American Football

2023 NFL Draft: The Falcons will have compelling options in the top 10


NFL Combine
Photo by Justin Casterline/Getty Images

Atlanta’s virtually guaranteed to get a high-upside player yet again.

Picking in the top ten is a boon for an NFL franchise in most years, an opportunity to add an elite talent under team control for several seasons. The Falcons are gearing up for their third straight draft with a top ten selection, having snagged a pair of high-upside receiving options in Kyle Pitts and Drake London the past two springs.

We haven’t seen the best we’ll get from Pitts and London yet—one hopes—but the need for more potentially game-changing talents like them is evident for a roster that remains porous.They’ll have another chance to add a franchise cornerstone in 2023, and this top ten is once again shaping up to be loaded with deeply intriguing players.

As it stands today following the Combine, the Falcons will have a good chance of getting:

  • A quarterback, though perhaps with a small jump up. Bryce Young is a fantastic player regardless of his height, C.J. Stroud feels like a mortal lock to be at least a good NFL quarterback, Anthony Richardson is a hyper-athletic passer who could blossom into a superstar, and Will Levis is at least an interesting project. All four could go in the top ten.
  • A pass rusher. Will Anderson and Jalen Carter are likely to go in the top five, but the team has been tied to Myles Murphy, Lukas Van Ness, and Tyree Wilson, and they won’t all be gone by No. 8. If the team loves one of them—and they’ve been strongly linked to Van Ness in particular—then they should be able to get what we all hope is their next great sack artist.
  • A cornerback or safety. Christian Gonzalez, Devon Witherspoon, Joey Porter Jr., and versatile Alabama defender Brian Branch has all been talked about as potential top ten picks, and all would fill a major hole in a young Falcons secondary that needs at least one high-end starter at both cornerback and safety.
  • A top offensive lineman. Peter Skoronski, Paris Johnson Jr., and Broderick Jones could be difference makers for a line that could still use long-term upgrades, and might be able to upgrade this line from “surprisingly good” to “elite” as early as 2023.
  • A running back. This would just be Bijan Robinson, who could be one of the better backs in the league pretty much immediately.

Obviously, not all of these players can go in the top ten—I listed more than ten, after all—but there’s a considerable amount of talent in the top half of this class and the Falcons have such a wide array of needs that they can’t really go wrong with with their selection at No. 8. The opportunity to acquire a difference-making talent is very much there, and the Falcons can add that player after addressing most of their needs in free agency. There’s a chance to truly swing for the fences with, as cliche as it is, the very best player available in the eyes of this front office. It’s an opportunity the team has to take—or trade, I suppose, for Lamar Jackson—in order to get out of the spin cycle of losing seasons and mild disappointments they’ve been stuck in for a while now.

It hasn’t often been exciting to be a Falcons fan in recent years, between the tumult and all the losing, but this is a prime opportunity to ensure they’re not picking in the top ten for quite some time. It feels like they have a strong chance of landing a great player with this third straight top ten pick.

Who would you take?

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