With their first pick in the second round of the 2022 NFL draft now in the books, there is no questioning the Atlanta Falcons are a better team. Drafting Drake London in the first round was a surprising and questionable decision one Atlanta followed up by making a safer decision with their first pick in the second round selecting Arnold Ebiketie.
Atlanta traded up to select Ebiketie with the 38th pick in the draft a much-needed boost for an anemic pass rush. Atlanta’s recent history is concerning at the position with Takk McKinley and Vic Beasley among notable misses.
Takk was a complete miss while Beasley had one great season and was never able to find any consistency. Ebiketie is a safer pick at 6’3 and 253-pounds Arnold totaled 15.5-sacks- in his college career.
Arnold had an underwhelming start at Temple before transferring to Penn State in his final season and breaking out in his final season. Out of his 15.5-career sacks, 9.5-of Arnold’s sacks came in his final season along with an impressive 18.0-tackles for a loss.
Ebiketie will join Lorenzo Carter as Atlanta’s featured edge rushers giving the Falcons a clear upgrade of last year’s options. Selecting Ebiketie was the safe move for the Falcons, with Malik Willis and Desmond Ridder still on the board Atlanta chose not to make the risky move with their first pick in the second round.
Considering how the rest of the second round is playing out with defensive players at a premium and quarterbacks free falling it was the right safe decision for a team that desperately needs a pass rush. Atlanta has to fix their issues in the trenches if they want any hope of a successful rebuild and Arnold is the first step in that direction for the Falcons.