Fit with the Atlanta Falcons
As previously stated, though cornerback is definitely a need for the Atlanta Falcons, it has not been thought to be the most pressing need for the team. Yet as the offseason has progressed, there have been some signings made that would signal that perhaps cornerback has moved up on the pecking order. Defensive tackle has been widely believed to be one of the team’s biggest needs, however with the recent signings of Tyler Davison from division rival New Orleans and the return of Ra’Shede Hageman to the club after a two-year hiatus from the NFL, the urgency to select a defensive tackle in round one, is not as pressing.
The offensive line is certainly and area that must improve from last season. Knowing this, the team spent money to bring in guards Jamon Brown and James Carpenter via free agency. Atl All Day has the story on those signings in this article. Those two signings eliminate the need to draft a guard in round one. Ty Sambrailo is slated to take over at right tackle, for the recently released Ryan Schraeder. That is certainly an area that Atlanta can stand to strengthen. Jonah Williams of Alabama is a possible Atlanta Falcons first round pick. The analysis of his game can be found by clicking on this article. Cody Ford of Oklahoma is another candidate. Information on him can be viewed here.
Edge rusher is another area that the Atlanta Falcons must strengthen. Atlanta is set at the starting spots, with the return of last year’s starters Vic Beasley and Takk McKinley. In this article, I question rather Vic Beasley was worth retaining. The return of Adrian Clayborn helps to lessen the blow, of Atlanta native Bruce Irvin taking his talents to the division rival Carolina Panthers. However after registering only 2.5 sacks last season in New England, Adrian may actually be better sited to replace Brooks Reed or Derrick Shelby as a first down, edge setting run defender.
A case can definitely be made that the Falcons should take an edge rusher before a cornerback. Particularly with Vic Beasley being in a make or break contract year. Especially should an edge rusher like Montez Sweat of Mississippi State is still on the board at pick 14. I wrote about Sweat’s strengths and weaknesses here. Another candidate for the Atlanta Falcons, would be Clelin Ferrell of Clemson who we broke down here. Brian Burns of Florida State is also a possibility. Read all about Burns in this article.
Though I rank offensive tackle and edge rusher as greater needs for the Atlanta Falcons than cornerback, should the team’s top choices at those positions be off the board when the Atlanta Falcons pick and Greedy Williams is still sitting there, his potential may just be too much for the Atlanta Falcons to pass up. In fact D. Orlando Ledbetter of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution has the Atlanta Falcons drafting Greedy Williams in his latest mock draft.
Though the Atlanta Falcons have Isaiah Oliver and Damontae Kazee to replace Robert Alford and Brian Poole, Kazee will de depended on to move back to safety, should either Ricardo Allen or Keanu Neal suffer a setback in their returns from injuries. Should Greedy Williams be selected by Atlanta, he would likely compete with Oliver and Kazee for the second and third cornerback slots. Desmond Trufant seems to be firmly entrenched as the starting right cornerback in the base defense. However the Atlanta Falcons having a bigger cornerback like Oliver and possibly Williams, should experiment with using Trufant as a slot cornerback, when there are three or four corners on the field.
Adding Williams on the opposite side of the six-foot tall Oliver, would give coach Dan Quinn two big cornerbacks playing on the outside, for the first time since he left Seattle. This would allow the Falcons to play much more press man to man coverage, as well as press coverage on the outsides of the cover three zone that Quinn likes to play. Selecting Greedy Williams would give the Atlanta Falcons the ability to move on from Desmond Trufant in the near future, should he not return to his elite pre-injury form. Trufant is scheduled to count 15.15 million dollars against the salary cap for the 2020 NFL season. The Atlanta Falcons salary cap situation can be viewed here on overthecap.com.
Drafting Greedy Williams would also create a conundrum for the Dirty Birds. Should all of the Falcons’ cornerbacks be healthy, Damontae Kazee would be left without a spot on the field. Kazee who tied for the NFL lead with seven interceptions, is too talented to leave on the bench for the majority of the snaps. The team could use more dime sets to add a fourth cornerback on the field more frequently. Quinn could also use a fast nickel package with strong safety Keanu Neal moving to linebacker alongside Deion Jones. This would place Kazee at the safety spot and remove De’Vondre Campbell from the field. That would also allow Campbell to enter the pass rush rotation more often which could pay dividends. Though Deandre Baker of the Georgia Bulldogs is the best coverage cornerback in the 2019 draft, with his height, length, speed and upside Greedy Williams could be just the player that allows Dan Quinn to finally, completely transform the Atlanta Falcons defense, to the Seattle Seahawks style defense that he enjoys playing.