The Falcons selected two cornerbacks in this year’s NFL Draft – Kendall Sheffield and Jordan Miller – yet ESPN still believes the position is Atlanta’s biggest remaining hole.
In a recent piece detailing the top remaining need for each NFL team, ESPN’s Andrew Potter provided his thoughts for the NFC South and why cornerback is Atlanta’s most glaring need at this point.
“The Falcons came into the offseason with two major goals: plug glaring holes in the defensive front seven and rebuild their offensive line,” Potter writes. “Veteran free agent Tyeler Davison and the returning Adrian Clayborn help immensely with the first of those, whereas the team spent massive amounts of draft capital on the second. That leaves cornerback as the most obvious area of uncertainty: Isaiah Oliver made only two starts in his rookie season but is now first in line to start opposite Desmond Trufant. The vital nickelback spot is a contest between a recently converted safety (Damontae Kazee), a career backup with one start in three years (Blidi Wreh-Wilson), and two developmental late-round rookies in Kendall Sheffield and Jordan Miller. Even if one of those players develops quickly into a worthy starter, depth in the secondary remains a clear issue. Atlanta only needs to look back a single season to see just how important that can be.”
Atlanta took steps to add to their depth in the secondary in the draft, but the Falcons are relying on a lot of youth at the position. Still, Kazee is an example of how things can break the right way with young players, but there is still risk involved.
The Falcons made three trades in this year’s NFL Draft, each one to move up in the draft order. But how do those three trades stack up compared to all of the other trades made during draft weekend? CBS Sports’ R.J. White ranked all 40 of the trades made in the draft, and the Falcons fared pretty well overall. In White’s opinion, Atlanta had the 32nd-, 26th- and ninth-best trades in the draft.
The lowest rated trade was the Falcons’ decision to move up in the fourth round to grab Kendall Sheffield, the 26th-rated trade was Atlanta move to grab John Cominsky and the team’s best trade was the move back into the first round to draft Kaleb McGary.
“While Kaleb McGary wasn’t as big of a steal as the three players we just mentioned, the Falcons got him for a steal rather than overpaying in the deal, and that’s before you factor in landing the fifth-year option,” White writes. “It would have been better if an impact defensive lineman had been there to grab, but the Falcons deserve credit for the value of this trade anyway.”