There wasn’t a single Atlanta Falcons fan that knew what to expect from the new general manager and new head coach Arthur Smith and what they were going to do in their first NFL draft leading the franchise. Safe to say they absolutely knocked their first draft out of the park.
Coming into the weekend the Atlanta Falcons had to get three starters with their first three draft picks and they certainly did just that. Kyle Pitts, Richie Grant, and Jalen Mayfield are all exceptional players that answer big-time needs for the franchise and will be instant impact guys.
As excited as most people were for Pitts, the selections of Grant and Mayfield might be even better given that not only were they the best available player at that moment, but they also filled the needs that the franchise has.
Richie Grant is the most versatile safety in this draft and Atlanta Falcons defensive coordinator Dean Pees is sitting in a recliner somewhere daydreaming about the different packages that he can utilize Grant in. The possibilities are endless.
Jalen Mayfield fills the much needed left guard issue that has plagued the Atlanta Falcons
Former Michigan right tackle Jalen Mayfield had some questions coming into the 2021 NFL draft – questions that quite honestly had him fall to the Atlanta Falcons in the third round. While many didn’t like his arm length or questioned his ability in pass pro, he is among the best run blockers in this draft and has the toughness and strength of first-round offensive linemen.
While he did not play guard in college, he will initially start there with the Atlanta Falcons. It may take a few practices to move from right tackle to left guard but there is no question he can do it.
His attitude is also something that the offensive line desperately needs.
During his career as a starter at Michigan, Mayfield gave up just two sacks. He declared on Twitter that if you didn’t want your quarterback to get hit, he needs to be your pick. That is the sort of bravado this offensive line has missed for a couple of years and that has shown on the field in the number of sacks Matt Ryan has taken since 2016.
There is a lot of reason to be excited about Terry Fontenot’s first draft class and it starts with grabbing three elite football players with their first three picks.
Sure, this declaration may irritate parts of the Atlanta Falcons fan base but at this point, there is no reason not to be optimistic as this will be the Falcons’ best draft class in quite some time.