Falcons Draft Preview Capsule
14. ATLANTA (7-9)
LAST SEASON: Devastating rash of injuries that gutted middle of defense and also took down both starting guards and running back Devonta Freeman was too much to overcome. QB Matt Ryan posted numbers comparable to his 2016 MVP season, but Falcons came nowhere close to playoffs. Atlanta was 4-9 before winning its last three games.
FREE AGENCY: Guard might have been Atlanta’s top draft priority before free-agent signings of James Carpenter and Jamon Brown. Team also re-signed defensive end Adrian Clayborn, who spent the last year in New England following stint with Falcons. GM Thomas Dimitroff further strengthened both lines, signing offensive lineman John Wetzel, defensive end Chris Odom and defensive tackle Tyeler Davison.
THEY NEED: DE, DT, RB, CB, OL.
THEY DON’T NEED: QB, TE, WR, P, PK.
POSSIBLE FIRST PICK: Clemson DT Christian Wilkins; Florida State DE Brian Burns; Alabama OT Jonah Williams.
OUTLOOK: Falcons are approaching possibly crucial fourth season for coach Dan Quinn after 2018 proved roster couldn’t sustain heavy dose of injuries. Defensive tackle such as Wilkins could be logical choice, especially with Grady Jarrett playing under franchise tag unless he agrees to long-term deal. After Tevin Coleman signed with San Francisco, running back is another key which may be addressed on second or third day of draft.