The Atlanta Falcons have a long way to go before becoming competitive once again. However, the front office has laid down a solid foundation to build upon as the franchise aims to get back to title contentions in the future. They made some noise in the 2022 NFL Draft, which means it’s time to give grades for each pick made.
Atlanta had seven total selections in the draft. The front office reeled in five offensive players and two defensive prospects. It was a solid weekend for the Falcons, as they addressed some needs for the roster while acquiring decent talent. If most of these prospects can develop, then this franchise will be in a good spot moving forward.
With that said, here are our 2022 NFL Draft grades for the Falcons.
Atlanta Falcons NFL Draft Grades
Round 1 Pick 8 Overall – Drake London: A+
The Falcons’ wide receiver core was a jumbled mess entering the NFL Draft. With Calvin Ridley suspended for the 2022 season, the front office needed to find a competent replacement. In comes Drake London, who is arguably the top prospect receiver this year.
He’s a big-bodied red zone threat that will only help the Falcons’ offense improve. Having him paired up with Kyle Pitts is a recipe for success. Atlanta has set themselves up with some nice weapons that should pan out down the road.
Round 2 Pick 38 Overall – Arnold Ebiketie: A+
This defense was one of the worst last season, especially when rushing the quarterback. The Falcons only had 18 sacks total, which isn’t ideal. Now, Arnold Ebiketie joins the team and he is likely to make an immediate impact. He has all of the tools necessary to be a star in the NFL and will have the opportunity to shine in Atlanta.
He has the size, strength, and speed to be a legitimate monster on the defensive line. Ebiketie is the type of player that was missing from the Falcons’ roster last season. He still needs some time to adjust to the professional level, but there is no reason to believe he will fail in the NFL. For that reason, he has a solid grade for this team in the NFL Draft.
Round 3 Pick 75 Overall – Desmond Ridder: B+
Marcus Mariota is likely going to be the starting quarterback for Atlanta in the 2022 season. Many speculated the Falcons would select a rookie in the first round. Instead, the front office found Desmond Ridder in round three, which was a solid selection. Ridder will have an opportunity to play, but he has an uphill climb being taken in round three.
We’ll see how it pans out. Desmond Ridder is in a solid situation to learn and improve his game during his rookie campaign. If he can develop for a year on the bench behind Marcus Mariota, then the Falcons might give him a chance to be the starter for the 2023 season. It depends how quickly Ridder learns though, as Atlanta would be wise to not rush the young prospect.
Round 3 Pick 82 Overall – DeAngelo Malone: A-
The Falcons double-dipped at pass rusher, which might have been the smartest decision to make. DeAngelo isn’t the same level of athlete as Arnold Ebiketie, but he has the potential to be a solid starter for years. Atlanta suddenly went from having EDGE rushers to having two solid prospects.
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Look for Malone to take his time entering the league at first. He might be in a rotational role to begin his career. However, if the rookie can develop his game quickly enough, the Falcons should give him more playing time. He was a great pick for Atlanta in the 2022 NFL Draft, which is why they get a high grade for selecting DeAngelo Malone.
Round 5 Pick 151 Overall: Tyler Allgeier: B-
The front office recently released Mike Davis, which opens up an opportunity for Tyler Allgeier. Even so, there is a reason he fell to the fifth round, as Allgeier is an average running back at best. He’s likely to serve as the main backup behind Cordarrelle Patterson. The rookie could surprise many with some strong performances throughout the season, but it’s more likely he is a filler for the running back group until Atlanta finds a star in the 2023 NFL Draft.
Round 6 Pick 190 Overall: Justin Shaffer: B+
Atlanta struggled in the trenches which resulted in Matt Ryan struggling last season. Mariota’s rushing ability will help mask that issue next season. However, the Falcons found a potential gem in Justin Shaffer. The young guard is a tough competitor who will likely be a backup. However, Atlanta needs depth within the trenches, making Shaffer an excellent pick for this club.
Round 6 Pick 213 Overall: John FitzPatrick: B
The tight end position is incredibly important for Arthur Smith’s scheme. John FitzPatrick is a blocking tight end who could earn a legitimate role right away. With Kyle Pitts serving as the main pass option, FitzPatrick can act as an extra blocker on the offensive line. Nothing about his game stands out, however, he is a perfect fit for the Falcons.