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Draft Grades - A Fan's Perspective


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I know as a fan's take is often biased with the tenor of the board vascilating from utopia to being overly pessimistic based on how the team has played recently.  With that being said, I think I'm generally pretty even keeled with a slight bent towards cautious optimism with this team.  Below are my assessments to each pick with grade.

Overall A  Fontenot and company found good value with most of their selections and also addressed some holes on the roster.  I could see upwards of 5 starters emerging from this draft class within 3 years time. 

1st Round - Kyle Pitts.  B  I'm giving this pick a B because there wasn't a player at any of our biggest needs (EDGE, S, DL) worthy of being drafted here and we picked my likely #2 choice if we stayed put.  Once we re-structured Matty Ice's contract, we were really on left with taking the best position player available or trading down to acquire more picks.  To me the choice to be made was stay at #4 and draft Sewell because to me, he's Orlando Pace.  You shouldn't pass on elite left tackles in this league, even if you have a very good one in Jake Matthews.  You also have to agree that our blocking was horrific and even if you give Matt Ryan another toy to throw to it may not help things much this year.  Now the Pitts pick can work out, but it is more about him elevating the entire offense to a level that is 2016'esque than the pure stats he puts up as a player.  If he puts up 1100+ yards with 10 TD's but our offense still stalls in the Red Zone  or can't control the ball in the 2nd half then it will still be a disappointment.  If we are one of the top 5 offenses due in some part to Pitts and Matty gets a championship to finish his career then it works out in our favor.

2nd Round - Richie Grant.  A  Grant will instantly become our best all-around safety since Eugene Robinson.  He should be a rookie starter and this is a huge area of need for the team.  They were also able to trade down 5 spots and pick up an extra fourth so additional props for Fontenot and company for their first draft in the ATL.  

3rd Round - Jalen Mayfield.  A- Some had Mayfield as a possible 1st rounder, but I believe his position (RT) and low relative number of games played caused him to slip to Round 3.  I think Mayfield could be in the conversation at LG year one, but probably becomes our swing tackle and then taking over as a starter at LG or RT in year 2. 

4th Round - Darren Hall.  B-  Hall is a player I had my eye on, but I thought he could be had in the 5th round or later.  He has a nice blend of size and athleticism and comes from a program that has a pedigree for developing NFL caliber talent for the next level. 

4th Round - Drew Dalman.  A  Dalman has the best chance to be a rookie starter outside of Pitts and Grant.  He has NFL bloodlines and played at a program that prepares players mentally for the NFL rigors.  Centers have shown an ability to overcome their lack of size if they play in a zone scheme like ours so I think he can be successful as a year 1 starter. 

5th Round - Ta'Quon Graham.  C+  Not really on my radar as a prospect but he should compete for a roster spot with Cominsky.  He is kind of a tweener between tackle and base end so he makes sense for Pees potentially employing multiple fronts.  He seems like a hard worker and has a good motor. 

5th Round - Adetokunbo Ogundeji.  B Another guy that wasn't really on my radar but was productive with decent athletic traits to think he could crack the rotation and become a serviceable starter down the line. 

5th Round - Avery Williams.  D  I was not familiar with him during the evaluation process but considering he seems to be a special teams only player and we just signed Patterson, it seems as if we may have just drafted another teams kick returner.  We could have used a lower selection or UDFA for kick returning depth.  

6th Round - Frank Darby.  B+ This is just the type of player you pick in the later rounds.  He has the traits to be an NFL caliber wide receiver but didn't put it all together during college and injuries may have played a part as well.  He could be a real sleeper pick for us. 

 

Notable UDFA Signings

Feleipe Franks A+  This is a great roll of the dice as I had him as a draftable prospect with his NFL caliber size and athleticism at the position.  His accuracy also improved upon moving onto  Arkansas.  Good developmental QB and potential long-term backup option. 

Javian Hawkins A  I wasn't big on Hawkins due to his lack of size but he has the talent to carve out a role as a Darren Sproles type of player if used correctly.  Worth taking a flier on in UDFA. 

Caleb Huntley B+  He wasn't uber productive in college but seems to have some Alfred Morris to his game and could surprise if given an opportunity. 

Erroll Thompson A  He projected as a draftable prospect but the pro day athleticism numbers did not enamor it seems.  He could make the team as a backup and special teamer with the potential to crack the rotation at linebacker in time. 

