The Falcons have had several Day 3 draft picks turn into significant contributors. From the regime’s first draft class, Ta’Quon Graham had a forgettable rookie campaign but followed it up with a breakout sophomore season. Tyler Allgeier, on the other hand, led the way for the third-best rushing attack in the league.
The fifth-rounder out of BYU broke the franchise’s all-time rookie rushing record, posting 1,035 yards while only assuming a bulk of the carries for half of the season. He was arguably the best rookie running back in the league and certainly an unexpected contributor, so who could be the Tyler Allgeier of the Falcons’ most recent draft class?
The expectation for Bijan Robinson is to immediately become an impact player for the Falcons. He’ll be an MVP candidate if he garners enough touches. Matthew Bergeron will hopefully assume a full-time role as the starting left guard, but his success wouldn’t be out of nowhere like Allgeier’s was, considering he was a second-round pick that the Falcons traded up for.
Despite possessing intriguing measurables, Zach Harrison just isn’t ready to be a full-time player. His ideal situation in his first year would be a supplemental role behind Calais Campbell, developing into a future starter. Ryan Nielsen has been heralded for his ability to get the most out of his long defensive ends; Harrison could be the next diamond in the rough, but his time isn’t now for the Falcons.
My prediction for an unexpected rookie contributor is fourth-rounder Clark Phillips III out of Utah. His best-case scenario would be manning the slot all season long and turning into a difference-maker immediately.
Phillips has great ball skills as a small corner but doesn’t play small. He is a tough, gritty defender and will come up in run support. Given that skillset, he’s a perfect nickel defender and will give Mike Hughes a run for his money as the team’s starter.
Photographer: David J. Griffin/Icon Sportswire
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