The Falcons stayed with their needs-based drafting philosophy and selected Clemson cornerback A.J. Terrell 16th overall in the first round of the NFL draft on Thursday.
In the second and third rounds on Friday, they are projected to fill other needs at left guard/center and defensive end on day two of the draft.
» MICHAEL CUNNINGHAM: Falcons were right to stay put at 16
The Falcons have the 47th and 78th overall picks.
“We’ll continue to build our depth on both sides, both sides of the front,” Falcons general manager Thomas Dimitroff said. “We're always looking to fortify. There's opportunities there.
“I will say ... there are opportunities on the interior and there (are) opportunities outside on the defensive side.”
The Falcons will pick 15th in the second round and 14th in the third.
“At 47 it's a good place for us to be,” Dimitroff said. “We already mapped out a couple of different positions that we were looking at. ... We feel like there's a really rich area there between the early part of the second round to 47, and we feel like we might have some really good opportunities there.”
Rounds 4-7 are Saturday.
» MORE: Falcons earn a B for first round
Falcons draft picks
The Falcons also want to land a tackle, who can fill their backup swing tackle position and they could take another running back or wide receiver who can handle the return duties, on the third day of the draft.
In the first round, the Falcons elected to pass on higher-rated players in Oklahoma wide receiver CeeDee Lamb, LSU defensive end K'lavon Chaisson, Michigan center/guard Cesar Ruiz and Oklahoma linebacker Kenneth Murray.
Terrell, who was the sixth rated cornerback in the draft by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, was projected to be selected late in the first round or early in the second round.
» ALSO: A.J. Terrell's projected salary
Passing on Lamb and a host of other wide receivers was no surprise because the Falcons are deep at the position with Julio Jones, Calvin Ridley, Russell Gage and newly signed Laquon Treadwell.
Chaisson could have helped the anemic pass rush, but is young and would take time to develop after just one productive season at LSU.
Ruiz could have helped the offensive line, which gave up 50 sacks and 135 quarterback hits last season. Ruiz, who went to the Saints, could have been the heir-apparent to center Alex Mack, who’ll turn 35 in November.
Murray, a tackling machine, could have replaced De’Vondre Campbell, who was the team’s leading tackler over the past two seasons.
The top guard/centers left are LSU’s center Lloyd Cushenberry, Ohio State’s Jonah Jackson, Temple’s Matt Hennessey and Washington’s Nick Harris.
Also, the Falcons believe the draft is deep at the defensive tackle.
AJC’s 2020 POSITION BY POSITION DRAFT SERIES
Quarterbacks: Joe Burrow leads class | Top 10
Running backs: Cam Akers' life lesson | Top 10
Tight ends: Harrison Bryant top prospect | Top 10
Guards/Centers: Solomon Kindley a late-rounder | Top 10
Offensive tackles: Austin Jackson's life lesson | Top 10
Wide receivers: Jeudy or Lamb | Top 10
Defensive tackles: Brown, Kinlaw stand out | Top 10
Defensive ends: A 'generational' talent | Top 10
Linebackers: Simmons a position-less LB | Top 10
Safeties: Loaded with Georgia talent | Top 10
Special teams: Georgia's kick-centered | Return with flash | Top 10
Cornerbacks: Jeff Okudah a lockdown CB | Top 10
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