Now that the 2021 Atlanta Falcons draft is over, it is time to take an initial in-depth look at each of the nine selections that the franchise made over the three-day event.
There is no doubt that the new Atlanta Falcons general manager has an uphill climb if he is going to lead the franchise to their first-ever Lombardi Trophy, but he seems to be on the right path.
Round 1 (4): TE Kyle Pitts, Florida | Grade: A+
The Falcons held firm and started off the draft by adding the top non-QB in this class. Pitts is a matchup nightmare as he can essentially play in the slot or inside as a TE as DBs and LBs are gonna have headaches trying to guard him.
Pitts is 6’6 and with the combination of size, speed, and athletic ability is essentially a dream fit to pair alongside Calvin Ridley, Julio Jones, and Hayden Hurst who performed very well last season.
Matt Ryan has thrown for 4,000+ yards in each season for over a decade and has a complete arsenal to be among the league leaders once more. Arthur Smith loves to get his tight ends involved, leading to Jonnu Smith landing a $50M contract with the Patriots due to his success in the Titans system.
Pitts is overall a very exciting pick and should do wonders for the Falcons.
Round 2 (40): S Richie Grant, UCF | Grade: A-
Although TCU’s Trevon Moehrig was still available the Falcons still made a good pick to bolster its secondary.
Grant is a phenomenal run defender who also shined as a center fielder at Central Florida. Grant doesn’t have elite hands but tracks the ball well with instincts and his versatility is going to astonish Dean Pees who loves these types of ballplayers.
Passing up on Moehrig delegates this grade to an A- but overall love the pick as Grant is a good football player.
Round 3 (68): OT Jalen Mayfield, Michigan | Grade: B+
This may have been a bit of a reach following a lackluster pro day but Mayfield still issues position versatility and could fill a hole early at guard.
Mayfield anchored down the RT spot in Ann Arbor and is an expectational run blocker who moves well and is only 20-years old, meaning plenty of time to mold into a better pass blocker but the upside is there regardless of where he was ranked on big boards.
Round 4 (108): CB Darren Hall, San Diego State | B
This was emphatically a reach but the versatility makes it a good pick for the Atlanta Falcons.
Hall has impressive ball skills as he broke up 25 passes over three-season (16 in 2019) along with six Interceptions as a part of a secondary that produced a number of impressive ballplayers. Hall doesn’t have great size or length but you can’t teach instincts or ball-hawking.
Round 4 (114): C Drew Dalman, Stanford | Grade: B+
I really like this as a potentially high-value selection as Dalman is a good fit for the Atlanta Falcons offense.
Dalman isn’t a very good pass blocker but as an impressive run blocker and with some added power/strength can become an exceptional anchor. Dalman will battle with last year’s draftee in Matt Hennessey but the differences in skill will make it tough to judge who deserves to be the starter, with the Temple grad allowing only one sack a season ago.
Round 5 (182): DL Ta’Quan Graham, Texas | Grade: C
The Atlanta Falcons didn’t do its pass rush any favors with this selection as Graham has limited upside as a rusher. Graham has great upper body strength who’s length helps him defend the run quite well but in terms of being an asset off the edge, it’s unlikely with the lack of quickness.
Round 5 (182): DE Adetokunbo Ogundeji, Notre Dame | Grade: B+
This is a good selection considering the upside along with skills Ogundeji already posses.
The former Irish team captain is an aggressive tackler, forcing multiple fumbles during his career at ND who has great length. Ogendeji is an explosive pass rusher who has a good burst and showcased spurts of dominance but lacks consistency but has the potential to be a good, productive ballplayer.
Round 5 (183): CB Avery Williams, Boise State | Grade: B
Williams mainly projects as an asset on special teams. Williams was elite for the Broncos returning a total of nine touchdowns on kick/punt returns at Boise State but being undersized with shorter arms likely won’t lead to him being in the rotation at corner.
Round 6 (187): WR Frank Darby, Arizona State | Grade: B+
Darby slipped down draft boards after running a 4.59 in the 40 at his pro day. Darby was the Sun Devils’ top pass catcher a season ago and averaged nearly 20 yards per catch.
Darby excels at tracking down the ball and making contested catches and with some work on the Juggs machine to better develop his hands, Darby could land himself on the 53-man roster as an impact player at the next level.
He will have to fight for playing time as depth isn’t terrible for Atlanta Falcons at WR, which caps the grade at a B+ but overall a good selection.