Skip to main content

Question of the Week: Who would you pick for the Falcons at No. 8 in the 2024 NFL Draft? 

The 2024 NFL Draft is next week. Speculation will soon become fact. 

DISCLAIMER: The statements and opinions regarding players and/or potential future players in the article below are those of the editorial staff and are not of the Atlanta Falcons' football personnel unless noted in a direct quote.

FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. -- We've danced around this question all offseason, finding different ways to address it without actually answering it. Well, now is the time. The 2024 NFL Draft is a week (and technically a day) away, beginning next Thursday, April 25, and running through Saturday, April 27.

So, straight up, the latest Question of the Week is: If you're the Atlanta Falcons, who are you picking at No. 8 overall? The Falcons editorial staff of Tori McElhaney, Terrin Waack and Amna Subhan are required to say a name -- and explain themselves.

Programming note: Question of the Week will skip April 23 and return April 30.


McELHANEY: I said this in our last Question of the Week installment and I'll say it again: The more I think about the Falcons trading down and acquiring one of the best - if not the best - edge rushers or cornerbacks in this year's draft while also securing future draft capital, the more I like the idea. So, that's why I have the Falcons choosing Jared Verse over Dallas Turner.

I think if the Falcons stick at No. 8 overall and Turner is there, that's where I'd see them going. Sure. However, I am not entirely sold on the Falcons staying at No. 8 simply because of the nature of this particular draft class and how it could fall next Thursday night. If there's a run on quarterbacks, wide receivers and offensive tackles in the top 10, this means the class' best defenders are falling into the middle of the first-round pack. If you're the Falcons looking for premiere edge rushers or cornerbacks, you'd take that.

In this scenario, let's say the Falcons move anywhere from picks 10-15. If so, there's a strong chance someone like Verse is right there for the taking. Verse is someone who plays with an aggression and violence that I think can pair well with the pieces already in place in Atlanta along the defensive line.

When it comes to my own personal evaluations of talent, I tend to focus on someone's floor rather than their ceiling. Call that pessimistic, but in my head the floor is your foundation and base point of which you build upon towards a high ceiling. If the floor is already high and sturdy, then you feel confident about what you're getting from a player on a day-to-day basis as the ceiling is built up and -- hopefully one day -- extremely high. This is precisely how I view Verse. You know where his floor is as a player, and its consistently been on the higher side.

Even if the ceiling isn't as high as a Turner or Laiatu Latu (as some talking heads believe), I am willing to bet Verse's floor - his base - is just as high, if not higher.


WAACK: I had the Falcons choose cornerback Terrion Arnold in my seven-round mock draft that was released Tuesday, so I feel the need to double down here. Consistency is key. And consistency is something the Falcons need to find opposite A.J. Terrell at cornerback. Makes this even more fitting.

Terrell is a lock for the Falcons. His dance partner, however, has changed each year since he came to Atlanta in 2020. Last season, for example, there was a late-season swap between Jeff Okudah and Clark Phillips III. Okudah is off to the Houston Texans. Phillips returns to the Falcons. Still, competition for the other starting role would be a good thing to ensure the best option is chosen.

Enter Arnold, the most commonly top-ranked cornerback in the 2024 draft class. In 2023, Arnold made 63 tackles in addition to an SEC-best 17 pass breakups and five interceptions in his 14 starts for Alabama.

Arnold's youth could especially be beneficial for the Falcons if they extend Terrell’s contract, too. This could be a long-term solution in the secondary.


SUBHAN: I also think it's time the Falcons draft a premier edge rusher, but instead I'll take the top prospect at the position, Dallas Turner. The Alabama standout has been heavily mocked by draft experts especially after Altlana landed Kirk Cousins as a free agent, and I can certainly see why.

Turner wrapped up his junior year with an impressive 53 tackles, 15.5 for a loss and an SEC-best 11 sacks. A Falcons player hasn't recorded double-digit sacks since 2016 when Vic Beasley had a career season eight years ago.

Sure, he'll have to adapt to the speed of the NFL, but he should quickly fit into defensive coordinator Jimmy Lake's scheme. Lake announced in his introductory press conference that he'll implement a 3-4 defense which Nick Saban famously ran at Alabama.

The Falcons pass rush is up in the air with Atlanta's 2023 sack leaders Calais Campbell and Bud Dupree still on the open market after their one-year contracts expired at the start of the new league year.

At 6-foot-4, 247 pounds Turner has the build and athleticism to affect almost any offensive line. The Athletic's The Beast notes that "he has the freaky tools to be a potential impact player."

The Beast also referenced that Turner's college nickname was "Stab Club Dal" and I just really need that to catch on in the Falcons locker room, too.

Related Content