 

 

 

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4 minutes ago, Boise Falcon Fan said:

Avery Williams is a dynamic PR. Definitely a guy to roll the dice on. May or may not pan out, but can't blame the brain trust for taking a chance on him. He is electric.

Patterson doesn't return punts. Falcons have no punt return guy on the team. He can back up Patterson and also return punts with good CB depth.

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I think Graham is a great pick.  He's only a 'tweener in the same sense Jarrett is (not to say he'll be as good as Jarrett).  He can play 5 tech or 3 tech and can thus play in 4-3 and 3-4 fronts.  He is a dynamic run stopper and has juice as a pass rusher.  I was a huge fan of that pick.  I'm not sure I wouldn't have given him a B+ or an A grade.  I might have downgraded Ogundeji personally, but if he develops as a pass rusher that was a great lunchpail pick.  Time will tell.

I think Pitts is an A+ pick.  It isn't his fault or the front office's that no defensive needs were present at 4.  We got who I think is the best player in this draft at position 4, and he happens to be a great scheme fit.

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2 minutes ago, JDaveG said:

I think Graham is a great pick.  He's only a 'tweener in the same sense Jarrett is (not to say he'll be as good as Jarrett).  He can play 5 tech or 3 tech and can thus play in 4-3 and 3-4 fronts.  He is a dynamic run stopper and has juice as a pass rusher.  I was a huge fan of that pick.  I'm not sure I wouldn't have given him a B+ or an A grade.  I might have downgraded Ogundeji personally, but if he develops as a pass rusher that was a great lunchpail pick.  Time will tell.

I think Pitts is an A+ pick.  It isn't his fault or the front office's that no defensive needs were present at 4.  We got who I think is the best player in this draft at position 4, and he happens to be a great scheme fit.

 The problem I see for Pitts is that the bar is already so high for him to be a success.  He is almost destined to disappoint based upon the expectations he already has from fans and the media. He could become the next Greg Olsen but is that worth #4?  It really comes down to how he makes us better over the next 2-3 years for the pick works out but I am pulling for him. 

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2 minutes ago, athell said:

Appreciate the effort OP, but I cannot take any kind of eval of the draft seriously when you lead with a B for Kyle Pitts...

TF told us from the jump he would go BPA.  Many had Pitts the BP in the entire draft.  B is ridiculous but so are grades so take that with a grain of salt...

We can obviously agree to disagree.  Pitts may win a few fantasy drafts but Sewell should be more impactful over a longer period of time if they both stay healthy. 

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Pitts a B? Come on man. And Avery Williams a D? How can you watch his tape and see that he had 8 kick/punt returns for touchdowns, a blocked punt for a touchdown, and 5 punt blocks all together while also having upside as a CB and/or gadget player on Offense and not be excited? The other grades I can understand, though I like Graham as more of a B, but come on man. Every reason to be excited about every guy in this draft class.

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5 minutes ago, autigerfan said:

We can obviously agree to disagree.  Pitts may win a few fantasy drafts but Sewell should be more impactful over a longer period of time if they both stay healthy. 

Yea we can agree to disagree.  These are draft grades, not career grades though.  You graded an UDFA project QB as an A+ and a player who many are saying is Calvin Johnson at TE as a B.  Think about that.

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8 minutes ago, Foo Falcons said:

Pitts a B? Come on man. And Avery Williams a D? How can you watch his tape and see that he had 8 kick/punt returns for touchdowns, a blocked punt for a touchdown, and 5 punt blocks all together while also having upside as a CB and/or gadget player on Offense and not be excited? The other grades I can understand, though I like Graham as more of a B, but come on man. Every reason to be excited about every guy in this draft class.

I didn't quibble over Williams because I see that as a philosophical difference.  It is unknown how much he can contribute on non-ST downs.  If he can, it's obviously a better pick.  If he can't, it can still be a great pick but I tend to share the view that full-time special teamers are kind of a thing of the past.

If I had to grade the pick I'd give it a B.  But mainly, I'm trusting Arthur Smith to build his team with his vision, and if he didn't have a role for the guy, he wouldn't have wanted to take him.

