Atlanta Falcons clearly will draft a defensive prospect in the first round
By Nick Halden
Despite the Bijan Robinson speculation and the need for a second receiver looking at the prospects most likely to be on the board when the Atlanta Falcons number is called, it remains clear the team has to take a defensive prospect in the first round in the final weekend of April. Atlanta is not in a position to focus on any offensive prospects.
The Falcons should be expected to take an offensive player only if the team decides to trade down. Otherwise, it is clear that edge rushers, defensive linemen, and corners will be Atlanta's decisions to choose between with very little clear talent offensively in this year's top ten prospects.
As exciting as taking Bijan Robinson or Quentin Johnston might be as potential fits for the Falcons it is clear either player in the top ten would be an obvious reach at positions the Falcons have addressed.
Of the prospects that would make sense for Atlanta and could still be on the board Christian Gonzalez, Jalen Carter, Myles Murphy, Nolan Smith, and Luke Van Ness all would make sense for the Falcons with Smith being the one possible reach. Even if the Falcons get a chance to move down in the draft Smith and Murphy are both possibilities for a team whose clearest need is adding an edge rusher to complete a great defensive line.
Lorenzo Carter should take a step forward in year two with Atlanta considering the upgrades around him, however, the team still has one edge position to address with little cap space and free agents dwindling Atlanta will likely take a pass rusher on day one if their preferred pick is still on the board. If not day two the position becomes an obvious target with the team perhaps looking to spend the last of their cap space on a veteran edge rusher.
No question that Atlanta's priority this off-season has been fixing a defense that has been bad for far too long. That priority will remain in the first round of the draft with the Falcons adding to a unit that is beginning to look like a defensive roster with top-ten potential.