Atlanta Falcons: Free agency will dictate the NFL draft
Despite all of the 2016 NFL draft talk that we have all endured in the past two weeks, we are still 86 days away from round one which will take place on April 28.
As far as free agency goes, we are still a ways away from that as well. There are still 42 days between today and March 15 in which teams can start to sign players.
The closest thing we have to get a better idea as to who the Atlanta Falcons will go after is the NFL Scouting Combine. We are just 21 days away from that taking place but there are still a ton of uncertainties when it comes to players’ draft stock and who the team might go after in free agency.
There are three main positional needs that the Falcons must address before the start of the 2016 regular season. Those being linebacker, defensive end and center. While it’s nice to speculate drafting certain players in certain rounds, it’s almost a waste a time when there are still 86 days remaining until draft night.
One thing however is for certain. What the Falcons do in free agency will dictate how they draft this season.
If the Falcons are able to sign a linebacker such as Bruce Irvin in free agency then they may be more inclined to target a pass rusher in the first round rather than a linebacker. However, if they aren’t able to land someone like that in free agency, then the odds of them using a first or second round pick on that position is almost a given.
That goes for any position of need for the Falcons.
If Atlanta want’s to target a center in free agency such as Alex Mack then the odds you see them drafting one are little to none. But if they aren’t able to land Mack, a guy like Nick Martin of Notre Dame in the second round might be an option for the team.
Another very inserting position of need is wide receiver.
It’s unclear as to what the Falcons will do with veteran receiver Roddy White. Some feel that there is no chance that the team cuts him but others aren’t so sure about that. Either way, the odds of the team adding a wide receiver to their roster before next season is very high at the moment.
In a perfect world, the Falcons will be able to address that position in free agency rather than draft one. Receivers such as Marvin Jones and Mohamud Sanu of the Cincinnati Bengals both have expiring contracts and the odds that one of them is playing for a different team in 2016 are pretty high.
If the Falcons are able to land one of those two receivers and save one of their draft picks for a defensive player, that would make the most sense.
Next: First updated first round options for the Atlanta Falcons
Don’t jump the gun when it comes to the NFL draft and free agency just yet. We still have a ton of waiting to do before we can start to see any of this come to fruition. Rather than grading where a player will fall in the draft, get to learn what type of skills that player possesses and see where they are ranked when it’s time.