FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. – The NFL Draft is a little more than two weeks away and the speculation about what each team might do come April 25 is starting to heat up.
So, what are some of the national media members saying about the Atlanta Falcons, especially after all of the coaching changes, roster moves and the draft coming up?
'The Falcons are an Ed Oliver away from being a top-five defense in 2019'
"A season after torching another team to the ground with bad luck via my Super Bowl pick, I'll stay away from a soaring Atlanta prognostication in 2019, but I do think the tools are still there for an ascending young defense to surprise some people," said Will Brinson, a senior NFL writer for CBSSports.com. "Grady Jarrett is in the fold again (assuming no holdout), Vic Beasley should be motivated, Takkarist McKinley could really break out and Keanu Neal/Deion Jones being healthy will make a big impact. Work Oliver in there and I think the Falcons defense can really make a leap forward in 2019."
One of the most popular mock draft picks for the Falcons has been defensive tackle Ed Oliver out of Houston. The Falcons are in need of a starting interior defensive lineman to pair with Grady Jarrett and many think Oliver could come in and play right away.
'Falcons will continue trend of taking an Alabama player in the first round'
"I've got them taking an offensive lineman, Jonah Williams out of Alabama," said Peter Schraeger of the NFL Network. "I just know what the Falcons are trying to build, and the Alabama connection is almost too strong."
Williams has been another player projected to go to the Falcons in some mock drafts. Schraeger said he believes the Falcons will use the No. 14 overall pick to select Williams, who would likely become Atlanta's starting right tackle.
'If they draft the right guy, Falcons are right back in the mix for postseason contention'
"The Falcons are so interesting because I still think they have a really good roster, they just got injured last year," Schraeger said. "They could be right back in the mix last year and if they draft the right guy, he could help."
The 2018 season didn't go as planned for the Falcons. The injury big hit the Falcons and hit them hard as Atlanta ended the year with six starters on injured reserve. Prior to the season, the Falcons were widely viewed as a team who would make the playoffs and compete for the Lombardi Trophy. Instead, the Falcons finished 7-9 and missed the postseason for the first time since 2016.
If the Falcons are able to address a few of their remaining needs through the draft, things could be looking up for this team in 2019 with majority of the starting lineup returning.