Falcons 2020 draft class ranked No. 16 by NFL.com

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Matt Urben
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The Atlanta Falcons’ 2020 draft class only consisted of six players, headlined by the selection of Clemson cornerback A.J. Terrell in the first round.

Initially, very few draft analysts had good things to say about the Falcons’ draft. One year later, the class definitely looks better than originally advertised. Terrell was one of the most criticized first-round selections. While he did get off to a rocky start, Terrell went on to show all the traits of a No. 1 corner.

There’s still a lot to learn about Atlanta’s 2020 class as a whole, though. NFL.com’s rookie report card — which gives each draft class a grade and ranking — listed the Falcons at No. 16 and gave the team a “B” grade. Nick Shook complimented Terrell’s upside:

Terrell’s stat line — 74 tackles, seven passes defensed, three forced fumbles, one interception (and nearly two) — is promising. The upside with Terrell is visible; he just needs more time to hone his craft and become an effective professional corner.

The real strength of the class, as Shook puts it, is fourth-round pick Mykal Walker out of Fresno State:

Walker carries this class, earning an overall grade of 74 from PFF and an elite coverage grade of 90.7 as a rookie, giving the Falcons solid value from a fourth-round pick. He didn’t play anywhere near a full season’s worth of defensive snaps in 2020, but that’s bound to change in 2021.

However, he wasn’t as high on the rest of the draft class:

Hawkins ended up spending most of his time on special teams, though he did register a half-sack in Atlanta’s blowout win over Las Vegas. Hofrichter appeared in all 16 games and dropped 17 punts inside the opposing 20, but landed near the bottom of the league in average yards per punt.

The Falcons have hired a new general manager and coaching staff, which could potentially hurt the development of last year’s draft class. On the other hand, head coach Arthur Smith has said he is a believer in talent dictating scheme. Atlanta currently holds the No. 4 overall pick in the 2021 draft.

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