Atlanta Falcons draft capsule
26. ATLANTA FALCONS (11-7)
LAST SEASON: After reaching Super Bowl previous year, Falcons finished third in NFC South and were knocked out of playoffs in second round by eventual champion Philadelphia. Offense, which led league in 2017, looked bit out of sync with new coordinator Steve Sarkisian. Falcons are hoping for more productivity now that Sarkisian has year under belt. Young defense continued to improve, though defensive end Vic Beasley slipped from 15 1-2 sacks to five. Tak McKinley, who had six sacks in rookie season, will have to take on even bigger pass-rushing role after Adrian Clayborn left in free agency.
THEY NEED: DT, WR, FB, LB, OG, DE, TE.
THEY DON’T NEED: QB, RB, OT, CB, S, PK, P.
POSSIBLE FIRST PICK: DT Maurice Hurst, Michigan; G Isaiah Wynn, Georgia; DT Taven Bryan, Florida; DT Da’Ron Payne, Alabama; WR Calvin Ridley, Alabama; WR D.J. Moore, Maryland; TE Hayden Hurst, South Carolina.
OUTLOOK: Falcons feel good about starting lineup but have some holes to fill, most notably at defensive tackle with Dontari Poe moving to division rival Carolina. Receiver Taylor Gabriel also departed, making it easier for opponents to focus on Julio Jones unless Falcons land another playmaker on outside. Brandon Fusco was signed in free agency to bulk up interior of offensive line, but Falcons could still use another guard to push for playing time. There’s no fullback on roster after team decided not to re-sign Derrick Coleman, creating another vacancy that could be filled in later rounds. General manager Thomas Dimitroff is known to wheel and deal on draft day, and bounty of big men on both sides of line could prompt him to trade down for extra picks.
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