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Falcons first-round pick in 2023 NFL Draft now set

We take a look at which positions the Falcons may look to draft for in April now that they possess the No. 8 overall pick

ATLANTA -- The Falcons will have the No. 8 overall pick in the 2023 NFL Draft, after a 30-17 victory over against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Sunday to close out the 2022 regular season.

Based on the strength of schedule, and a win over Tampa Bay, the Falcons' draft position improved/dropped from one slot.


Like last season, the pass rush remains a looming topic for the Falcons heading into the offseason. Defensive coordinator Dean Pees said during a Jan. 5 press conference that "you always want a pass rusher, because it's a passing league."

Atlanta's defense has one of the worst sack totals in the NFL with 21, according to Statmuse. The outside linebackers corps comprised of Ade Ogundeji, Lorenzo Carter, DeAngelo Malone and Arnold Ebiketie accumulated 9.5 of those sacks. Jarrett and Abdullah Anderson, who are both on the defensive line, had seven of those sacks. Bringing in more pass rush talent to flesh out depth, and help free up Jarrett will be an area of focus heading into the draft. Georgia's Jalen Carter and Alabama's Will Anderson Jr. are two top pass rushers entering the 2023 Draft, but they might be gone before the Falcons pick. Clemson's Myles Murphy might be an option, though, when the Falcons are on the clock.

Drafting a defensive back may be another option for the Falcons' first-round pick. This position group has had its fair share of ups and downs this season, after losing veteran Casey Hayward due to a right shoulder injury. Darren Hall and Cornell Armstrong have both rotated in Hayward's spot, but it hasn't been much consistency in that area. This season, the Falcons have allowed an average of 231.9 passing yards per game.

With Hayward's return not yet set in stone despite being under contract through 2023, could the Falcons look to draft a defensive back to play on the opposite side of A.J. Terrell? It certainly could help. Oregon's Christian Gonzalez, a 6-foot-2 physical cornerback who is efficient in man coverage and has good instinctual awareness, leads the 2023 draft class.

On the offensive side of the ball, the quarterback position is one more option the Falcons may look to draft for. With Marcus Mariota unlikely to return next season, that leaves Desmond Ridder and Logan Woodside. Ridder has fared well and made consistent improvement over his last four games in terms of decision-making, patience, and accuracy. Statistically, Ridder's numbers have increased as well, but, is four games enough to evaluate a player when thinking about the future? That's the biggest question.

Even if Ridder remains the starting quarterback going into next season, drafting another elite and dynamic playmaker will help build depth. Ohio State's C.J. Stroud and Florida's Anthony Richardson lead the 2023 draft class for quarterbacks.

So that brings the question, which position will the Falcons home in on heading into this year's draft? The countdown begins until April 27.


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