How will the Falcons use their picks in the 2018 NFL draft? We’re breaking down every selection below.
Matt Ryan and the Atlanta Falcons are coming off a 2017 season where they went 10–6 a year after their Super Bowl meltdown against the New England Patriots.
Atlanta did win a playoff game before losing to the eventual Super Bowl champion Philadelphia Eagles.
The Falcons did field a top–10 offense and defense last season, but Ryan had an off-year compared to his MVP winning season from 2016.
How will they use their picks in the NFL draft? We’re listing every selection below, including a grade for their first-round pick.
Here's the full list of picks the Falcons hold in the 2018 draft, which will be updated as each selection is made.
Round 1, Pick 26 (No. 26 overall)
Calvin Ridley, WR, Alabama
Andy Benoit's grade: B+
This is a clear example of a rich offense getting richer. Ridley is a polished route runner whom some believe has stylistic similarities to Antonio Brown. Atlanta’s scheme is flexible enough to move him around, and obviously, opponents will be game-planning to stop Julio Jones, making Ridley’s life easier. If the rookie can learn the system and the pro game quickly (NFL coverages can look very different than college coverages), he can contribute significantly outside, relegating Mohamed Sanu to purely a slot role. The thought of Matt Ryan with three top-flight wideouts and two big-time running backs (Tevin Coleman and Devonta Freeman) is terrifying. We can’t quite give this pick an A because Atlanta’s needs along the D-line are drastic. The Falcons must not have been high on Florida defensive tackle Taven Bryan.
Scouting Report: His numbers were suppressed while playing with a young, run-first quarterback in Jalen Hurts, and Ridley lacks the ideal size of a No. 1 receiver, but everything else is there. His acceleration and long speed make him a dangerous downfield threat, and he has the fluid athleticism, short-area quickness and overall feel for route running to consistently create space working underneath. He’s the best in a relatively weak WR class.
Round 2, Pick 26 (No. 58 overall): Isaiah Oliver, CB, Colorado
Andy Benoit's grade: C-
GM Thomas Dimitroff and head coach Dan Quinn must love Oliver’s talent because the Falcons absolutely did not need a cornerback. Desmond Trufant and Robert Alford form one of the best starting tandems in football, and Brian Poole is sturdy in the slot. Oliver has the size and makeup speed that Quinn’s system demands. His arrival offsets the loss of repeated screw-up Jalen Collins (out of the league) and maybe, over time, Alford moves inside, where he has thrived before. It’s not a bad pick, but given Atlanta’s paucity of defensive tackles, it’s a questionable one.
Round 3, Pick 26 (No. 90 overall): Deadrin Senat, DT, South Florida
Andy Benoit's grade: B
THERE’s the defensive tackle this team needs! Now go out and find two or three more.
Round 4, Pick 26 (No. 126 overall): Ito Smith, RB, Southern Miss
Round 6, Pick 20 (No. 194 overall): Russell Gage, WR, LSU
Round 6, Pick 26 (No. 244 overall) Foyesade Oluokun, LB, Yale