The Falcons have established themselves as legitimate contenders over the last several years. After a trip to the Super Bowl in 2016 and a return to the playoffs in 2017, there is no doubt Atlanta is heading on the right path and a strong draft could put them over the top in their quest for the first championship in franchise history. Here is my Atlanta Falcons 2018 NFL Draft Review.
Atlanta Falcons 2018 NFL Draft Review
1st Round – Calvin Ridley, WR, Alabama
Receiver certainly wasn’t the major need of the Falcons roster, but it was big enough to where Atlanta couldn’t pass up the best wideout in the draft. Ridley is an excellent route runner and has the speed to be a big play threat. We never got to see his full potential realized at Alabama due to poor quarterback play, but with Matt Ryan and Julio Jones to take pressure off him Ridley should prove to be a big time playmaker next year.
2nd Round – Isaiah Oliver, CB, Colorado
A real case can be made that Oliver wa the best corner in this draft class. He is good at pressing at the line of scrimmage and has the length and ball skills to knock passes away with regularity. I would call this one of the best value picks in the entire 2018 draft. I expect Oliver to compete for and win the number two corner job across from Desmond Trufant and make an already formidable defense that much better.
3rd Round – Deadrin Senat, DT, South Florida
The Falcons needed to add some strength and physicality to their defensive line. After losing Donteri Poe in the offseason they had to add some bulk on the interior. Senat should be able to come in and fill that role right away. He’s a strong run defender who should help keep their undersized linebackers clean. Although he’s not much of a pass rusher, he should certainly be a valuable part of the defensive unit.
4th Round – Ito Smith, RB, Southern Mississippi
Ito Smith was one of my sleepers in this class. He is a quick receiving back who can still bring some physicality between the tackles. I don’t think we’ll see much from him this year because he’ll be behind Devonta Freeman and Tevin Coleman. However, Atlanta won’t be able to pay those guys in the long term and Smith will likely replace Coleman down the line.
6th Round – Russell Gage, WR, LSU
It seems unlikely that Gage will see significant playing time as a wide receiver with so many other weapons on the Falcons roster. However, he can be an excellent special teams player. He’s a good athlete and has all the tools you’d want in a depth wideout and kick coverage specialist.
6th Round – Foyesade Oluojun, S/LB, Yale
Oluojun is an ivy league stand out who will try to make the roster as a special teams player. He is a physical tackler and has decent physical tools to work with, but his lack of natural NFL position is a big question mark for me. Best case scenario I see him as depth who rarely sees the field outside of kick coverage. However, I would call him a long shot to make an Atlanta roster that is already fairly deep and talented.
Overall Grade – B+
Best Pick: Isaiah Oliver
Biggest Reach: Foyesade Oluojun