bowers or Rome Odunze or trade back. That’s it. It’s not do-or-die for the Bears; their window with Williams isn’t even open.

The Panthers were another one that didn’t make much sense. Bryce Young didn’t have a lick of help last year. The Carolina offensive line and skill group were horrible, but they’ve already invested heavily in both of those areas. Yes, the Panthers need to continue to continue to build around the No. 1 pick from a year ago, but it’s no do-or-die, similar to the Bears.

The Vikings, Cowboys, and Giants make more sense as candidates that must nail the draft. Minnesota feels like they need to get a quarterback, but I wouldn’t put them in the same tier as Dallas and New York.

Both NFC East clubs are in a tight spot financially, and a loaded draft class can go a long way. America’s Team may be entering the last season with Dak Prescott, and the Giants can’t move off of Daniel Jones just yet. Both clubs have to nail the draft, but so do the Falcons.

Atlanta’s window to compete is open, and unlike the Panthers and Bears, it’s not going to last forever with a young quarterback. Kirk Cousins is no spring chicken. I’d argue the Falcons need to nail their draft more than just about any club because of their short championship window with Cousins.

Photographer: Scott Winters/Icon Sportswire


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