Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports
Grade: B (85 out of 100 on a 0-100 scale)
I understand why Thomas Dimitroff elected to go with cornerbacks in the first and second rounds, because if you can't land a stud pass-rusher, the next best way to help your defense generate pressure is to improve the coverage in the secondary.
The cornerback position will definitely be a strength for this team moving forward if Trufant and Alford live up to expectations. It should be noted that Asante Samuel is 32, so Trufant and Alford could end up being Atlanta's starting cornerback duo sooner than you think.
Malliciah Goodman was a good value in Round 4 because he has a high floor as a run-stuffing left defensive end if Falcons' defensive line coach Ray Hamilton can't develop his pass-rush skills. Goodman also has the ability to play as a five-technique defensive end in a 3-4 front, and those guys aren't easy to find.
Levine Toilolo is far from a finished product, but he's coming into an ideal situation in Atlanta because he'll get to be around one of the best tight ends to ever play the game. If Toilolo is receptive to coaching, he could end up being the gem of this draft class for the Falcons because of the rare size (6'8", 260 lbs.) that he brings to his position.
Stansly Maponga is a nice role player who should provide good competition for Jonathan Massaquoi as a pass-rushing, right defensive end.
I like both of the safety prospects that the Falcons took in the seventh round, but I would have preferred to see one of those picks used to add depth at defensive tackle or wide receiver. The Falcons found Vance Walker and Travian Robertson in the seventh round in years past, so I was hoping they could find another quality reserve defensive lineman in that round this year.
Sean Renfree is an ideal third-string quarterback because he was well coached in college and understands NFL offensive schemes.
This was a solid haul by Thomas Dimitroff, but giving up the third and sixth round picks to move up for Desmond Trufant probably prevented the Falcons from adding a big-bodied defensive tackle and/or a linebacker to compete with a thin corps of returning players in the middle of Atlanta's defense.
However, at the end of the day, the players who will have the biggest impact on next season won't be the guys from this draft class. Instead, the Falcons will be depending on players like Garrett Reynolds, Joe Hawley, Mike Johnson, Lamar Holmes, Jonathan Massaquoi, Cliff Matthews, Travian Robertson and Akeem Dent, who were drafted in the later rounds between 2009-2012, to step up and be key contributors in 2013.