Through the first two days of the 2020 NFL Draft, the Atlanta Falcons addressed current needs on both sides of the ball.
Going into the draft, it was believed that the Atlanta Falcons would be one of the more aggressive teams by way of trading up or down. However, when it came down to it, Thomas Dimitroff never actually extended an offer anywhere. The Atlanta Falcons kept all three of their initial picks at 16, 47, and 78.
Here are my takeaways from the first two days of the 2020 NFL Draft.
Atlanta Falcons Round 1: AJ Terrell – CB – Clemson
AJ Terrell is a very physical corner and will be a day one starter once training camp comes around. The biggest knock to his game is his tendencies to be a bit grabby on the receivers, and this will lead to more penalties on defense. The controversy around the selection of Terrell steams from multiple avenues. For starters, fans buy into the constant flow of mock drafts and when a guy is selected to go higher than anticipated, it’s viewed as a bad pick.
In reality, the Atlanta Falcons got a really good corner and with his ability to be coached, he can break away from his grabbing tendencies. Terrell is around 1 talent and viewed as the third-best corner to a lot of teams.
Dimitroff didn’t anticipate Las Vegas to forgo Terrell at pick 12 and knew that once the Raiders passed up the cornerback there, the Atlanta Falcons got the guy they were eyeing all along. The cornerback position was one of the great need for the Falcons and had they gone with Chaisson, they would’ve missed out on top cornerbacks.
The Raiders had every intention of taking Terrell at 19 and the New Orleans Saints were considering trading up to get the former Clemson player. The run of cornerbacks in the back half of the first round shows how good the selection was.
If it was me, I would’ve found a way to trade down with Philadelphia, who desperately needed a receiver and saw a lot of people’s number one receiver go to their division rival in Dallas. This would mean the Falcons would give up on Terrell and go for Jeff Gladney from TCU.
Atlanta Falcons Round 2: Marlon Davidson – DL – Auburn
Prior to the draft starting, Dan Quinn was vocal about how much harder it is to find interior lineman than edge rushers. Getting Davidson at 47 was a great selection for the Atlanta Falcons. His versatility to play both in the interior and the edge of the defensive line will be pivotal when rotating defensive packages and units.
When tasked to go up against the drafts top offensive lineman in Andrew Thomas from Georgia, Davidson excelled at being a game-wrecker. One thing that stands out, in particular, is his leadership. Davidson was the captain of the Auburn defense and his vocality is something that both Dimitroff and Quinn hopes Davidson brings to this defense.
Atlanta Falcons Round 3: Matt Hennessy – IOL – Temple
While to some this pick could be rather confusing, it is a very smart selection. Drafting offensive linemen are never flashy, but they are important. Alex Mack is entering the last year of his contract with the Atlanta Falcons and the writing o the wall says he will not be resigning.
Having an efficient center is key to any success on the offensive side of the ball. Allowing Hennessy to play behind Mack will give him the opportunity to learn from one of the best.
However, it is very unlikely that Hennessy will be on the sideline at all during the season. One of the biggest upside to Hennessy is his versatility. His ability to lay both the guard spot and center allows for Hennessy to compete with Jamon Brown and James Carpenter at left guard.
Both players have been deemed a failed experience and the team is looking to move past them. Having Hennessy play 2020 right guard will get him game action and chemistry, all the while still learning how to develop at the center position. For the most part, the entire offensive line has an identity. Jake Matthews at left tackle, Mack at the center, and the two second-year guys in Kaleb McGary and Chris Lindstrom on the right side.
Three guys the Atlanta Falcons should keep an eye for on day three
Amik Robertson – CB – LA Tech
I still need the Atlanta Falcons should add more depth at the cornerback position. Robertson is a competitor. He attacks the run hard and is very physical on his matchups. He also does well in coverage with 14 career interceptions and 34 pass breakups. However, sitting at only 5’9, he is a bit on the short size. When playing in the NFC South that is built with tall guys, this is an issue. Robertson also only plays the slot corner. His size at slot will not match up well with tight ends
LaMical Perine – RB – Florida
Adding Todd Gurley to the Atlanta Falcons roster obviously pushed the need for another running back down further. His explosiveness and second-level speed with being a good change of pace for this Atlanta Falcons rushing attack that has seen more power runners than elusive runners. Perine is also effective in the air and could essentially work as a poor man’s D’Andre Swift in the passing game.
Rodrigo Blankenship – K – Georgia
Maybe this is the Georgia in me speaking, but after having an awful season with Falcons legend Matt Bryant, Younghoe Koo needs stiff competition coming from the nation’s best kicker. While Koo is flashy and is the best kicker in the league in terms of onside kickers, he is still inconsistent and not reliable from anything beyond 45 yards, and even then some of his kicks lesser than 45 narrowly went in. Blankenship went over 92% in his career at Georgia with Kicks under 45 yards. While he too struggles with deep kicks due to his small stature and low kick elevation, Blankenship offers more consistency overall.