2015 Draft in Review: Atlanta Falcons
The NFL draft is over and it suddenly seems like a long time to wait for the next meaningful event on the NFL calendar. But frankly we’re still excited trying to break down what it all means for each team and so we’re going to share some of that excitement.
That’s right every team is going to have each pick broken down as well as a look at their undrafted free agents. Up now? The Atlanta Falcons who went into the draft with a new shot caller in Dan Quinn and plenty of needs, most visibly on offense. How did they do?
Round 1: Vic Beasley, ED, Clemson
The Falcons had the most explosive pass rusher in the entire draft fall into their laps at No. 8 overall, and they didn’t waste much time selecting the Clemson stud. He might not be an every-down player immediately, but he will make himself known in the teams sub-package defense. Had fourth-highest production grade rushing the passer during 2014 season.
Depth Chart Fit: Immediate sub package player likely to back up on early downs.
Round 2: Jalen Collins, CB, LSU
Some concerns off the field, but in the mix to be most talented corner in draft (indeed was seen as much by Sam Monson and Gordon McGuinness). Lack of experience is a concern, but he did grade positively in coverage in all bar three games during 2014 season, and allowed just 41.5% of throws into his coverage to be complete against Power 5 teams, fourth-lowest in FBS.
Depth Chart Fit: Day 1 starter who will likely fill in at right cornerback.
Round 3: Tevin Coleman, RB, Indiana
With speed to burn, Coleman is a true home run threat who just needs a crease to make you pay. Had third-most yards after contact of all FBS backs, and while his fumbling (five), and level of competition at Indiana worry you, he adds some breakaway talent to the Falcons offense. His 57% breakaway score was highest in the nation, showing that if you got him to the second level he was dynamite.
Depth Chart Fit: Big part of a running back by committee. Likely playing second fiddle, ever so slightly, to DeVonte Freeman.
Round 4: Justin Hardy, WR, East Carolina
Harry Douglas is gone, but Justin Hardy is here. Described by our staff as a Jason Avant-type receiver, he might not do anything exceptionally well and may never be an every-down receiver. But he has the ability to deliver from the slot, and was incredibly productive from there with the third-best yards per route run numbers in the country.
Depth Chart Fit: It’s very possible that he leaps straight into the old role of Harry Douglas as the team’s top slot receiver.
Round 5: Grady Jarrett, DT, Clemson
Just how in the heck did Jarrett fall this far? A lot of teams might end up very sorry they didn’t stop his slide a lot sooner, because despite his size limitations (hey didn’t Geno Atkins have those?) Jarrett is a bowling ball of production. The former Clemson DT was third overall in our interior defender grades, with a particularly herculean effort against the run where his ability to disrupt stole the show many a time.
Depth Chart Fit: Most likely a backup at 1-tech behind Soliai, but will fill that same role on nearly every sub-package look.
Round 7: Jake Rodgers, Eastern Washington
Our experience of Rodgers is limited with us watching just FBS action but we did see him against Washington in Week 2 where he didn’t embarrass himself, allowing one hurry.
Depth Chart Fit: Atlanta has four tackles on the roster, but Rodgers can take faith from the rise of Ryan Schraeder. Practice Squad may be his best hope.
Round 7: Akeem King, S, San Jose State
King spent the majority of his time playing as an in-the-box safety, with 68.3% of his snaps coming within 8 yards of the line of scrimmage, and not covering a wide receiver. Missed just five tackles all year on his way to the 16th best tackling efficiency in the nation, and ended the year with zero tackles on special teams.
Depth Chart Fit: At the moment he’s No. 3 at the strong safety spot. A precarious place to be.
Chris Brown, CB, Colorado State-Pueblo: Out of Colorado State-Pueblo, no snaps against FBS opposition.
Terrell Floyd, CB, Louisville: Spent a lot of time in the slot for Louisville, where his 0.67 yards per snap allowed in coverage were 11th best in class.
Mike Lee, CB, Fort Valley State: Out of Fort Valley State, no snaps against FBS opposition.
Warren Herring, DI, Wisconsin: Missed a lot of the season and only logged 380 snaps, with eight starts to his credit.
Austin Dodge, QB, Southern Oregon: Out of Southern Oregon, no snaps against FBS opposition.
Derek Akunne, LB, North Texas: Had positive grades in every area of the game at North Texas, finishing with their defense’s highest grade. Turned 44 pass rushes into 11 quarterback disruptions.
Damian Parms, S, FAU: Struggled during season at Florida Atlantic, but was impressive in Shrine Game where he recorded two picks.
Cody Clay, T, Azusa Pacific: Out of Azusa Pacific, no snaps against FBS opposition.
Eric Lefeld, T, Cincinnati: Struggled as a run blocker, but earned positive marks for protection. Had the 19th highest pass blocking efficiency score in the nation.
Beau Gardner, TE, Northern Arizona: Limited to just 46 snaps against FBS opposition where he earned a negative grade for run blocking, and caught just one ball for six yards.
Marquez Clark, WR, Central Oklahoma: Out of Central Oklahoma, no snaps against FBS opposition.
Shane Wynn, WR, Indiana: Forced 15 missed tackles after the catch, which was the joint eighth-highest number among draft eligible receivers.
Paul Lasike, FB: Versatile back who earned positive grades for his blocking and rushing while looking a healthy 719 snaps for BYU.
Sam Meredith, DI: Blitzed frequently to little avail but was much sturdier in run defense for San Diego State where he earned a positive grade.
Derrick Malone, LB: Struggled in coverage for Oregon where he undid a lot of his good work in run defense. 14 missed tackles were too many.
Jordan Ozerities, CB: UCF cornerback had some problems with missed tackles (10) and consistency as a starter, logging 911 snaps.
Robenson Therezie, DB: Played heavily in the slot and struggled in coverage, earning a substantial negative grade for his efforts all round. Not a good year.
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