The Atlanta Falcons selected a total of 6 players during the 2018 NFL Draft. Starting out with wide receiver Calvin Ridley out of Alabama that will become the Falcons third wide receiver on the depth chart. Ridley will give the Falcons another deep threat outside of Julio Jones that could potentially take the top off of opposing defenses. With the departure of Taylor Gabriel, the Falcons needed a player who could win his match-up and allow for more one-on-one match-ups for Julio Jones to win and take the pressure off of him. Ridley is currently being compared to Indianapolis Colts legend Marvin Harrison.
With the 58th overall selection in the 2018 NFL Draft the Atlanta Falcons selected cornerback Isaiah Oliver out of Colorado.
Oliver has an impressive wingspan of 33 1/2 inches. This length allows him to contest a lot of jump balls which his film reflects. The Falcons have been looking for a cornerback to push Robert Alford inside to nickel for a while now. Jalen Collins would have been that guy but he did not pan out because of his off-the-field issues. Oliver was considered as a fringe first round talent which makes this pick even more impressive. Oliver should start alongside Desmond Trufant in nickel packages with Alford covering the slot receiver. This move would push Brian Poole to dime packages which would give the Atlanta Falcons some great cornerback depth.
In the 3rd round the Falcons selected defensive tackle Deadrin Senat out of South Florida.
Senat is built almost exactly like Grady Jarrett. Senat will immediately come in and play 1T in the base defense. Deadrin Senat ranked 2nd in PFF rankings for run stop percentage. Senat was also tied for 4th with 30 total run stops among this years defensive lineman. If replacing Dontari Poe was on your board this is exactly how you do it with this selection.
With the 120th overall pick the Atlanta Falcons selected running back Ito Smith from Southern Mississippi.
Smith is in the mold all three falcons running backs Devonta Freeman, Tevin Coleman, and formally Terron Ward. Smith is a shifty back that forced 182 missed tackles out of 829 total touches. Ito Smith is thought of to be the eventual replacement for Tevin Coleman who is in contract year. For this year, think of Smith as competition for the open returner spot the Falcons have and special teams support.
The Falcons traded their two 7th round selections to the Los Angeles Rams to move up into the 6th round. The two players they selected were wide receiver Russell Gage and hybrid linebacker/safety Foyesade Oluokun. Gage is a sort of a gadget player but appeared to be very good in that role. Gage is a converted cornerback so he may be put back at that position in the NFL if Dan Quinn sees fit. Dan Quinn is on record for converting wide receivers into cornerbacks with ex-Falcon C.J. Goodwin and current Falcon Deante Burton.Gage fits immediately as a special teams ace and an eventual 5th receiver on the depth chart. Foye is built in the Kemal Ishmael mold as a player who can play safety but come down and hit when asked. According to sources Foye will be tried out at multiple positions including offense. Foye is a jack of all trades master of none type of player. Look for Oluokun to be purely special teams depth in his first season as an Atlanta Falcon.
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