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Atlanta Falcons 2015 NFL Draft Grades

Posted By: Chris Ransom on 5/18/2015

Atlanta Falcons 2015 NFL Draft Grades

Chris Ransom grades the Atlanta Falcons 2015 NFL Draft. Does Atlanta have a bright future after drafting sack artist Vic Beasley with the eighth pick in the 2015 NFL Draft?

8. Vic Beasley, RE, Clemson A Grade

It won't matter if Vic Beasley starts at right outside linebacker or right end due to his lack of size. Either way he will be a disruptive, Pro Bowl sack artist that gives left tackles hell even if he happens to be lined up at the weak side at the next level.

Having 13 sacks in 2013 and 11 sacks in 2014 with better hand placement off the snap helps. Beasley dominated his NFL Combine and Clemson's Pro Day and played like a top 5 draft pick.

Atlanta added Justin Durant and Brooks Reed as outside linebackers in Free Agency to compliment Paul Worrilow on the inside at middle linebacker. That means that Beasley will most likely start at the LEO as a 4-3 right end that goes up against left tackles.

That's good for Atlanta since Beasley is exactly the kind of player they needed. Having the ability to stop the run and drop back into coverage also helps. Beasley will continue to add muscle until he has the necessary size to play 4-3 right end even if he does have a rookie season. Over time Beasley will be a Pro Bowl pass rusher up front which does not bode well for Terron Armstead, Michael Oher, or Donovan Smith assuming any of those left tackles keep their jobs after 2016.

42. Jalen Collins, CB, LSU A- Grade

I originally gave this pick a B+ grade because I thought Collins would play free safety and hated his coverage on tape. I moved it up to an A- grade because Atlanta found a second starting cornerback and that's a good thing when you consider that cornerback is a much harder position to play than free safety. Collins did have an awesome game against Amari Cooper in 2014, and that may be why he rose on draft boards.

Jalen Collins is a guy on the secondary with the versatility to play cornerback, strong safety, or free safety. He has the versatility to play anywhere on the secondary and has an uncanny ability to blitz the quarterback.

I thought Atlanta would draft him as a free safety. It turns out that the Falcons want him to be a boundary cornerback across from 2013 first round pick Desmond Truant with Robert Alford going back to nickel cornerback. I like Alford as a boundary cornerback. Having Alford as a nickel cornerback will make it tough for teams with 3 wide receiver sets to throw against Atlanta when they call nickel packages.

When you consider the value Collins provides here this is a good pick. Still other guys like P.J. Williams, Ronald Darby, and Alex Carter were left. The only reason I liked this pick was because Collins had the versatility to play other safety positions. I'm not sure if Collins works out at cornerback, but we will see what happens in 2015 when Jalen lines up in the boundary role.

73. Tevin Coleman, RB, Indiana A Grade

Tevin Coleman is an awesome value pick in the third round. I originally gave this an A+ grade, but the Falcons are really high on Devonta Freeman, a running back they drafted out of Florida State in 2014. Coleman should be the week 1 starter, but the fact that he has to compete against Freeman for the starting job bumps this down from an A+ grade to an A grade in the third round.

Even if Freeman gets the starting job, he will split an equal amount of carries with Coleman. Freeman split carries with two other running backs at Florida State. There's a chance the Falcons feel uneasy about Coleman following his injuries leading up to the 2015 NFL Draft, which may be the reason why Freeman is the projected starting running back on the depth chart at this time.

Still, this was an awesome pick. Atlanta got excellent value in the third round with Tevin Coleman. Jacksonville took a two down back in T.J. Yeldon in the second round. Atlanta got a 3 down back in Tevin Coleman, but Coleman may begin his career splitting carries with Devonta Freeman if the Falcons are sold on Freeman as well.

107. Justin Hardy, WR, East Carolina A+ Grade

Justin Hardy will be an awesome addition to the Atlanta Falcons as a slot receiver. He had 3 seasons with over 1,000 receiving yards at East Carolina. Hardy can start out in the slot and develop into a #2 receiver when Roddy White is no longer on the roster.

137. Grady Jarrett, DT, Clemson C Grade

Grady Jarrett doesn't fill a position of need. He's already listed as a backup defensive tackle for depth on the roster when many believed he'd be a third stringer due to the Falcons depth at defensive tackle. When you consider that the Falcons lost 3 defensive tackles in Free Agency this should not come as a surprise.

Jarrett has the versatility to play 4-3 defensive tackle, 3-4 right end, 3-4 nose tackle, or 3-4 left end. The 6-1 304 lb run stuffer will be a backup to Paul Soliai with Rashede Hageman finally starting across from Soliai in year 2 after being a 2014 second round pick.

225. Jake Rodgers, LT, Eastern Washington C Grade

Atlanta has Jake Matthews and Ryan Schraeder as their starting offensive tackles at left tackle and right tackle in 2015. Schraeder emerged as a quality starting right tackle in 2014.

Sam Baker will be back at full health. Baker will be a backup left tackle with Lamar Holmes being demoted from a starter heading into the 2014 season to a backup right tackle role.

Jake Rodgers has the versatility to play both left tackle and right tackle. Regardless of which position he plays he will be the #5 offensive tackle on the Falcons roster if he makes the Falcons 53-man roster. The uncertainty about Rodgers making this roster is why the Falcons got a C grade here.

249. Akeem King, SS, San Jose State D Grade

Akeem King is a third string strong safety on the Falcons roster. What's even more laughable is that Atlanta passed on Ole Miss strong safety Cody Prewitt who can also play free safety. Prewitt went undrafted, and King looks like he will get cut before the start of the regular season.

It's too early to say if King makes the final roster. He will have to beat out Kemal Ishmael for the backup strong safety job. I feel like King can do that which is why the Falcons got a D grade instead of an F grade here.

Atlanta Falcons Team Grade: A Grade

Atlanta had an awesome draft and got 4 starters with their first 4 picks. You could argue for giving the Falcons an A+ grade, but I disagree there because they could have drafted a tight end, left guard, or free safety with one of their day 3 picks.

We still don't know whether Beasley plays right end or right outside linebacker with his size even though he's more likely to play the LEO at defensive end. Jalen Collins would have been a better pick if he was a free safety. Tevin Coleman may be a #2 back behind Devonta Freeman. Finally Justin Hardy will begin his career as a slot receiver, so there's no telling how many opportunities Hardy gets in year 1.

Even though the Falcons didn't get an A+ grade, they addressed a majority of key needs and framed themselves as the team to beat in the NFC South after Drew Brees retires. A majority of their players don't have expiring contracts until 2019. With that stability, I think they have a chance to make a Super Bowl in the next 5 years if everyone sticks around assuming Dan Quinn remains the head coach.

Atlanta does have the NFL's easiest schedule in 2015. I still think this is a 7-9 team in Dan Quinn's first season despite some excellent picks. I think the Saints will make a comeback this season, but in a year from now Atlanta will have enough experience to have another big season like the one they had in 2012-2013 right before the new Falcons Stadium opens in 2017.

Atlanta Falcons 2014 NFL Draft Grades

Posted By Chris Ransom on 5/13/2014

Chris Ransom breaks down the Falcons 2014 NFL Draft grades.

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