The 2022 draft is officially over for the Atlanta Falcons. They came away with eight new faces to start their new culture shift in the buildings in Flowery Branch. Terry Fontenot and Arthur Smith had a clear vision for the future and used this draft to execute it. They are fostering a level of competition on a daily basis. Let us see how well the Atlanta Falcons did with bringing new faces into the locker room in this 2022 NFL draft review.
For a recap, here are the players selected:
- First Round, eighth overall: Drake London, WR, USC
- Second Round, 38th overall: Arnold Ebiketie, EDGE, Penn State
- Second Round, 58th overall: Troy Andersen, Montana State, ILB
- Third Round, 74th overall: Desmond Ridder, Cincinnati, QB
- Third Round, 82nd overall: DeAngelo Malone, Western Kentucky, EDGE
- Fifth Round, 151st overall: Tyler Allgeier, BYU, RB
- Sixth Round, 190th overall: Justin Shaffer, Georgia, OG
- Sixth Round, 213th overall: John FitzPatrick, Georgia, TE
Atlanta Falcons 2022 NFL Draft Grade: 9.1/10
READ MORE: Buccaneers Draft Review
Atlanta Falcons 2022 Draft Review
The Best Player: Drake London
In round one, the Atlanta Falcons took wide receiver Drake London from USC. This take seems like a cop-out because ‘Of course, the first pick is the best pick’, but look at what London is bringing to the table. The six-foot-four contested-catch master was touted pre-draft as one of the best receivers. Terry Fontenot and Arthur Smith would agree. His ability to box people out on the way up to snag the football is uncanny. Where they are usually called 50/50 balls, London made it seem like the ratio more resembled a 70/30 at worst. USC used Drake London in a myriad of ways, both vertically and along the line of scrimmage. And whether it was a fade on the sideline or a simple crossing route, Clay Helton and his offense revolved around London and his play-making ability.
There are some valid questions about his explosiveness and inability to separate from defensive backs. But when you watch the tape, it is clear that his skill set will fit this offense. He has a huge catch radius with his 33-inch arms and good run after the catch ability. And whether he is at the X or the Y position with six-foot-five Auden Tate, the offense will look bigger than last year.
— Su’a (@iammsuzy) May 3, 2022
The Head-Scratcher: Troy Andersen
Before we get on the ‘See, we should have got Nakobe’ hype train, let us preface this selection. Troy Andersen as a draft prospect is one of the most intriguing that someone will see in this draft cycle. Not only did he produce at the linebacker position for Montana State, but also at the quarterback and running back positions. So, as a future defensive leader, he has the intellect to lead both the offense and defense at the most crucial positions (while also doing it in the classroom). Also, he produced at an extremely high level on the field to the tune of unanimous 1st-team ballots on whichever FCS team you want to find.
Andersen is a head-scratcher despite all of these accolades and production because it was unexpected. If a team loves their prospect, they will get them. Just ask Bill Belichick and the New England Patriots about their draft strategy. But the talk around Andersen was that he would still be there in the third round. Granted, before their next pick, three inside linebackers got taken so, again Terry, it is understandable. But with guys like Travis Jones, Nik Bonitto, and DeMarvin Leal still available at 58, there are still some questions around the thinking behind drafting such a project at this point in the draft.
Again, let us preface: This is nowhere near an indictment of the pick. The Minnesota Vikings took Brian Asamoah just eight picks after the Andersen pick. Chad Muma, Christian Harris, and Nakobe Dean all heard their name called before the Falcons picked again. And after the first trade-up, another one would have been overkill to their ability to add depth to a depleted roster. So kudos to Fontenot and Smith for getting their guy ahead of the curve yet again.
A little film session from the newest member of the LB Core from Montana St Troy Andersen! #Dirtybirds
— Damski (@Damski32) May 3, 2022
The Best of the Rest: Tyler Allgeier
It was very tough not to go DeAngelo Malone for this category. With Grady Jarrett coming back, expect Malone and Ebiketie to share success on that line. However, with guys like Lorenzo Carter coming in and Adetokunbo Ogundeji coming back, expect Malone to have to work a bit harder for his playing time.
Tyler Allgeier is a wrecking ball out of the backfield that enjoys handing out contact to defenders. Or an Arthur Smith special, for short. The BYU product’s claim to fame is that he produced “70-percent of his rushing yards after contact”. But what is the best about him is his sneaky speed, and his ability to hit the open field and take the ball to the house. He has things to work on: His pass-blocking and pass-catching ability. Not saying he is not capable. He needs more development in those areas. But his upside and ability to give more punishment than he gets can lead to a productive career in Arthur Smith’s run-heavy, control-the-tempo system.
I know Tyler Allgeier didn’t run the fastest 40, but…
I don’t think a 4.6 flat is an awful time for the type of back he is. pic.twitter.com/PjMqz0c178
— Kenny G. (@Gritz_Blitz) May 3, 2022
Last But Not Least: Justin Shaffer and John FitzPatrick
What is an Atlanta Falcons draft review without talking about a few Georgia Bulldogs? Before this year, it was customary as the Falcons break an 11-year streak of not taking a Bulldog in the draft. However, when looking at the two Bulldogs selected, the Georgia player picked later in the draft actually has a better chance of seeing the field first.
John FitzPatrick has a chance to see the field, not as much in the passing game, but as a sixth blocker. With the retirement of Lee Smith last year, the Falcons had a void at the blocking tight-end part of the scheme. FitzPatrick played best on the line as a potential sixth blocker.
With Darnell Washington questionable it’s important to remember John Fitzpatrick.
He’s the highest graded run blocker for UGA and his blocking will be key with Clemson’s pass rush. At 6’6” he’s a red zone threat. With Bowers upright and Fitz inline UGA can run its full offense pic.twitter.com/idnst5Q7OB
— Graham Coffey (@DawgOutWest) August 30, 2021
Justin Shaffer played the left guard position for Georgia. With the struggles of Jalen Mayfield last year, competition at that position is a must. Shaffer is strong as an ox, and once he gets his hands underneath, the defender is not going anywhere. The problem is getting in position to get the hands underneath. He sometimes looks like he has some cement in his shoes, and his athleticism lacks. But his upside, especially in the run game, makes him an exciting prospect, and who knows? With some development, Shaffer may be the left guard this team needs.
Main Photo: Embed from Getty Images