Atlanta Falcons 2017 NFL Draft Review

1st/26 Takkarist McKinley, DE

Ht.: 6’2 Wt.: 250 School: UCLA

Needing to provide some pass rushing help opposite of Vic Beasley the Falcons didn’t want to wait moving up five slots to target the explosive McKinley. Atlanta wants to play fast and getting another speed rusher off the edge can really put pressure on offensive tackles forcing teams to take less attention off Beasley. Look for McKinley to be used as a pass rushing specialist initially as he develops into an eventual starter.

 

3rd/75 Duke Riley, LB

Ht.: 6’1 Wt.: 232 School: LSU

There is no hiding that Head Coach Dan Quinn wants a fast defense taking McKinley in the first round and now Riley. Riley will get a look at the weakside linebacker positon that allows him to play in space and hide his lack of strength to take on blockers. The addition of Riley now gives the Falcons some much needed depth to pair with last year’s picks Deion Jones and De’Vondre Campbell.

 

4th/136 Sean Harlow, G

Ht.: 6’4 Wt.: 303 School: Oregon State

Even though he played both tackle positions in college, Harlow is projected inside to right guard which was the Falcons only weakness along the offensive line in 2016. Harlow should transition well to Atlanta’s zone blocking scheme as the Beavers used a similar blocking. With the ability to get to the second level and work in tandem with his teammates he could win the job day one.

 

5th/149 Damontae Kazee, CB

Ht.: 5’10 Wt.: 184 School: San Diego State

Loaded with outside corners Kazee gives Atlanta a quick corner that can take away the option routes that teams love to run out of the slot. Kazee is a good run defender despite his slight frame showing the ability to make tackles in space and not be afraid to get his nose dirty.

 

5th/156 Brian Hill, RB

Ht.: 6’1 Wt.: 219 School: Wyoming

There is no flash to Brian Hill’s game as he is your typical downhill back who runs with power to pick up the tough yards. Looking to get better in short yardage and goal line situations Hill will be used as a role player filling in for the speed and receiving backs Devonta Freeman and Tevin Coleman provide.

 

5th/174 Eric Saubert, TE

Ht.: 6’5 Wt.: 253 School: Drake

Looking to add more weapons to their offense the Falcons are taking a chance that Saubert’s big play ability can translate from the FCS to the NFL. Saubert dominated lower level competition providing as a vertical big play threat. His learning curve will be sharp but Atlanta has two quality tight ends and won’t be pressed to force him onto the field early.

 

Best Pick

McKinley (first round)

 

Upside Pick

Saubert (fifth round)

 

Overview

Looking to get back to the Super Bowl for a second straight year the Falcons used the draft to add speed to the defense and fill some holes on the offense. Without many needs the Falcons used the draft to fill specific roles that they lacked. The draft isn’t flashy but it didn’t need to be.

Grade: C

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