The Atlanta Falcons won their final four games to secure a 7-9 record. At one point, they were slated to receive a top five NFL Draft selection. Their projections took a nosedive during the second half of the season, however. Head coach Dan Quinn used the surge to retain his job for another year. The leash will grow shorter in 2020. The Falcons need to make some changes on defense but they have advantageous NFL Draft capital. 

Here’s what you need to know about the Falcons and the 2020 NFL Draft.

2020 draft picks

  • Round 1: Atlanta
  • Round 2: Atlanta, New England
  • Round 3: Atlanta
  • Round 4: Atlanta
  • Round 5: Atlanta
  • Round 6: None
  • Round 7: Philadelphia

Biggest offseason needs

  • Edge rusher
  • Linebacker
  • Cornerback
  • Defensive line
  • Tight end
  • Interior offensive line
  • Safety
  • Running back
  • Wide receiver

Outside linebacker De’Vondre Campbell would seem to be the most pressing unsettled free agent situation in Atlanta. Campbell played a huge portion of the team’s defensive snaps this season. Vic Beasley Jr. is also scheduled to become a free agent. The ability to manufacture pressure will be important. The Falcons had the fourth fewest sacks this season. They also need to solidify every level of their defense. Those are the priorities in addition to getting everyone back healthy on offense. 

Prospects to watch

Curtis Weaver, EDGE, Boise State

The Falcons need to add a pass rush. There are some options should they hold pat at No. 16 overall. Weaver has dominated the Mountain West each of the past three seasons. He has already declared for the 2020 NFL Draft. The California native explodes off the line of scrimmage and does a good job dislodging the blocker’s hands. He does a good job setting the edge in the run game as well. There is room for him to improve the composition of his body and become an even more effective rusher. Penn State’s Yetur Gross-Matos and LSU’s K’Lavon Chaisson are two other players that could step in and contribute as outside linebackers. 

Jeff Gladney, CB, TCU

Atlanta wants to be physical on the defensive side of the ball. They have been riddled with injuries over the past two years and need to build depth at the cornerback position. Gladney is a really good player. He is fast and shows quick footwork but can become stronger. His aggressiveness in the run game will make him an appealing option for most teams on Day 2. His rate of play picked up in 2019, which is a positive sign moving forward. There should be no shortage of options at the cornerback position on Day 2. Clemson’s A.J. Terrell, Ohio State’s Damon Arnette, Utah’s Jaylon Johnson and others could also suit their needs. 

Netane Muti, OG, Fresno State

Running back Devonta Freeman had his worst season between the tackles in 2019. The team needs to fortify that unit. Muti is not often discussed because he played for Fresno State and suffered a torn achilles early in the 2018 season. The Hawaiian born lineman has quick hands and plays with an edge. He is quick, strong and plays with good leverage.

The best players to come from Hawaii are almost always linemen: Olin Kreutz, Max Unger, Vince Manuwai, Kimo von Oelhoffen, etc…Muti might be next. He carries a late first, early second round grade at this time.