The Falcons were decimated by injuries in 2018 which makes it all the more important for Atlanta to have a productive 2019 NFL Draft.
Injuries wrecked the Falcons’ 2018 campaign before it really got going. That means Atlanta has a strong chance of rebounding in a big way this season. If they’re going to reemerge as Super Bowl contenders, they have to draft the right guy with the No. 14 pick in the draft.
The good news for the Falcons is that they’re pretty much set on the offensive side of the ball. Matt Ryan and Julio Jones lead a star-studded group for head coach Dan Quinn. The team might look to find an upgrade at guard later in the draft, but it’s highly unlikely that’s the direction they’ll go in Round 1.
Things on the other side of the ball will require significant attention. The most pressing need the Falcons have is to strengthen their ability to rush the passer from the defensive line. Grady Jarrett is currently under the franchise tag which means his days in Atlanta could be numbered. Vic Beasley enjoyed one great season at defensive end, but otherwise has been average at best. The Falcons should look to take advantage of the deep group of defensive lineman projected to go in Round 1.
The question really boils down to which guy Quinn feels like can emerge as a real star. This piece starts with a defensive tackle they’d love to see last long enough to head their way.
5. Ed Oliver
Early mock drafts loved the idea of slotting Oliver to the Falcons at No. 14. Unfortunately for Quinn and his coaching staff, the former Houston star’s most recent workouts have his draft stock on the rise. It would not be a major surprise to see him available when Atlanta goes on the clock.
If somehow he does slip this far, Quinn should sprint to the podium to make the pick. He’s a guy who can slot in next to Jarrett immediately at tackle or end. The bottom line is that Oliver is a playmaker who can get to the quarterback. The Falcons need a player like him desperately.