Round 1- LEO Vic Beasley, Clemson
My affinity for Vic Beasley isn’t exactly a secret. This isn’t a discussion of being a #firster but here is a piece I wrote on Beasley nearly 2 years ago: http://draftmecca.com/newslink.php?id=25
So it’s fair to say that it was pretty awesome to see this pick come to fruition. In fact, I think that article’s age shows itself a bit. While much of it is still true, I like trying to put players on an outcome/comparison spectrum. With Beasley naturally improving over the rest of his career, and then adding weight/strength for the combine, I now believe his outcome range is as follows:
Low: Bruce Irvin
Mid/Most Likely: Clay Matthews
High: Von Miller
If there’s one question to ask here, it is if he can hold up as full time LEO. He’s likely best suited for a Von Miller role (SLB who kicks to EDGE in passing situations), but it’s not something I’m really going to fret about considering just how good of a pass rusher he is.
Round 2-CB Jalen Collins, LSU
Collins is an interesting one. My first viewing of him, I wasn’t overly impressed. He by no means technically advanced and I thought his ball skills kinda sucked. However, when I came back to rewatching him, I liked him a lot more. He’s a long, powerful player with natural fluidity. In a lot of ways, I was reminded of Xavier Rhodes. I didn’t give Rhodes enough credit coming out, and he’s developed into a stud.
Collins probably won’t ever develop into a #1, but he won’t have to with Des Trufant on the Falcons roster. He’s too big, fast, and physical to not be at least a decent player. The Collins pick also means the Falcons can kick Robert Alford in to NB. Further, it’s something that doesn’t need to be thought about right away, but seeing CBs in FA, there’s a real good chance Alford will cash in to a deal that’s probably a poor value. Atlanta just added some extra insurance in that case, at the absolute least.
Round 3- RB Tevin Coleman
It’s not a secret that I really didn’t want Coleman. Especially ahead of Duke Johnson. To go back to the player outcome spectrum, I thought this was very fair:
Low: Felix Jones
Mid: Jahvid Best
The problem is that I happened to get a Felix Jones vibe way more than I did a CJ2K vibe. However, if we want to look at positives: his burst is unreal and his stride is very natural. He plays a lot like McFadden at Arkansas, but has better vision than McFadden could have ever dreamed of. But, Coleman does have that McFadden like build where he’s never going to generate power, and he’s not going to break many tackles. The Falcons haven’t disguised their running game plan: it’s going to be a ton of outside zone. To me, I think that’s probably going to be a bit too much for Coleman. It seemed like the team just fell in love with his speed. I do not see it ending well, but I can’t deny that Coleman has the talent to be an upper echelon back.
Round 4-WR Justin Hardy
I’ve been campaigning for moving Roddy White to the slot, but it’s clear that’s just not happening. Hardy certainly isn’t Roddy’s replacement, but he’s an instant upgrade over Harry Douglas. There’s not a ton for me to say about Hardy. He’s really good, but he’s obviously limited greatly due to his size/lack of speed. He’s basically Jarvis Landry…which is a very good value for a 4th Round Pick.
Round 5-DT Grady Jarrett
I don’t know of anyone who has watched him play and doesn’t love him. The fact that he fell this far (if no medical) is silly. A few years ago, the Seahawks drafted Jordan Hill from Penn State and Jarrett reminds me a good deal of him. He’s a spark plug who’s extremely active and disruptive. I think in an ideal world, Jarrett isn’t a starter, but you take advantage of the fact that he can cause problems from 1T or 3T. I think having him get right around 50% of defensive snaps is perfect.
No one can really speak on the 7th Round picks, but after stealing Jarrett, who cares anyway.
The Falcons killed this draft. I’m not sure who deserves the most credit (Quinn, Dimitroff, or Pioli), but it appears that the Falcons actually have a clear vision for building their roster now, and it’s highly refreshing.