The 2019 draft is less than a week away. The Atlanta Falcons hold the number 14 overall pick. And if you watched any of the team last season, you along with nearly every other expert knows the team needs help along the offensive and defensive lines.
The porous Atlanta Falcons offensive line gave up 42 sacks last year. And the defense gave up more than hundred rushing yards in 11 of their 16 games. The team also struggled to get pressure on quarterbacks on a consistent basis.
I know, you’re wondering where’s the hope. That, comes in here.
In typical Dan Quinn fashion, his pre-draft presser with GM Thomas Dimitroff, was full of optimism and analogies. For the draft, it’s a puzzle. It’s about finding the right piece/player that you can plug into the team’s infrastructure and get an immediate impact.
This will mark the fifth draft Quinn and Dimitroff will enter together, so by now, they should have a good read on each other. That makes draft night war room decisions easier, especially when owner Arthur Blank has expressed confidence in both men when fans wondered about the team’s success.
But on the logistical front.
Let’s say the Falcons hold their chips and don’t trade up into the top 10. That’s okay because the teams above them don’t have the same needs. That’s why there’s hope.
In the latest mock draft by CBS Sports, only one defensive tackle comes off the board in the first 13 picks. And that’s Quinnen Williams at number five. That, combined with the depth of this year’s defensive line draft class is encouraging, or at least should be.
That means Ed Oliver, defensive tackle from Houston, could very well fall in the Falcons lap. CBS’ mock draft also has five defensive ends flying off before the Dirty Birds get their pick, which shouldn’t matter considering the nearly $13 million the team decided to invest in Vic Beasley.
A high vote of confidence in a former pick that’s teetering on the edge of bust talk.
The Falcons may have gotten lucky at the right time. The draft is deepest at the positions where they have the highest need. The offensive line depth also goes far enough that if they wanted, the team could sneak back into the first round and pluck a guy there.
Another vote of confidence, Dimitroff also made it clear on Thursday that the team won’t pick randomly based on need, but they want to make sure the talent matches where a player was selected.
Considering the five offensive lineman the team signed as free agents, if a solid cornerback is available, feel hopeful the Falcons won’t hesitate in picking them to help add some depth to that position.
There are plenty of ways the team could go, though we hope they address some holes up front. But it would hard to make a wrong choice with the 14th pick and for that, have hope.