Predicting Falcons selection at No. 8 could be especially difficult for 2022 NFL draft

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Unlike last year’s NFL draft, the Falcons’ options with their first-round pick aren’t as straightforward. It seemed rather obvious the Falcons would select one of Kyle Pitts, Justin Fields, or Penei Sewell. But that isn’t the case for the 2022 draft.

Atlanta has been connected to a number of prospects ranging from offensive linemen to cornerbacks. Evan Neal, Kyle Hamilton, Kayvon Thibodeaux, Ikem Ekwonu, Derek Stingley, Sauce Gardner, Travon Walker, Charles Cross, Jermaine Johnson, Garrett Wilson, Drake London, and Treylon Burks have all been linked to the Falcons’ first-round pick. That’s not even mentioning the quarterback prospects that could also intrigue Terry Fontenot and company.

The Falcons could go one of several different directions with their first-rounder, so draft pundits really have no idea how to mock Atlanta. What makes it even more difficult is the bevy of players in the conversation for the top ten prospects in the draft are reportedly so close that nobody will have the same big boards.

In Peter King’s Football Morning in America column, the well-regarded King mentioned an interesting quote from a top general manager.

It’s going to be a bad year for mock drafts. Great line from a top GM Saturday night: “You can take the top 20 most plugged-in guys in your business. Ask them to pick the top 10 guys in this draft. I would bet a lot of money no two guys have the same top 10. When you don’t know who’s going one or two or three at this point of the year, you’ve got a mysterious year.”

The 2022 NFL draft could be the first without a quarterback, running back, or wide receiver selected in the first 10 picks; since 1936, at least one skill player has gone in the top 10.

GM6: “I could see seven tackles and edge players going in the top 10. Maybe there’s a fourth tackle, the Penning kid. [Northern Iowa tackle Trevor Penning has gotten hot in the pre-draft buildup.] Then the two corners. It’s strange, with the league so slanted to the wide receiver and quarterback, to think it’s possible none get picked high. I could see it, though—every one of the quarterbacks has question marks, and there are so many good receivers that teams think they can wait to take one.”

The Falcons have so many different needs on their roster that Terry Fontenot’s best player available draft approach will likely fill a personnel void. Atlanta could use a long-term solution at quarterback, a pass catcher or two, a few pass rushers, and a tackle for the future. This will, in turn, be one of the most challenging drafts to project which direction the Falcons will go.



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