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2 minutes ago, athell said:

Yea we can agree to disagree.  These are draft grades, not career grades though.  You graded an UDFA project QB as an A+ and a player who many are saying is Calvin Johnson at TE as a B.  Think about that.

I graded him as a B as he wasn't my first choice for who was available at 4.  I just think the bar is exceedingly high for Pitts to reach or exceed current expectations.  I do hope he does just that as a fan of the team.

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4 minutes ago, autigerfan said:

I graded him as a B as he wasn't my first choice for who was available at 4.  I just think the bar is exceedingly high for Pitts to reach or exceed current expectations.  I do hope he does just that as a fan of the team.

And yet Feleipe Franks is an A+...

Look, it's your grades, and grades are inherently pointless so do your thing but that's some odd mental gymnastics to get to those grades lol

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10 minutes ago, JDaveG said:

I didn't quibble over Williams because I see that as a philosophical difference.  It is unknown how much he can contribute on non-ST downs.  If he can, it's obviously a better pick.  If he can't, it can still be a great pick but I tend to share the view that full-time special teamers are kind of a thing of the past.

If I had to grade the pick I'd give it a B.  But mainly, I'm trusting Arthur Smith to build his team with his vision, and if he didn't have a role for the guy, he wouldn't have wanted to take him.

To me, that idea is more understandable with a pick like Gage (and we see how that's turned out so far) but Williams gives actual value at CB and seems like a chess piece that could be used on offense coming out, not to mention potential game changing return ability, unlike Gage who was more so viewed as an ace of a gunner with upside at WR. 

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46 minutes ago, falcons007 said:

Patterson doesn't return punts. Falcons have no punt return guy on the team. He can back up Patterson and also return punts with good CB depth.

Patterson is only a one year rental at that too.  If Avery Williams turns out as hoped, he will be on the team and taking Patterson's place for most of what he does and for a better price.

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18 minutes ago, autigerfan said:

I graded him as a B as he wasn't my first choice for who was available at 4.  I just think the bar is exceedingly high for Pitts to reach or exceed current expectations.  I do hope he does just that as a fan of the team.

LOL.. Busted!  Just because Pitts wasn't YOUR first choice you give the highest rated TE in draft history a "B" because he wasn't on your mock/list.  And as @athell stated, you give a UDFA QB an "A+"!  Personally, I don't like to give grades on drafts until several years have passed but if I had to give this draft a grade, it would be higher than anything in recent memory at this point. 

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1 hour ago, JDaveG said:

I think Graham is a great pick.  He's only a 'tweener in the same sense Jarrett is (not to say he'll be as good as Jarrett).  He can play 5 tech or 3 tech and can thus play in 4-3 and 3-4 fronts.  He is a dynamic run stopper and has juice as a pass rusher.  I was a huge fan of that pick.  I'm not sure I wouldn't have given him a B+ or an A grade.  I might have downgraded Ogundeji personally, but if he develops as a pass rusher that was a great lunchpail pick.  Time will tell.

I think Pitts is an A+ pick.  It isn't his fault or the front office's that no defensive needs were present at 4.  We got who I think is the best player in this draft at position 4, and he happens to be a great scheme fit.

I also think when you stack Pitts and Sewell side by side over the long haul, Pitts wins hands down.

Sewell fell for a reason. He wasn't #4 worthy. He's also a bit of a project that relied on great athleticism which won't carry nearly as much weight in the NFL.

I think he'll be better over time, but it'll probably take him a year to be decent.

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Posted (edited)
19 hours ago, xSICKxWITHxITx said:

Sewell was going to play what for us? Just like we needed a QB?

This is a nonsensical argument.  They could have let him play LG or RT until he is better than Matthews.  We had a need for a starting OL.  Why not take the best OL in the draft and figure it out.  It is what it is at this point and Pitts is a Falcon and I will root for him so I will quit talking about it.  

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16 hours ago, autigerfan said:

This is a nonsensical argument.  They could havel et him play LG or RT until he is better than Matthews.  We had a need for a starting OL.  Why not take the best OL in the draft and figure it out.  It is what it is at this point and Pitts is a Falcon and I will root for him so I will quit talking about it.  

Take a T to play G at 4? We don’t need a RT and you can get good Gs later like we did. Matthews has to many good years left.

