Atlanta Falcons: Strong Draft Class Has A Lot To Prove

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Apr 30, 2015; Chicago, IL, USA; Vic Beasley (Clemson) poses for a photo with NFL commissioner Roger Goodell after being selected as the number eighth overall pick to the Atlanta Falcons in the first round of the 2015 NFL Draft at the Auditorium Theatre of Roosevelt University. Mandatory Credit: Dennis Wierzbicki-USA TODAY Sports

On paper, the Atlanta Falcons filled a number of their needs in the 2015 NFL Draft and then some. They have the potential to win the NFC South, but they now have to go out and prove it.

Heading into the draft, the Falcons had a number of holes to fill on their roster, none bigger than the need for a premier pass rusher. They appear to have found their man in Vic Beasley.

Beasley left Clemson as the all-time sack leader with 33 sacks over the past three seasons. If he can bring that level of dominance to Atlanta, the pass defense will be in line for a major upgrade.

The Falcons turned to cornerback Jalen Collins out of LSU in the second round, and he has the potential to eventually start outside with Desmond Trufant.

Running back Tevin Coleman is another player who can make an impact from day one. To find a guy in the third round who could help transform a ground game that ranked 24th in the NFL last year is pretty impressive.

It didn’t end there with the draft, either.

Wide receiver Justin Hardy will be another solid piece to a strong passing game, and will likely line up in the slot. Fifth rounder Grady Jarrett could be a steal and will find a place on the defensive line rotation at worst.

It was a great draft… on paper.

Unfortunately, football isn’t played on paper, and the draft can cause a number of surprises as to who succeeds and who doesn’t.

To really determine how good a draft class is, you really need to wait around three years to see how each player developed. With that said, let’s take a look at the 2012 NFL Draft.

Next: Booms and busts of 2012