Post-NFL Draft winners, losers for the Atlanta Falcons

NFL: SEP 10 Panthers at Falcons

The Falcons are distancing themselves from a bombshell of an NFL Draft, and after seeing Bill Barnwell go through the biggest winners and losers of the entire league, I figured I’d go through Atlanta’s.

Loser: Kirk Cousins

Cousins began Barnwell’s entire piece. Through his agent, the veteran came out immediately after the pick expressing his shock, which is fair. Cousins was probably expecting a defender or pass catcher like the rest of the Falcons fan base.

It’s been reported that Cousins did indeed leave the Vikings because Minnesota gave him a fair warning they’d be taking his replacement in the draft, and the Falcons didn’t give him any consultation because they didn’t want it leaked to the media.

Outside of the actual Xs and Os, the chemistry of the locker room could be an issue. Nobody should feel bad for Cousins, but it’s clear he was the biggest ‘loser’ of the entire draft, not just for Atlanta.

Winners: Clark Phillips III, Dee Alford, Mike Hughes

The Falcons didn’t add a cornerback in the draft, nor any starting-caliber free agents, so everyone in that room is a winner. I imagine these three will compete for the starting two spots next to A.J. Terrell with Phillips looking like the early favorite to start opposite of Terrell on the boundary, leaving Alford and Hughes to compete for the nickel role.

Loser: Falcons secondary

I don’t care who you describe the loser here, but it’s all of us, the Falcons defense, the secondary, etc., because Terry Fontenot neglected a glaring hole at cornerback and to a lesser extent at safety as well. The Falcons will be relying on young, unproven commodities at both positions with Richie Grant and DeMarcco Hellams at safety and the trio above at cornerback.

Winners: Grady Jarrett & David Onyemata

Even though the Falcons brought in three defensive linemen through the draft, Jarrett and Onyemata came out as winners.

Calais Campbell and Bud Dupree were essentially replaced with Brandon Dorlus, Bralen Trice, and Ruke Orhorhoro, which should only benefit the two veterans on the interior.

When Jarrett went down with a torn ACL, Onyemata had no help. The Falcons’ pass rush slowed tremendously. It’s never a bad thing to have “too many” pass rushers, and the Falcons added three that can play a variety of roles.

Photographer: Rich von Biberstein/Icon Sportswire

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