It's been more than two months since the NFL Draft concluded, and the praise for Atlanta's haul continues to mount.
Bucky Brooks on Thursday gave his top five instant-impact rookies classes, and the Falcons, who drafted several prospects deemed worthy of first-round selections, finished at No. 1. While the class appears solid from top to bottom, the NFL.com analyst singled out Vic Beasley Jr., Jalen Collins and Justin Hardy as guys who can jump in right away.
"If the Falcons get back into contention this season, it will largely be due to their rookie class playing at a high level," said Brooks. "Vic Beasley gives the Falcons the explosive pass rusher they've desperately needed sinceJohn Abraham's departure; he could post double-digit sacks as the "Leo" in Dan Quinn's scheme."
Along with the talented pass-rusher, Brooks mentioned cornerback Jalen Collins, wide receiver Justin Hardy and running back Tevin Coleman as rookies who can step in right away. Based on early impressions, it wouldn't be surprising if that trio, in addition to Beasley, fares well in 2015.
"Jalen Collins is the long, rangy corner the Falcons need to contend with the big-bodied receivers (Vincent Jackson, Mike Evans, Kelvin Benjamin and Marques Colston) who rule the division," Brooks said. "Tevin Coleman is pegged for a complementary role as a rookie, but new offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan's scheme could showcase his skills as a dynamic, one-cut runner, leading to a number of home-run plays for the Falcons.
"Justin Hardy is a crafty route runner with strong hands and ball skills. He could develop into a nice sidekick to Julio Jones and Roddy White as a part-time slot receiver."