The Atlanta Falcons had a tough season a year ago in Arthur Smith’s first year at the helm of an NFL franchise.
That’s to be expected, but there were some extremely exciting pieces that came out of the team’s 7-10 season that should make fans excited for the future. Mainly, tight end Kyle Pitts showed that he’s just as good as advertised and proved that he has the ability to be a superstar in the league just like he was in the college ranks.
But the team still has plenty of needs to fill with their best defender headed off to another team and an aging quarterback in Matt Ryan. Fortunately, the team has a high overall first Draft pick as well as a total of eight picks, so they have the ability to package those to move up more if they want.
Here’s a full breakdown of the eight picks they have and some of the team’s biggest needs heading into the NFL Draft.
2022 Draft Picks
The Falcons are certainly going to need a quarterback with Ryan moving on to Indianapolis. The team also could use a running back to help out Cordarrelle Patterson deal with an excessive workload that he saw last season. He was fantastic, but that workload could take a toll on him down the stretch of a season. They’re also in need of a dynamic wide receiver after Calvin Ridley was suspended for a year for betting on NFL games.
The team could definitely use a replacement at middle linebacker for Foyesade Oluokun, who led the NFL in tackles a season ago. They also need a good edge rusher or two. The Falcons sacked the opposing quarterback just 18 times last season, by far the fewest number of times in the league.
Dream first pick
Jermaine Johnson II, EDGE — Florida State
After serving as a rotational player at Georgia, Johnson transferred to FSU and had an incredible one season as a starter. he finished the 2021 season with 11.5 sacks and 17.5 tackles for loss. He also forced two fumbles, recovered a fumble for a TD and deflected two passes.
Having that kind of production in just one year as a starter had him skyrocket up draft boards. He may be a bit of a project with such little playing time under his belt, but he has the strength, size and athleticism to be a top-tier pass rusher in the NFL.