Will the Falcons get the top defensive prospect in the 2024 NFL Draft?

Thanks to an offensive-heavy 2024 NFL Draft, the Atlanta Falcons could get their selection of any defensive prospect.

NFL Combine
NFL Combine / Kara Durrette/GettyImages
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With the eighth-overall pick, you don't expect to get the top prospect on offense or defense. Most years there is a mix of quarterbacks, wide receivers, cornerbacks, and edge rushers going early, but the 2024 NFL Draft is unique.

Thanks to an excellent class of quarterbacks and wide receivers, the Atlanta Falcons could find themselves drafting the top defender with the eighth-overall pick.

The Atlanta Falcons may be the first team to draft a defender in the 2024 NFL Draft

Caleb Williams, Drake Maye, Jayden Daniels, J.J. McCarthy, Marvin Harrison Jr., Rome Oduze, Malik Nabors, Brock Bowers, and Joe Alt are some of the names we will see called in the top ten of the NFL Draft.

What do they all have in common? They are offensive players whose talent could put the Atlanta Falcons in a dream scenario.

The Falcons hold the eighth-overall pick and these are the seven teams who draft in front of them:

  1. Chicago Bears
  2. Washington Commanders
  3. New England Patriots
  4. Arizona Cardinals
  5. Los Angeles Chargers
  6. New York Giants
  7. Tennessee Titans

The consensus top prospect Caleb Williams is going to the Bears. The Commanders will either draft a quarterback or trade their pick to a team that would do the same. The Patriots are in the same boat as the Commanders or will consider taking Marvin Harrison Jr. The top three picks are going to be quarterbacks or the top wide receiver.

While the Cardinals could conceivably take a defensive player, the best value would lie at receiver which is also their biggest need—especially after trading Rondale Moore to the Falcons.

The buzz is that the Chargers are a prime candidate to flip with a team that needs a quarterback. If that doesn't happen then their recent roster moves point toward a team that wants to draft a receiver.

The Giants need a playmaker on offense or a cornerback while the Titans have a massive hole at offensive tackle which makes Joe Alt or Taliese Fuaga a great fit.

This means that the Atlanta Falcons will have a legitimate shot at taking whatever defensive prospect they want. Here is what position I think the top seven teams will draft.

  1. Bears: QB
  2. Commanders: QB
  3. Patriots: QB
  4. Cardinals: WR
  5. Chargers: WR
  6. Giants: WR
  7. Titans: OT

Rankings inside individual teams' meeting rooms are going to significantly alter those predictions. Let's say Marvin Harrison Jr. and Rome Oduze go to the Cardinals and Chargers and the Giants have a higher grade on cornerback Terrion Arnold than wide receiver Malik Nabors. NY would then spoil the party for Atlanta and take the first defensive player.

The good news is that if you are hoping to see the Falcons get the top pass rusher then you are in luck. The Cardinals, due to value, will go with a receiver which ends the threat of a team taking a pass rusher.

In free agency, the Chargers decided to move on from their top two receivers instead of their top two pass rushers. The Giants traded for Brian Burns to pair with other two former first-round picks, Dexter Lawrence and Kayvon Thibodeaux, instead of pursuing wide receivers. And the Titans need an offensive tackle.

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Out of Dallas Turner, Jared Verse, and Taiatu Latu, we will find out who the Atlanta Falcons value the most.

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