Regrading 2021 NFL Draft: Hindsight is 20/20 for Falcons

NFL: SEP 17 Packers at Falcons

Not even 12 hours after the Falcons drafted Michael Penix Jr., NFL pundits released their grades for the pick, most of which were extremely negative.

It’s always funny to me when analysts and media personalities write off a draft pick not even 24 hours after the NFL Draft ends. Hell, it’s hilarious to see pundits criticize draft classes after just one season.

Instead of critiquing Falcons rookies who have never taken a single snap of professional football, a much more rational person would look at Terry Fontenot’s first draft class. The Falcons 2021 draft class is now three seasons into their careers and we have a much better picture of Fontenot’s work.

CBS Sports initially gave the class a B- grade, but three years later, that’s been knocked down to a C- grade.

2021 Grade: B-

The Skinny: They had nine picks in the draft and two will be starters in 2024, and just four are still with the team. Tight end Kyle Pitts was taken eighth overall and he hasn’t come close to living up to that lofty draft status. The best pick was fourth-round center Drew Dalman, who is a good, quality starter. Second-round safety Richie Grant has started games, but they whiffed on third-round guard Jalen Mayfield, who was let go and is now with the Giants.

How I did: I loved the pick of Pitts, but, like most, I was wrong about him so far. I said that pick would define the draft, but so far it isn’t great. I also liked the Grant pick. This will be a telling season for Pitts and this draft. Dalman helps it a bunch.

New Grade: C-

I honestly think a C- is generous. Kyle Pitts has absolutely not lived up to the billing of the highest-drafted tight end in NFL history. Now, we can make excuses for poor quarterback play and injuries, which have hampered his production. Circumstances matter, and Pitts hasn’t had great circumstances in Atlanta.

Still, results are results, and Pitts hasn’t delivered thus far. That’s not to say he doesn’t go out and set career highs with Kirk Cousins and Zac Robinson in the fold, but as of now, this looks like an abysmal selection, especially when talking about the guys that went behind himĀ — Ja’Marr Chase, Micah Parsons, Patrick Surtain II, and Penei Sewell, to name a few.

Richie Grant was supplanted by a rookie seventh-round pick last season. The writing seems to be on the wall for Grant. If the Falcons 2021 second-round pick doesn’t catch on this year with Raheem Morris, his time in Atlanta could be coming to end. That’s not great for a second-round pick.

Everyone knows about Jalen Mayfield, and quite frankly, everyone other than Drew Dalman and Avery Williams hasn’t contributed. The Falcons first draft class under Terry Fontenot wasn’t great. There’s no other way around it.

Photographer: Rich von Biberstein/Icon Sportswire

Scroll to Top
%d bloggers like this: