Our pal Mike Sando of ESPN talked to executives around the NFL to get an unfiltered look at all of the Falcons’ draft picks.
It’s a common practice. Teams just usually give their own glowing reports and some get all defensive at the mere thought of an objection.
Sando noted that three teams, including the Falcons, who made the biggest jumps up the draft board via trades had coaches under pressure after disappointing 2018 seasons.
The Falcons made a 14-spot jump from 45. The Steelers (10 spots from 20 to 10) and Washington (20 spots, 46 to 26) also made big trades.
Normally, teams making those big moves are trying sustain success or get the franchise quarterback. The Falcons and Steelers are former playoff teams trying to rebound. Who knows what Washington is doing.
The Falcons traded up to get offensive tackle Kaleb McGary.
“We think McGary can be the best offensive lineman in this draft,” a GM told Sando. “What we don't know is exactly where that would be on the line.”
Fixing the line made sense to one GM but didn’t make sense to another, who cited the Falcons’ meek pass rush.
“That guy (Matt Ryan) was getting his ass handed to him,” one said.
By not fixing the defense, one projected the Falcons to be in a bunch of shootouts.
Another thought the Falcons drafted Lindstrom too early and that he could replace Alex Mack one day. The Falcons did work out Lindstrom at center, but said they do that for all guards. Mack will turn 34 in November.
“We really liked Lindstrom, but were a little surprised they took him at 14,” an evaluator said. “Pass-rusher is still a giant question mark. Maybe they think everything will take care of itself if they just protect Matt Ryan, but they could be in a lot of shootouts, so you'd better have the ball at the end and hope your D is not on the field.”