NFL, Football

Falcons Draft Recap

The Desmond Ridder era is officially upon us in Atlanta, for better or for worse. In many regards, the QB position heading into the offseason was at the very least a question mark. After the draft, it appears we have our answer. Desmond Ridder will be the Falcons QB for the 2023 season as the Falcons did not use any draft compensation pick on a QB. Because we decided to pass on any attempt to grab Lamar Jackson or draft a rookie (which would’ve been 2nd Rd pick Will Levis at 8), our front office was allowed to target best player available as well as needs on the back end to help fill out the roster with young depth or guys who can contribute right away.

#8 Overall Falcons Draft Pick – Bijan Robinson
  1. Bijan Robinson – with the 8th pick in the 2023 NFL Draft, the Atlanta Falcons drafted the next Falcons Pro Bowl Running Back. Ok, so I’ll slow the roll down a tad but when drafting a guy like Bijan at #8, the expectation has to be for him to make the Pro-Bowl, eventual All-Pro, and be a top 5 RB in the NFL sometime in the next 2-3 years. Bijan knows that and with it will come the pressure for him to deliver. He’s big, fast, quick, powerful, and can catch. In the past, I was a huge “Todd Gurley over Vic Beasley” guy and wanted us to draft Jonathon Taylor 2 years ago so to go with Bijan here is kind of like a dream come true personally. The only slight on this pick would be we also need to solidify our offensive line but Bijan should be our next “Burner Turner”-like impact runner and that’s a-ok with me.
  2. Matthew Bergeron – Speaking of needing to solidify the Offensive line, this pick uplifts the grade on the first round pick because left guard is a significant issue for us. In Theory, Bergeron will help the left side open up holes for Bijan to run behind efficiently while also giving Ridder more time in the pocket to make reads and get the ball out of his hand. After seeing the Cowboys debate between Bergeron and Mazi Smith at pick 26, I left to believe we got great value here on a guy that could’ve been a Day 1 pick. Also, this adds competition in camp to group that could use a boost in hunger.
  3. Zach Harrison – It’s nice that we drafted a big bodied guy who at the very least should serve as a stout rotational run defender. There should be some high future upside here after addressing a lot of defensive holes in Free Agency as he should be able to come in and learn how to be a pro from locker room guys like Calais Campbell and also rotate in with a defensive front that also includes Grady Jarrett, Bud Dupree, and David Onyemata. If he can come in and learn from the vets and improve his game then this could be a very nice day 2 pick.
  4. Clark Phillips III – a little secondary help never really hurt anyone and after losing CBs to injury last year it became apparent we needed some help with depth. We traded for Jeff Okudah and signed Mike Hughes in free agency so Phillips III should also help rotate in the slot at times. For a guy who was many analysts favorite depth CB in the draft there’s not much to dislike about a good value pick who adds depth for a position of need. Plus, if there’s ever a position for a 5’9” guy on the field, CB is a good place to have him.
  5. Demarco Hellams – Alabama Safety who hits. What’s not to like about a pick like this in the 7th round. Most 7th round guys aren’t difference makers but can play special teams so maybe we’ll see him light up a guy or 2 on kickoffs next year.
  6. Jovaughn Gwyn – Undersized guard but added line depth and we’ll see what we can get. Like most of the draft this year for us, he fits right in as a depth guy who should help bring competition to a position group of need and so what more could you realistically expect from a couple of 7th round guys from the SEC?

Ultimately, this wasn’t the sexiest of drafts but then again if you find drafts sexy we may not be on the same page.

This offseason has been one of adding competition and depth to areas of need. The Bijan pick is obviously the highlight and there are many reason for us going this route:

  • For one, Bijan spelled by Allgeier is one of the toughest 1,2 punches in the NFL and will help to wear down defenses over the course of the game
  • Having a strong run game helps take pressure off 2nd year QB and full-time starter Desmond Ridder by opening up the passing game when defenses cheat to stop the run or get caught up on play-action passes.
  • Being able to stay on the field longer and controlling time of possession will help keep the defense fresh and ready to get after it when back on the field, i.e. better pass rush
  • If we can use our size and strength to dictate games then it will go a long way to help us win football games, especially down the stretch heading into the back half of the schedule.

2023 should be a solid year for the Falcons and there is a lot of like about the draft. If Bijan and Bergeron can hit then we should be a +.500 team competing for the Division or Wild Card spot.

Ultimately, there’s not much to rate highly here except the expectation for things to go positively. As a fan, I’ll give them a B+ because I believe in “The Bijan Effect”. If I were unbiased then I’d give them a C+ because we’ll just have to wait and see how the rest of the Day 2 and 3 picks eventually turn out when the season comes around.



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