Of all the picks made by Thomas Dimitroff this past week, my favorite has to be Matt Hennessy from Temple. Not only did I feel Hennessy was one of the top players available, but he also fills a need and could provide an immediate impact as a starter. Though he played center in college, he will compete for the left guard job this summer with Jamon Brown, James Carpenter, and Matt Gono. Although, if the offseason is abbreviated due to the coronavirus, it may be difficult for him to become a starter as a rookie. Still, he should be the perfect replacement for Alex Mack if the team decides to move on from him after this season.
If he can become a starter as a rookie (which isn’t that far-fetched), this pick completes the Falcons’ offensive line, and they will have a top offense once again in 2020. Matt Ryan was on his back more than any other quarterback in 2019, but Hennessy is exceptional as a pass blocker. In fact, in 2018, Pro Football Focus recorded him as having allowed pressure on just 0.6-percent of his active snaps, which was good for the best mark in the entire FBS. He did not surrender a sack and allowed just two pressures — a perfect fit for Atlanta.
The Falcons have received a ton of flack for taking A.J. Terrell 16th overall. So let me dissect that quickly. I have no problem with the Falcons taking Terrell the player, as it fills a huge need and he is a quality prospect, and reports have surfaced since last Thursday that several teams had him high on their draft boards, and the Saints were even considering trading up to snag him. We thought his draft stock took a hit following the National Championship Game against LSU, but NFL prospects shouldn’t be judged by one sub-par performance. There is also a message board rumor out there (unconfirmed) that Terrell had a very bad fever during that game, so the Falcons first-round pick is fine by me.
The worst pick of the draft was Jaylinn Hawkins. The Falcons have already announced that Damontae Kazee will play safety full-time after they experimented with him at cornerback last year. He, along with Ricardo Allen and Keanu Neal, give the Falcons plenty of depth at the position — at least for this season. Perhaps Atlanta is worried about Neal’s injury history, but this wasn’t much of a need, and it is doubtful he was the best player available. Some outlets had him as a 7th round selection and others saw him as an UDFA. This was undoubtedly a questionable pick by the Falcons with pass rushers like Bradlee Anae and Curtis Weaver still on the board.