Did The Atlanta Falcons Win The 2015 NFL Draft?

A lot of so-called “experts” came away impressed with the Atlanta Falcons’ 2015 NFL Draft haul. Check out the videos and links below:

Mocking the Draft’s Dan Kadar awarded the Falcons with one of two A grades given out to various NFL teams:

This was a home run of a draft for the Falcons. Beasley should be a star in head coach Dan Quinn’s system on defense. Collins might not be a starter as a rookie, but he has as much raw talent and potential as any cornerback in the draft this year. Coleman should easily be able to take over the starting running back job from Devonta Freeman. Hardy might not be the biggest, but he’s a solid and reliable player who can do work from the slot. Getting Jarrett in the fifth round was fantastic value. The only thing holding this class back is a lack of an offensive lineman or two.

Bleacher Report’s Matt Bowen, a former NFL player, also came away impressed:

After three days of watching picks come off the board in the 2015 NFL draft, there were multiple teams that collected high-level talent, addressed positive needs and upgraded their rosters.

I can look at the Baltimore Ravens or New York Jets as teams that really improved this weekend by targeting the type of players who will fit in their respective systems.

But if I had to point to just one club that leaves Chicago with a group of prospects that stands above the rest, I have to go with the Atlanta Falcons, based on the core group of guys they acquired to play for new head coach Dan Quinn in 2015…

But this class in Atlanta, which was handpicked by Thomas Dimitroff, Scott Pioli and the new coaching staff, will have opportunities to play important roles in 2015. This is a great start for Quinn as he looks to rebuild the Falcons with young, core talent that addresses a need and fits in the new system.

SI.com’s Doug Farrar gave the Falcons an A, being one of only four teams to earn such high praise:

Only the Bengals had fewer sacks than Atlanta’s 22 last season, and the Falcons went about fixing that issue right away, taking Clemson speed-rusher Vic Beasley with the eighth pick. Beasley put up 12 sacks and 21.5 tackles for loss on the nation’s best defense last season, and he’s no one-year wonder. He finished with 13 sacks and 23 tackles for loss the year before. He’ll make new coach Dan Quinn very happy within Quinn’s multiple fronts. The Falcons got a potential steal in the second round with LSU cornerback Jalen Collins, who started just 10 games for the Tigers but looks very comfortable on the field and projects as a physical No. 1 cornerback. Third-round back Tevin Coleman out of Indiana is a pure speedster who can add some real dynamism to a ground game that’s been stuck in recent years. But the most interesting late-round pick for the Falcons—and a guy who might be one of the steals of this draft—is Clemson defensive tackle Grady Jarrett, who many had with a second-round grade. He’s a highly productive three-tech, and to get him in the fifth round is a gift. Pairing him with Beasley means that the Falcons’ formerly dormant pass rush is about to get a lot more interesting.

NFL.com’s Bryan Fischer had the Falcons graded highly with an A grade, one of eight given out.

Hard to find a better convergence of team need and good player than the Falcons’ pick of Beasley, who was a great draft value at pick No. 8. Time will tell if they regret passing on local star Todd Gurley, but this is just the kind of player new coach Dan Quinn could develop into a star. Collins has first-round talent, but there are questions about his production in college and off-the-field issues. He’s a high-upside pick in the second. Coleman is a steal at the 73rd pick and could be a star early on for the team as a home-run threat. Hardy will be on the same page with Matt Ryan early and Jarett falling in the team’s lap in the fifth round is remarkable luck.

ESPN’s Mel Kiper, Jr. didn’t have the Falcons among his highest-graded drafts (ESPN Insider subscription required), but they were still near the top with a solid B grade:

The Falcons had a clear need for a pass-rusher. If you looked at things a couple months ago, you’d have assumed they were in a great position. Could it be Randy Gregory? Maybe Shane Ray? Maybe Vic Beasley? Well, in the lead-up to the draft, off-field concerns took Gregory and Ray both out of the equation this high. So though Beasley is a slight reach on my board — he can rush the passer, but can he provide value elsewhere? — I don’t mind the pick there. If they move down, there’s no guarantee they get him. Jalen Collins lacks experience, and there are off-field issues surrounding him, but the value lines up, and I’m sure Dan Quinn is looking for this type of cornerback after his time in Seattle, and Collins brings length and physicality. I don’t know if a running back can ever be a “steal,” but Tevin Coleman comes close, as I thought he could go early in Round 2, and the Falcons nabbed him at No. 73 overall. I wouldn’t be surprised to see him splitting carries with Devonta Freeman in 2015. Justin Hardy is a solid depth addition at wide receiver, something they need because Roddy White will turn 34 in November. Grady Jarrett is not a name I’d expected to be around in Round 5, so I definitely liked that value. If there’s a question mark here, it’s the offensive line, where they didn’t get any help at guard. I like this draft, especially with the curveball they dealt with regarding the class of pass-rushers.

Rotoworld’s Evan Silva hands out the Falcons a B+, but only one team received an A, once again indicating the Falcons were among the best drafters in 2015:

One of my favorite moves of draft weekend was a day-three trade with Minnesota that netted Atlanta disruptive and versatile interior presence Jarrett and only cost the Falcons a sixth-round pick. Atlanta did not do a good job of drafting for most of demoted GM Thomas Dimitroff’s tenure. I think they got a lot of things right with assistant GM Scott Pioli running the show, landing a desperately-needed outside pass rusher (Beasley), probable Week 1 starting press-man corner (Collins), homerun-hitting tailback (Coleman), and Harry Douglas’ immediate replacement (Hardy). Rodgers and King were late-round flier picks new coach Dan Quinn’s staff will attempt to groom. So very much, the Falcons needed a draft exactly like this. They got as many as five year-one contributors and arguably three first-round talents with their top three selections. I feel better about the direction of the Falcons today than I did last week.

For more videos breaking down the Falcons’ 2015 draft picks, click here.

About the Author

Aaron Freeman
Founder of FalcFans.com