Now that the NFL draft is over and most of the NFL free agents are off the market, it’s time to project how the new comers to the Atlanta Falcons will fare in their new surroundings.
It is really hard to complain about the Atlanta Falcons draft class. I know “experts” have listed this Falcons draft class among the worst in the NFL, but there is zero possibility that is true. Remember, these same experts gave the same to the 2016 class a “D” and that has produced three pro-bowlers.
Thomas Dimitroff’s draft woes has been well chronicled by Blogging Dirty, however, his draft luck has seemingly turned the corner over the last several years with Dan Quinn as part of the process. Is Dan Quinn just that good at evaluating talent or was Mike Smith just that bad? There are several hypothesis that could be true in why the drafts have gotten better with Dan Quinn at the helm, but that is for another day.
How do the seven draftees project for the 2019 NFL season? We will put them into one of three categories: Starters, Backups or Practice Squad.
While there are plenty of guard choices on the Falcons roster – Wes Schweitzer, John Wetzel, Adam Gettis, Sean Harlow and Matt Gono. Falcons also brought in Tulsa guard Chandler Miller as an undrafted rookie free agent. While that name does not move the meter, Miller held his own versus first round pick Ed Oliver. Miller’s film is impressive and is a guy that will end up on the 53, more than likely to backup Alex Mack.
That said, Chris Lindstrom is already the best guard on the Falcons roster and will assert himself accordingly through rookie mini camp, mini camp, summer workouts and of course training camp. There is little doubt, barring injury, that Chris Lindstrom will be the starting right guard come week one versus Minnesota.
2. Kaleb McGary
The AJC’s D. Orlando Ledbetter asked a question to Coach Quinn Thursday night after the first round “Are either of your first round picks going to be penciled in as starters?” When Coach Quinn said, no everyone is going to compete, an article was written about how bad the picks were. No coach worth a damn is going to say “YES, HE IS OUR STARTER” about a rookie who has not earned anything. Kaleb McGary will absolutely be a starter week one of the NFL season and the fans will love what he brings to the table.
1. Kendall Sheffield
The need in the secondary dictate that Sheffield will be on the field various times this season and in certain packages. Not only is he one of the fastest men in the NFL, but his skill set is that of a player who should have gone in the third round not the fourth. With the limited number of corners on this roster, Sheffield is going to have every chance to make the active roster and play as a rookie.
2. Qadree Ollison
This kid can be special. He is the definition of a complete back as he can pickup tough yards, break big plays and catch out of the backfield. He is a player that should thrive in an offense with a QB like Matt Ryan that will find the open guy on the field. Qadree will end up beating out Brian Hill for that third running back spot and may even overtake 2018 draft pick Ito Smith.
3. Marcus Green
Marcus was drafted because of his return skills, nothing more. Green is not better than any other WR on this roster not is he a better running back than Devonta Freeman, Ito Smith, Brian Hill or Qadree Ollison. However, Green has the ability to flip the field for Atlanta and be the explosive returner that Atlanta has lacked for the last several years. If he does not showcase his return skills in the preseason, he wont make the roster at all.
Jordan Miller is the big, long and physical corner that Dan Quinn really likes. However, he is going to need a year to develop as he lacks that ability to read and react at the speed necessary to be successful in the NFL; especially for a contender. A year of NFL film study, practice, weight room and nutrition will do wonders for Jordan Miller who will be able to make an impact in the 2020 season. Should injuries ravish the secondary again, this all goes out the window.
2. John Cominsky
This has zero to do with him coming from a Division II school. Matter of fact, one of the greatest players in franchise history, Jessie Tuggle, was a Division II product. Cominsky will end up on the practice squad because of how raw his talent still is. Just three years ago, he was a 205-pound QB. During his physical transformation of adding nearly 90 pounds, he managed to keep his athleticism. Dan Quinn envisions Cominsky being a defensive tackle and learning the nuances of that spot will take some time, which will make him an ideal candidate for the practice squad.