The Atlanta Falcons have had a quiet off-season to start the new league year. In what is an important off-season for the clubs immediate success, the Falcons have added depth where needed and look solid as they focus on the draft.
The Atlanta Falcons were able to add guards Jamon Brown and James Carpenter to beef up the offensive lines. This team suffered devastating injuries through the 2018 season and fans became upset they did not fill those needs day one of the off-season. In recent weeks, the Falcons have added several important depth pieces on defense that will give them plenty of options for the 2019 NFL Draft. Dan Quinn likes to rotate his defensive line so having depth along the DL is an important part of his defensive scheme.
Adrian Clayborn is one of those important depth pieces for the Falcons. They were able to sign him on a cheap $2 million deal for one season. Clayborn will be a nice rotational piece for the defensive line and is a veteran presence, which will help Vic Beasley and Takk McKinley.
The Falcons were also able to add a young depth piece on the defensive line as well with DE Chris Odom. Odom recently played in the AAF for the Salt Lake Stallions. He was with the Falcons in 2017 as an un-drafted free agent and was cut during the final roster decisions, the Packers signed him for the 2017 season.
One of the best depth signings they had was DT Tyeler Davison. He was with the Saints for the last four seasons and is going to be a huge rotational piece for the Falcons defensive line. They were able to sing him on a one year deal and is only 26 years old.
With the Falcons adding depth to their DL in free agency they should focus on offensive tackle in the first round of the NFL Draft. However, in recent years they have proved they are not afraid of going best player available. Defensive tackle was the biggest need for the team last off-season and they ended up going selecting WR Calvin Ridley. In 2016 the Falcons biggest need was linebacker and they ended up selecting SS Keanu Neal. Ridley and Keanu have been great picks for the Falcons.
This is their draft philosophy and they are going to continue this for the 2019 NFL Draft. Right now it is looking like offensive tackle is the team’s biggest need. Do not be surprised if the Falcons end up selecting a player higher on their board that is not the biggest need.
Luckily for the Falcons. this is a great offensive tackle class. Jawann Taylor, Andre Dillard, Jonah Williams, and Dalton Risner would all be great options for the first round and the majority of them should be there at 14. I think you can plug anyone of those guys as the starting RT to start the season. The Falcons have shown their confidence in Ty Sambrailo but they are still thin at offensive tackle after him and Jake Matthews. They should have Sambrailo and a rookie compete for the starting right tackle spot and the other as an important depth piece.
A scenario I would like to see in the draft is for the Falcons to trade down in the first round to select OT Dalton Risner and then trade up from the second round to select DT Dexter Lawrence. Risner would be really good as the Falcons starting RT because he is physical blocker that will help the run game and is a guy that will not get overpowered from defensive ends like Cam Jordan or Jadaveon Clowney, both of which the Falcons will face in 2019.
Dexter Lawrence will be great in a Falcons uniform because of what they like to do on the defensive line. The Falcons have their smaller finesse DT with Grady Jarrett and Deadrin Senat. They need a defensive tackle, .like the 6’4 340lb Lawrence, that can absorb double team blocks in the run game and push the pocket on passing downs. Lawrence will not be there for the Falcons in the second round.