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22 hours ago, autigerfan said:

I know as a fan's take is often biased with the tenor of the board vascilating from utopia to being overly pessimistic based on how the team has played recently.  With that being said, I think I'm generally pretty even keeled with a slight bent towards cautious optimism with this team.  Below are my assessments to each pick with grade.

Overall A  Fontenot and company found good value with most of their selections and also addressed some holes on the roster.  I could see upwards of 5 starters emerging from this draft class within 3 years time. 

1st Round - Kyle Pitts.  B  I'm giving this pick a B because there wasn't a player at any of our biggest needs (EDGE, S, DL) worthy of being drafted here and we picked my likely #2 choice if we stayed put.  Once we re-structured Matty Ice's contract, we were really on left with taking the best position player available or trading down to acquire more picks.  To me the choice to be made was stay at #4 and draft Sewell because to me, he's Orlando Pace.  You shouldn't pass on elite left tackles in this league, even if you have a very good one in Jake Matthews.  You also have to agree that our blocking was horrific and even if you give Matt Ryan another toy to throw to it may not help things much this year.  Now the Pitts pick can work out, but it is more about him elevating the entire offense to a level that is 2016'esque than the pure stats he puts up as a player.  If he puts up 1100+ yards with 10 TD's but our offense still stalls in the Red Zone  or can't control the ball in the 2nd half then it will still be a disappointment.  If we are one of the top 5 offenses due in some part to Pitts and Matty gets a championship to finish his career then it works out in our favor.

2nd Round - Richie Grant.  A  Grant will instantly become our best all-around safety since Eugene Robinson.  He should be a rookie starter and this is a huge area of need for the team.  They were also able to trade down 5 spots and pick up an extra fourth so additional props for Fontenot and company for their first draft in the ATL.  

3rd Round - Jalen Mayfield.  A- Some had Mayfield as a possible 1st rounder, but I believe his position (RT) and low relative number of games played caused him to slip to Round 3.  I think Mayfield could be in the conversation at LG year one, but probably becomes our swing tackle and then taking over as a starter at LG or RT in year 2. 

4th Round - Darren Hall.  B-  Hall is a player I had my eye on, but I thought he could be had in the 5th round or later.  He has a nice blend of size and athleticism and comes from a program that has a pedigree for developing NFL caliber talent for the next level. 

4th Round - Drew Dalman.  A  Dalman has the best chance to be a rookie starter outside of Pitts and Grant.  He has NFL bloodlines and played at a program that prepares players mentally for the NFL rigors.  Centers have shown an ability to overcome their lack of size if they play in a zone scheme like ours so I think he can be successful as a year 1 starter. 

5th Round - Ta'Quon Graham.  C+  Not really on my radar as a prospect but he should compete for a roster spot with Cominsky.  He is kind of a tweener between tackle and base end so he makes sense for Pees potentially employing multiple fronts.  He seems like a hard worker and has a good motor. 

5th Round - Adetokunbo Ogundeji.  B Another guy that wasn't really on my radar but was productive with decent athletic traits to think he could crack the rotation and become a serviceable starter down the line. 

5th Round - Avery Williams.  D  I was not familiar with him during the evaluation process but considering he seems to be a special teams only player and we just signed Patterson, it seems as if we may have just drafted another teams kick returner.  We could have used a lower selection or UDFA for kick returning depth.  

6th Round - Frank Darby.  B+ This is just the type of player you pick in the later rounds.  He has the traits to be an NFL caliber wide receiver but didn't put it all together during college and injuries may have played a part as well.  He could be a real sleeper pick for us. 

 

Notable UDFA Signings

Feleipe Franks A+  This is a great roll of the dice as I had him as a draftable prospect with his NFL caliber size and athleticism at the position.  His accuracy also improved upon moving onto  Arkansas.  Good developmental QB and potential long-term backup option. 

Javian Hawkins A  I wasn't big on Hawkins due to his lack of size but he has the talent to carve out a role as a Darren Sproles type of player if used correctly.  Worth taking a flier on in UDFA. 

Caleb Huntley B+  He wasn't uber productive in college but seems to have some Alfred Morris to his game and could surprise if given an opportunity. 

Erroll Thompson A  He projected as a draftable prospect but the pro day athleticism numbers did not enamor it seems.  He could make the team as a backup and special teamer with the potential to crack the rotation at linebacker in time. 

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