Getting Calvin Ridley in the first round of the draft was a huge success for the Atlanta Falcons. However, a draft is not made by one round but seven rounds. The Falcons needed to back up that Ridley pick on day 2. They still had a need at defensive tackle to fill and a general need for some depth pieces on the defense.
Round 2: Isaiah Oliver, CB, Colorado
The defensive backfield is not a place that the Falcons needed immediate improvement. However, this was good value for Oliver as the 8th corner taken so the pick makes sense to me. Oliver was impressive in the combine but the knock on him is he doesn’t play up to his skill set. He has length, size, good ball skills and decent range thanks to good movement. He played mostly in press man coverage for Colorado during his career and will need to work on zone coverage.
In the early part of his career he will likely cover the slot receiver while the Falcons refine his skills. The upside for Oliver is that he could take on good receivers one-on-one and is used to being on his own in man coverage. Oliver could easily be a starter early in career and could possibly be the Falcons first choice in three corner packages as early as this year. There is every chance he could develop into a number one, stud cornerback.
Round 3: Deadrin Senat, DT, South Florida
This pick took me totally by surprise and honestly he was a defensive tackle I had not considered pre-draft. The reason for that is that many had him projected in the fifth or sixth round rather than the third. My assumption was that the Falcons would get a defensive tackle in the first three rounds and Senat would not be on their board that early. Senat stood out to scouts at the East-West Shrine game and clearly caught the Falcons eye.
He has a good burst which allows him to make tackles for loss and can disguise his lack of height and length. He is a tough defender to move and should be a guy who can engage and eat up blockers. This pick is a surprise to me as many evaluators felt he was at best a rotational piece and not a starter. With Grady Jarrett and Jack Crawford in place he doesn’t have to be an immediate starter. However, for me there were more talented defensive tackles still on the board, including R.J. McIntosh and Maurice Hurst. Despite his injury problems I would have gambled on the upside of Hurst who is tumbling down the draft. This pick indicates two things to me; the Falcons probably aren’t done picking defensive tackles in this draft and they clearly think Crawford can be a starter for them this year.
Day 3 preview
The Falcons have filled their most immediate needs at defensive tackle and wide receiver. However, I do think they take another defensive tackle to add depth. It is possible they could add McIntosh or Hurst in the fourth round to challenge as a starter this year. The other position they need to be immediately finding depth is linebacker where they seem thin on the ground across the board. I would not be surprised if they draft a full back or a tight end to come in and compete.
The Falcons are in a luxury position of being able to go best player available in the late rounds. They can take their pick of players they like who they will hope to develop. So far, it has generally been a good draft for the Falcons with just one slight head scratcher. Hopefully they can round this draft off with solid selections on day 3.