FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. – The general consensus need for the Falcons heading into the 2018 NFL Draft was defensive tackle. With the No. 26 overall pick, however, Atlanta opted to add more firepower to the offense by selecting Alabama wide receiver Calvin Ridley.
By taking Ridley, the Falcons did address a slight need at the receiver position, and they believe there are still plenty of talented players left on the board that they could add in the coming rounds of the draft.
“In the end, we decided that we were going to go offense,” Falcons general manager Thomas Dimitroff said following the first round. “We kept all of our picks, which is an interesting and good thing, of course. Again, we’re encouraged by what’s there in the future to get the positions that we are in need of.”
Two defensive tackles were off the board by the time the Falcons came on the clock on Thursday night, and the opted to select Ridley instead of Florida’s Taven Bryan, a defender who was linked to Atlanta in many mock drafts.
In Ridley, the Falcons added a projected starter to the offense in the first round. Dimitroff believes there are other impact players still available, though, and they can still add quality to areas of the roster they are looking to address.
Now that the first round is behind them, the Falcons will regroup and assess what their next move might be. “We’ll revisit our board here before we leave and debrief a little bit, and it’s obviously cleared out some – the front board – and we’ll look at what the next steps are,” Dimitroff said. “We’re very fortunate and happy that we feel like there are some really good football players in a number of the positions that we’re looking at. And we’re excited about some of those guys – not just ‘eh’ – these guys are guys that we think can be legitimate contributors for us.”