After a disappointing season, the Atlanta Falcons have improved their roster through the 2021 draft.
It wasn’t a surprise to many that the Falcons drafted Florida tight end Kyle Pitts with the fourth overall pick. Pitts was one of the most hyped prospects in the draft and is recognized by NFL analysts as a generational talent at the tight end position.
He will add some much-needed firepower for the Falcon’s offense, especially with wide receiver Julio Jones being traded to the Tennessee Titans.
In addition to Pitts, the Falcons looked to improve their offense by protecting quarterback Matt Ryan. The Falcons selected Michigan offensive lineman Jalen Mayfield with the 68th overall pick in the third round. The six-foot-five, 328-pound offensive lineman played three seasons with Michigan and in 18 games he only allowed two sacks.
Matt Ryan was the fifth most sacked quarterback last season with being sacked a total of 41 times. The offensive line was an area that needed to be addressed.
Later on in the draft, the Falcons looked to improve the defense and specifically the pass rush. In the fifth round, they selected Texas defensive lineman Ta’Quon Graham. At six-foot-four, 268-pounds, the four-year defensive lineman played 48 career games with 24 starts. Last season, he started all nine games, recording 23 tackles, including seven for a loss, 2.0 sacks, two QB hits and one fumble recovery.
With the 182nd pick in the fifth round, the Falcons drafted outside linebacker Adetokunbo Ogundeji. In four seasons at Notre Dame, Ogundeji totaled 80 tackles, including 17 for a loss, 13 sacks, six forced fumbles and two fumble recoveries.
The Falcons also looked to improve their secondary and selected Boise State CB Avery Williams who was the 183rd overall pick. The Pasadena, Calif., native recorded 152 tackles, 26 passes defended, four interceptions and five fumble recoveries in his four seasons.
The last pick in the draft was Arizona State WR Frank Darby with the 187th pick in the 6th round. At six-foot-one, 200 pounds, Darby played 40 career games, totaling 67 receptions for 1,317 yards and 13 touchdowns. In 2020, Darby posted six receptions for 46 yards and one touchdown in three games as he was limited due to a rib injury and a shortened offseason because of the COVID-19 pandemic.