Atlanta will miss out on their first and fourth round selections, leaving even less room to find guys who can make an impact right away. It's never an easy task to find the perfect fit in those later rounds, but they've accomplished similar feats in the past. Todd McClure was a seventh-round selection back in 1999; look how he's turned out for this team.
The current depth chart holds a few glaring issues that need to be addressed, and some of those problems will be tackled in free agency. After that the end of April will be their primary focus, and there will be multiple guys still lingering on Saturday who will be perfect for the Falcons.
Here are four players with late round projections and something to bring to table in Atlanta. All projected rounds were taken from the prospect rankings at CBS Sports.
Seeing that the Saints took a former basketball standout and made him one of the premier tight ends in the league, the Falcons could choose to go the same route with Beau Reliford. Don't expect to see great stats from his college career, just read some of the scouting reports on him.
Reliford is a big guy with plenty of raw talent. At 6'5", 260 lbs. he possesses the size and strength to block well, but he still needs a lot of work to make a serious impact for any NFL team. Perhaps a year under the wing of Tony Gonzalez could help?
He's projected as a seventh-round pick right now, so the Falcons could use some of their higher selections on more pressing issues.
The Falcons have decisions to make in their receiving corps. Harry Douglas and Eric Weems, Atlanta's No. 3 and 4 receivers, are up for free agency this offseason. Douglas has already been involved in speculation about following Mike Mularkey to Jacksonville, and Weems was unimpressive this past season after being selected as a Pro Bowl return man in 2010.
Keshawn Martin is listed as 5'10" with a 4.44 40 time. He's explosive and elusive when the ball is in his hands, and would be great for some of Dirk Koetter's screen plays (which we've been promised to see next season). He also can make an impact in the return game, replacing Weems if he leaves.
Martin is listed as a sixth-rounder. The Falcons will have to work with him just like any other late-round selection, but there's a lot of potential for him in Atlanta.
William Vlachos has seen a ridiculous amount of success during his college tenure, as he has now been a part of two national championship teams for the Crimson Tide. He's not the most attractive player in this draft, but the more you read about him, the more you like his potential.
Having drawn comparisons to Pro Bowl center Jeff Saturday, Vlachos is technically sound with an outstanding knowledge for the game. He is well-respected, a great leader and a very smart athlete.
Todd McClure is getting old, and he may not be brought back for next season. If he goes, Vlachos could be a perfect replacement for the future. The two centers are almost exactly the same size, and Vlachos is currently drawing seventh-round projections, the same round Atlanta drafted McClure years ago.
Look at how the last player from 'Bama turned out for the Falcons...just throwing it out there.
The Falcons have some young talent in their secondary, but with Brent Grimes and Thomas DeCoud potentially on their way out, Mike Nolan might need some new help on his side of the ball. D'Anton Lynn (pronounced Dan-ton) is a long defender who has good size and can be physical in coverage and with his tackling, an enticing attribute for the Falcons' new DC.
Reports have stated that Lynn shows traits in between corners and free safeties, and some have said he could ultimately be a free safety. Malcolm Jenkins was a talented corner at Ohio State, but after he ran a 4.53 (the same 40 time listed for Lynn) at the NFL Combine, he was labeled a safety. Now he starts for the Saints at FS. Jenkins was obviously much more talented overall, but the comparisons are there.
Lynn's father, Anthony Lynn, played for the Broncos and 49ers and now coaches for the New York Jets, so he already has some ties to the NFL. Mock drafts are showing him going in Round 7, which could leave the Falcons with another late pick to consider.