The Atlanta Falcons won the NFC South with an 11–5 record, making it all the way to the Super Bowl with the league's top offense. Unfortunately, Atlanta blew a 25-point third quarter lead to the New England Patriots in the Super Bowl, before losing in overtime.
How will they use their picks in the NFL draft? We’re breaking down every selection below.
Round 1, Pick 26 (No. 26 overall) (From Seahawks)
Takkarist McKinley, DE, UCLA: The defending NFC champions only had six picks to begin with in this draft. They just gave up two of them (95 and 249) to move up five spots for McKinley. That’s the type of risk a team can take when it feels like it’s one guy away from a championship—the Falcons obviously were about as close as it gets to reaching the mountaintop last season. McKinley’s status for the start of 2017 is in doubt because of his post-combine shoulder surgery, but he should make an impact opposite Vic Beasley once he does get on the field. He thrived last season after UCLA transitioned from a 3-4 to a 4-3. GRADE: B+
Round 3 Pick 11 (No. 75)
Duke Riley, LB, LSU: The Deion Jones pick last year worked out like gangbusters, so the Falcons went back to the well to pick up Jones’s former teammate—a player not entirely dissimilar from Jones himself. Nothing wrong with adding depth at linebacker, but Atlanta had much more of a hole at guard. GRADE: B
Round 4, Pick 30 (No. 136): Sean Harlow, G, Oregon State
Round 5, Pick 5 (No. 149) Damontae Kazee, CB, San Diego State
Round 5, Pick 12 (No. 156) Brian Hill, RB, Wyoming
Round 5, Pick 31 (No. 174) Eric Saubert, TE, Drake University