The Atlanta Falcons finally hit rock bottom in 2020 after nearly doing so in 2021. Dan Quinn was fired, and now Arthur Smith will have a chance to lead the team. They still have a promising offense, but they need to make some improvements in the 2021 NFL Draft to set them up for present and future success.
The bigger question for the Falcons is whether or not they will consider a quarterback with the No. 4 picks. They still have Matt Ryan and will hang on to him to avoid racking up a massive dead limit hit, but could they recruit a successor? If a player they like enough is there with their first pick, they could certainly consider it.
Outside of that, the team must continue to strengthen its defense and plug the holes they have on offense to compete in one of the NFL’s toughest divisions in NFC South.
Here’s a look at the Falcons’ picks in the 2021 NFL Draft:
MOST DRAFT OF THE NFL: Complete 7-round simulation | Big Top 100 board
Falcons draft pick in 2021: When does he pick Atlanta?
- Round 1, Pick No. 4: Kyle Pitts, TE, Florida
- Round 2, Pick No. 35
- Round 3, pick No. 68
- Round 4, Pick No. 108
- Round 5, Pick No. 148
- Round 5, Pick No. 182
- Round 5, Pick No. 183
- Round 6, Pick No. 187
- Round 6, Pick No. 219
2021 Falcons NFL Draft Order
|5||38 (Compensatory selection)|
|5||39 (Compensatory selection)|
|Sixth||35 (Compensatory selection)|
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Falcons NFL Draft Needs
- Cornerback: First-round rookie AJ Terrell shone at times last year, but the Falcons secondary had 293.6 passing yards per game last year. That ranked last in the NFL. Finding another outside starter to pair with Terrell is imperative.
- Edge accelerator: The Falcons have Grady Jarrett at defensive tackle and Dante Fowler at defensive end. However, they don’t have much else in terms of pass rushers. Finding one could go a long way to his defense, which tied for the ninth fewest sacks per game last season (1.8).
- Safety: Losing Keanu Neal, Ricardo Allen and Damontae Kazee in an offseason has destroyed the Falcons’ safety depth. They need another potential starter to challenge Jaylinn Hawkins and Erik Harris for playing time.
- Offensive line: Atlanta can replace center Alex Mack with 2020 third-round pick Matt Hennessy, but they need to add another player to fill the gap they have at left guard. They can do this by picking a guard or picking a tackle and kicking right tackle Kaleb McGary inside to score. The last move may be the best option for McGary’s inconsistent play on the outside.
- Attack player: Matt Ryan is the only Falcons quarterback under contract at this time following the retirement of Matt Schaub. Ryan is 35, so the Falcons need a young backup they can prepare to eventually replace Ryan as a starter. That could mean targeting Justin Fields, Trey Lance or Mac Jones with the No. 4 overall pick.
Falcons Draft Mock 2021
Here are the latest 2021 NFL Draft projections for the Falcons, based on Vinnie Iyer’s mock seven-round draft:
|1||Bedroom||Trey lance||QB||State of North Dakota|
|5||39||Josh ball||Old Testament||Marshall|