The Dan Quinn era for the Atlanta Falcons is off to a tremendous start. After an 8-8 record in Year 1, Quinn lead the Falcons to back-to-back playoff berths, winning at least 10 games in each of the past two seasons. Atlanta won the NFC championship in 2016 and while a return visit wasn’t in the cards last year, Atlanta still managed to win a playoff game before losing to the eventual Super Bowl champion Philadelphia Eagles.
With general manager Thomas Dimitroff, the Falcons have been built into a perennial contender in the NFC. But with the rise of the Eagles, Vikings and Rams with the 49ers poised to compete, Atlanta must continue to add and replace pieces to remain a contender in an ultra-competitive conference.
Round 1, pick 26: Vita Vea, DT, Washington
With Dontari Poe, Courtney Upshaw and Ahtyba Rubin set to become free agents, the Falcons must solidify the position alongside Grady Jarrett. Vea would add 6-foot-5 and 340 pounds of beef to the middle of the Falcons’ defense. Not only is he a massive man, but he has impressive movement skills for his size.
From a size and power perspective, Vea would fit well clogging up running lanes and rushing the passer in the Falcons’ defense. His size and strength allow him to take on double teams and control the line of scrimmage.
Round 2, pick 58: Wyatt Teller, G, Virginia Tech
A 43-game starter in the ACC, Teller enters the NFL with plug-and-play upside for an offensive line in need of help on the interior.
Virginia Tech prioritized utilizing Teller as a frontside blocker to open running lanes. Tech pulled him from the backside to make him a playside lead blocker and move the pocket to provide additional blockers to the side of the rollout. How the Hokies “ran the offense through him” speaks volumes about his ability.
Teller offers power and mobility along with his ideal stature.
Round 3, pick 90: Chad Thomas, DE, Miami
Thomas offers a blend of length, power, burst and flexibility that gives him considerable upside as a pass rusher both outside and from the interior. While he needs technical development, Thomas’s toolbox is full and offers a high ceiling should he develop.
Thomas can be part of the replacement plan for Adrian Clayborn and Courtney Upshaw, who both have expired contracts.
Round 4, pick 122: Cedrick Wilson, WR, Boise State
Wilson has the play speed, route-running nuance, hands and ability after the catch to win at all levels of the field from either the slot or outside. In two seasons at Boise State, Wilson tallied 139 receptions for 2,640 yards and 18 touchdowns while averaging nearly 19 yards per catch. After playing quarterback in high school and only two FBS seasons at wide receiver, Wilson has room to grow.
Wilson would add a much-needed vertical threat to the offense.
Round 6, pick 186: Dimitri Flowers, FB, Oklahoma
An underrated loss for the Falcons last season was the free-agent departure of fullback Patrick DiMarco to the Bills. Flowers is a do-everything fullback who can carry the ball, catch and dominate as a blocker. He tallied nearly 500 scrimmage yards and scored nine touchdowns for the Sooners in 2017.
Round 7, pick 218: Daniel Carlson, K, Auburn
Matt Bryant is a 42-year-old free agent and it is time to identify his successor. Carlson has a booming leg and converted 13 field goals over 50 yards at a rate of 62 percent for his career. Carlson was a back-to-back SEC Special Teams Player of the Year and First Team All-SEC selection as a junior and senior.