The 2016 NFL Draft is complete and with it’s conclusion, the Atlanta Falcons come away with six new rookies raring to prove themselves ahead of the upcoming season.
The Falcons originally had five picks heading into the draft, but managed to trade in order to obtain one extra pick. With that, we take a look at the newest members of the Atlanta Falcons and how they will fit in with their new team.
Round 1, Pick 17- Keanu Neal, SS/Florida: The former Florida Gator surprised a few people going this early in the draft but he fits Dan Quinn’s scheme perfectly. At 6’1 and 216 pounds, Neal is speedy and delivers punishing hits to anyone that comes within the vicinity. He finished his final year at Florida with 96 tackles, including a career high of 14 against LSU. Fast, physical and a great attitude, Neal checks all the boxes with Dan Quinn, who recruited him at Florida when he was defensive coordinator.
Round 2, Pick 52- Deion Jones, ILB/LSU: Another player that fits Dan Quinn’s scheme, Jones is very fast, as he ran a 4.38 at the combine, and will likely be dropped into coverage quite often. He recorded 100 tackles in his senior season in Baton Rouge and will add a lot of quickness and toughness to the linebacker core in Atlanta, arguably their biggest weakness.
Round 3, Pick 81- Austin Hooper, TE/Stanford: Despite leaving Stanford after just his Sophomore year, Hooper has plenty of credentials alongside his name. The 6’4 tight end was a Mackey Award finalist (for the nation’s top tight end), as a Sophomore and will be another big target for Matt Ryan, especially in the red zone. He may lack some experience but with veteran Jacob Tamme there to guide him, Hooper should learn quickly.
Round 4, Pick 115- De’Vondre Campbell, ILB/Minnesota: Campbell follows the trend as the first two players drafted, he’s very athletic and will make a nice fit in that Falcons defensive scheme. There are doubts over his pass-rush instincts but he has been working with former Falcon, Chuck Smith, and no one is doubting his tackling ability after racking up 92 tackles in his last year with Minnesota.
Round 6, Pick 195- Wes Schweitzer, OG/San Jose St: The three-year starter out of SJSU is intelligent both on and off the field, with plenty to play for as the Falcons’ weakest areas on the offensive line are at both guard positions. He may be a work in progress but Schweitzer will contribute to the Falcons in 2016.
Round 7, Pick 238- Devin Fuller, WR/UCLA: The 6’0, 220-pound receiver out of UCLA has speed, and lots of it. With Devin Hester’s future clouded, the Falcons added to their depth at wideout and with Fuller comes a whole lot of talent in the return game. Whether it’s special teams or lining up at wide receiver, Fuller has the chance to be have an impact and prove to be a steal in round seven.
The draft was a successful one for Atlanta as they filled needs with players that fit their scheme well. Big hitters, lots of speed and plenty of talent will be gracing the field in red and black next season.