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Question of the Week: Which Falcons position group is the highest priority to replenish in the 2023 NFL Draft? 

Scott Bair, Tori McElhaney and Ashton Edmunds discuss. 

FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. – Just over a week, people! We are eight days away from the start of the 2023 NFL Draft when this fair story hit our site. 

However, that may not be as surprising as the fact that the Falcons are still signing free agents. They inked Calais Campbell two weeks ago, traded for Jeff Okudah last week and signed Bud Dupree, too. And that's all on top of grabbing Jessie Bates, David Onyemata, Kaden Elliss, and others, in the first wave of free agency.


A lot of needs have been addressed since free agency began. Not all needs, though, and with the 2023 NFL Draft right around the corner, the Falcons have the opportunity to not just round out its 2023 roster but continue to improve it.

With this in mind, let's take a look at the greatest positional needs the Falcons still have. Scott, Tori and Ashton: As it stands, which position group do you think is the top priority for the Falcons to fill out in the draft this year?


Tori: Edge rushers, interior defensive linemen and cornerbacks. Those were my top three positions of need for the Falcons to fill at the onset of the 2023 league year in March. Over the last two months of free agency work, though, that top three has changed.

I don't consider cornerback to be as heavy a contender any longer now that Jeff Okudah has arrived in Atlanta, as well as Mike Hughes. The Falcons have also done significant work along the defensive interior, heck the defensive line as a whole. Adding Campbell, Onyemata and Dupree? That's a pretty powerful three to work alongside Grady Jarrett (and Ta'Quon Graham, too).

The edge rusher position is still a critical area of need, though. So, it stays in the top three. Even with Dupree, Arnold Ebiketie and Lorenzo Carter, there's always room for dynamic pass rushers. But while I have skewed defensive every single time I've talked about the positional needs of this team, I find I am not doing so as much as I used to as more defensive bodies are brought in and as the draft looms.

This is why the answer, in my opinion, lies at wide receiver. I'm not saying the Falcons should take their third pass catcher in three years with their first round pick (because yes, Kyle Pitts is a pass catcher). But I wouldn't be opposed to seeing a couple Day 2 additions to the room around Drake London and recently acquired Mack Hollins and Scotty Miller.

This position could use a sprinkle of love when the draft arrives, which is not something I thought I would say two weeks out.

Atlanta Falcons wide receiver Drake London #5, wide receiver Frank Darby #88, and wide receiver Mack Hollins react at strength and conditioning during phase one at Atlanta Falcons Headquarters in Flowery Branch, Georgia, on Monday, April 17, 2023. (Photo by Shanna Lockwood/Atlanta Falcons)

Scott: Don't let one-year deals influence how you draft. Can't say that was my idea. Came out of Steve Wyche's brain during a podcast recording that'll drop next week – keep an eye out!! – and it's so true. 

Jeff Okudah's here. Awesome. The Falcons are hoping he's here for an extended stretch while living up to vast potential. He just might and then earn an extension. 

Right now, anyway, he has a year left on his deal. So does Calias Campbell. And Lorenzo Carter. And Bud Dupree. 

To me, that means edge rusher/defensive end and cornerback remain big needs. So does the receiver spot, where Drake London's the only man at his position under contract in 2024. 

The Falcons need young depth at all of those spots. I wouldn't say defensive end or cornerback are pressing needs, however, so you aren't walking into the No. 8 overall pick desperate for an instant impact player. If there's someone Terry and Arthur love at one of those premium positions, take him. 

While, as Tori points out, I'd have a hard time slotting a receiver to the Falcons at No. 8 – they've taken first-round pass catchers in consecutive seasons – I think that's the area where the Falcons need more right now. Look, I know Kyle Pitts is gonna play out wide and in the slot. Like, a ton. I know Mack Hollins is coming off a breakout year and Scotty Miller can stretch the field. I still think the Falcons need a Day 2 talent to step in and make his presence felt. There are plenty available in that area – UNC's Josh Downs or Cincinnati's Tyler Scott, anyone? – who could (theoretically) help the Falcons in 2023. 

I haven't mentioned running back yet. I think it's a luxury purchase, which shouldn't preclude the Falcons getting one.

In the first round, however, fortify position groups needing future star power. Logically, that's off the edge and at cornerback, especially with the talents possibly available at No. 8. No matter who they've added to this point.

Atlanta Falcons outside linebacker Lorenzo Carter #9 does strength and conditioning during phase one at Atlanta Falcons Headquarters in Flowery Branch, Georgia, on Monday, April 17, 2023. (Photo by Shanna Lockwood/Atlanta Falcons)

Ashton: I've been at a crossroads between cornerback and running back following all of the free agency moves. With running back being the only position group not added to during free agency, it gets me to believe the Falcons might wait until the draft to do so. That's a bold prediction though, so I think I'm going to stick with cornerback being the main priority.

Yes, the Falcons added quality cornerbacks in Jeff Okudah and Mike Hughes in free agency but both players have been impacted by injuries throughout their careers. Okudah has played in 25 games in three seasons and Hughes has only played in 17 straight games one time in his five-year career thus far. 

Don't get me wrong, though. I think both players will deliver max production. I just think you could still add to the position group given the Falcons lack of depth in 2022. Casey Hayward, who started on the opposite side of A.J. Terrell last season, will be on the final year of his contract in 2023, so why not draft a cornerback and think long-term?   

There are a few projected first-round cornerbacks for the Falcons to target in this year's draft. With Atlanta holding a top-10 pick, they are in a great position to take one.

Atlanta Falcons players are back at Flowery Branch to kick off prep for the 2023 season.

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