After months of mock drafts, and big boards the 2020 NFL Draft has finally come and gone. The league pulled off the seamless transition from in-person to virtual without a hitch. The Atlanta Falcons entered the draft with needs all over the field but primarily on the defensive sides of the ball.
General Manager Thomas Dimitroff was able to address some of the needs by selecting four defensive players with the team’s six draft picks. Dimitroff used the team’s first-round pick at No.16 fo fill the teams need at cornerback by selecting A.j Terrell. In the second round, he added to the defensive line with Auburn’s Marlon Davidson. And in the fourth round, he added depth with linebacker Mykal Walker (Fresno State) and safety Jaylinn Hawkins (California).
Despite the additions to defense the Falcons still have some question marks and here are a few of them.
The Falcons decided not to add a running back in this year’s draft, possibly because of where their positioning, but also because they signed Todd Gurley in free agency. Dimitroff has said several times this offseason that he believes that Gurley will be productive and stay healthy. Last season Gurley ran the ball 223 times for 857 yards, which is less than the previous two seasons when he has over 1,000 in each. He also has noted knee problems, and the team doesn’t have a reliable backup on the roster.
Devonta Freeman was the team’s leading rusher last year with 656 yards, but he’s gone, so that leaves Brian Hill and Qadree Ollison who rushed for 373 yards combined last year. So, if Gurley doesn’t pan out the Falcons may be in trouble.
Yes, the Falcons drafted Terrell, but that was considered a reach by some, and there are questions on how well he will be able to adjust to the NFL game. That leaves Isaiah Oliver and Kendall Sheffield as the top options if Terrell struggles with the transition. Hawkins started his college career at cornerback before moving to safety. He could be an option in nickel situations, but not long term.
De’Vondre Campbell is gone, which leaves Deion Jones as the team’s only proven option at the position. When healthy he is a stud, but he missed time last season with an injury. Foyesade Oluokon played in 16 games last year, but only started in three so it remains to be seen if he can handle a starter role. The team also added Edmond Robinson and LaRoy Reynolds in free agency, but they’ve been primarily special teams players. Mykal Walker is the wild card. He played several positions in his last year at Fresno State, so he could be the answer, but a few questions.
The Falcons answered some questions during the draft, but they still have a few holes to fill before the season starts.