It’s always a little tricky following the draft for the casual fan, especially once you reach the later rounds. For each of the NFC South teams, we have put together a little overview of the newest members of each team and what impact they will make.
Instant Starters – Chris Lindstrom (RG) & Kaleb McGary (RT)
The Falcons made it clear in the first round what kind of team they want to be in 2019 by becoming more imposing up front. Lindstrom and McGary will be tasked with making sure Matt Ryan stays clean. The Falcons clearly feel that if Ryan feels comfortable in the pocket he will return to 2016 form and a run late into the playoffs is on the horizon.
It looks as though the Falcons reached with these two picks slightly but they knew what they wanted – an athletic Guard capable of attacking the second level in the run game and cover big gaps in the pass game in Lindstrom and a big mauling Tackle in the run game in McGary, drafting this pairwas as much to help Devonta Freeman as Matt Ryan. As you would expect with first rounders, both are upgrades and will strengthen the starting right side of the line for the Falcons, though McGary may move to Left Guard in future. For now though, the Falcons have a mix of youth, experience and raw talent on an imposing offensive line.
Sub-package player – Kendall Sheffield (CB)
If the talent was available in the early to mid-first round, corner is the position that the Falcons likely would have targeted. This was a pick based more on potential than past performance. Sheffield is a corner with rare athletic ability but lacks the ball skills to cover receivers one on one. The former Ohio State corner will likely start off playing in dime sub packages but he is a developmental prospect that the Falcons hope can become a Patrick Peterson type in time, rather than a proven middle of the road corner. Then again, you can’t teach speed.
Roster bubble flyer – John Cominsky (DE)
Comisky is a promising 3-4 end in the run game, but lacks the moves to beat offensive line when rushing the passer. Having allowed 2000 yards against the run in 2018, Comisky’s speed and physicality could be a threat in rush defence, as well as on special teams. The defensive end out of Charleston is a smart player built in the Dimitroff mould but ultimately he needs to work on his pass rush skills to earn a spot on the roster above Steven Means and Chris Odom – and special team ability is always a factor in those decisions.
Roster bubble flyer – Qadree Ollison (RB)
The Falcons will hope that Ollison can be a change of pace back and add depth behind Devonta Freeman and Ito Smith. The Pittsburgh alum has an upright style and can make big yards after contact if you don’t get him to the round. Ollison has a strong stiff arm, good balance and crucially doesn’t put the ball on the ground but ultimately there will be a lot of competition to be one of the Falcons four rushers on the roster, with Kenjon Barner, Brian Hill, Jeremy Langford and Ricky Ortiz also in the mix.
Backup – Jordan Miller (CB)
Miller is a promising player who the Falcons will look to develop. He has a lot of potential to bump and run, press cover, tracking downfield and attacks the ball well. Miller could be the long term option on this roster, particularly compared to Kendall Sheffield, but he does need to bulk up – and play at a bigger weight – if he is to be a regular contributor on defence. With his ball skills, Miller should see the field this season but improving play strength is a priority
Roster bubble flyer – Marcus Green (WR)
The Falcons want to replace Taylor Gabriel, a speed slot receiver that makes defenders pay attention as Marcus Green can run a sub 4.4 40 yard dash. Green’s problem is the Falcons have a more versatile ‘Swiss army knife’ slot in Mohamed Sanu. Green is fast, gets up to top speed quickly. Even better, he is happy to play over the middle, giving the Falcons a deep threat as well as an option who can make things happen in space. Another element Marcus Green has to his game is return ability which could be key to him making the roster. He needs to improve his route running and his hands are inconsistent but when he catches the ball he is a threat to score from anywhere. If the Falcons can make him a consistent threat, Green could be the perfect decoy for Julio Jones and Calvin Ridley.
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