FLOWERY BRANCH – Wanted to wait a little bit for the dust to settle after the 2016 NFL Draft to complete the report card.
Didn’t want to over-react in the rush to quickly judge the six new picks. Listened closely and re-read the transcripts from general manger Thomas Dimitroff and head coach Dan Quinn talking about the picks and the rationales for selecting this group.
After digesting all of that information, I'm not really sure that the Falcons picked up the three starters that owner Arthur Blank coveted, but I do think they landed a future star and starter at tight end and two intriguing developmental prospects in linebacker De’Vondre Campbell and guard Wes Schweitzer.
First-round pick Keanu Neal indeed may become a big-time player in the NFL, but it’s hard not to call the move a “reach” pick. We explain that in the breakdown article
Also, Jones, may indeed become a fine linebacker, but he only started 12 games at LSU. He couldn’t beat out Kwon Alexander, who was a fourth-round pick in 2015 by Tampa Bay. Darron Lee and Vonn Bell would have been better picks. Or Darron Lee and Darian Johnson would have been a better speedy linebacker-safety combo in the first two rounds.
Because I think the Falcons didn’t pick the best player available and could have picked an even batter safety-speedy linebacker combo in the first and second round, I would not be able to sleep well by giving them anything higher than a C-minus for this draft.
Here's a look at the players the Falcons selected:
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