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Falcons Finale: Can Atlanta Improve NFL Draft Position in Week 18?

The Falcons could either select inside the top 10 or just outside the top 15

In the NFL, there are usually good or bad teams. The Atlanta Falcons are stuck in the middle, and it feels like that's a treadmill trend moving into the 2022 offseason. 

With the 29-15 loss to the Buffalo Bills, Atlanta (7-9) will finish below .500 for the fourth consecutive season. Another loss would also mark three of the last four years ending with seven wins or less. 

Officially eliminated from the playoffs, Atlanta currently holds the 10th overall pick in the 2022 NFL Draft entering Week 18's home finale against the New Orleans Saints. 

The Falcons could end up selecting as low as 16th if they win and other teams lose. The Denver Broncos and Minnesota Vikings also sit at 7-9, while the Miami Dolphins, Baltimore Ravens and New Orleans Saints are 8-8. The Cleveland Browns (7-8) play Monday night against the Pittsburgh Steelers. 

If the Falcons defeat the Saints, plus every other team loses, they would drop down to 16th pick because of wins over Miami and New Orleans earlier in the season. Atlanta could also select anywhere from 10-15 depending on the outcomes with Minnesota, Denver and several other franchises. 

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The Falcons also are in play for as high as the No. 7 selection with a loss, and wins by the Washington Football Team, Seattle Seahawks and Chicago Bears. 

No matter where the Falcons are selecting, there are four positions that general manager Terry Fontenot can target. Based off the long-term status of Calvin Ridley, adding a receiver should be in play to pair with breakout tight end Kyle Pitts. 

The Falcons could have a choice of Ohio State's Garrett Wilson and Chris Olave, along with Alabama's Jameson Williams, Arkansas' Treylon Burks and USC's Drake London all expected to be available. 

Should Atlanta look to bolster its offensive line, options could include North Carolina State's Ikem Ekwonu, Mississippi State's Charles Cross or Alabama's Evan Neal at tackle. If it looks to address the interior line, Texas A&M's Kenyon Green and Iowa's Tyler Lindenbaum are also projected early selections. 

Defensively, Atlanta must upgrade its front seven. Texas A&M's DeMarvin Leal or Georgia's Jordan Davis could be options at defensive tackle. If looking to add to the pass rush, Purdue's George Karlaftis, Michigan's David Ojabo and Cincinnati's Myjai Sanders also could be in play. 

The Falcons and Saints will kick-off Sunday from Mercedes-Benz Stadium at 4:25 p.m.