As the NFL Draft quickly approaches, it seems like the perfect time to start reliving the Atlanta Falcons draft classes from the past ten years. We’ll look into their hits, their misses, who they should have drafted, and a fun fact about every draft class.
This eleven-part series will end with a full recap of the Falcons 2023 draft with information on their picks, how they might impact the team in its upcoming season, and draft grades for the team’s choices as well.
Desmond Trufant (1st – 22nd overall) – After a strong career at the University of Washington, Desmond Trufant was the third cornerback taken in the 2013 Draft. The Falcons ended up making a great choice as the two taken before him (Dee Milliner and DJ Hayden) were clear busts. Trufant played over 90 games in Atlanta and was a Pro Bowler in 2015.
Robert Alford (2nd – 60th overall) – The Falcons went back-to-back on corners with their selection of Alford. Although he didn’t reach the peaks that Trufant did, he still played six seasons in Atlanta and had an interception in the Falcons' Super Bowl loss to the Patriots.
Malliciah Goodman (4th – 127th overall) – After two successful picks at the top of the draft, Goodman can be seen as nothing but a failure. He only collected 29 tackles throughout his entire career, and ended up retiring in 2017.
Who’d they miss in the 4th? A seven-time Pro Bowler in Kyle Juszcyk! Although the fullback position may be out of style in 2023, former offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan could have utilized KJ in that Super Bowl loss mentioned above.
Levine Toilolo (4th – 133rd Overall) – Toilolo seemed to be destined for the Atlanta Falcons throughout the entire draft process as they were the only team he worked out for beforehand. Unfortunately, his career never lived up to the time the Falcons dedicated to him. After five disappointing seasons, Toilolo became a Detroit Lion and has been out of the league since 2020.
Fun Fact: In four of the five seasons Toilolo spent with the Falcons, he caught fewer balls than the number of games he played in.
Stansly Maponga (5th – 153rd Overall) – Maponga made no impact on the Atlanta Falcons and only had eight tackles during his entire career. After two strong picks to start the draft, the team missed out on three straight.
Two Other Options: Towards the end of the fifth round, safety Micah Hyde and offensive tackle Ricky Wagner were drafted by the Green Bay Packers and Baltimore Ravens respectively. Hyde is a two-time All-Pro and Wagner started over 90 games throughout his career. People might think late-round picks don’t matter, but the Falcons could have gotten at least one potential starter with this pick.
Kemal Ishmael (7th Round – 243rd Overall) – Ishmael was a surprise for the Atlanta Falcons after being drafted in the 7th round. Although he got limited playing time in his rookie season, he ended up recording almost 300 career tackles before retiring in 2019.
Zeke Motta, Sean Renfree (7th Round – 244th and 249th Overall): Neither player made an impact that affected the Falcons.
The Pickup Pile: There were several undrafted free agents who went on to have impactful careers including Tony Jefferson, Nickell Robey-Coleman, C.J Anderson, Chris Hubbard, Lane Taylor, Tress Way, Ryan Schraeder (Go Birds!), A.J Bouye, Brandon McManus, Jason Myers, Adam Thielen, and Jack Doyle.