FLOWERY BRANCH -- Falcons general manager Thomas Dimitroff and head coach Dan Quinn held their pre-draft press conference today.
Here are the five things we learned:
- Moving on up. The Falcons are looking to move up in the draft probably into the 20s or so. Under that scenario, they would be moving up to get a pass rusher.
- Versatility needed. Safety Kemal Ishmael will play outside linebacker exclusively in the offseason. “He’s one of our better tacklers and he played two games there last season,” Quinn said.
- Peppers is a winner. Dimitroff said that Michigan all-purpose player Jabrill Peppers is a “winner.” Quinn said the Falcons view him as a safety. Quinn said Peppers hits hard enough to play strong safety and is fast enough to play free safety.
- Matthews to get extenstion. Dimitroff said that the Falcons plan to exercise left tackle Jake Matthews’ fifth-year option, but the move in on the team’s back burner for now.
- Draft board. The Falcons scouts are working their final stacking of the team’s draft board. The team has focused in on a handful of players for the 31st pick in the draft, Dimitroff said.
The draft is set for Thursday through Saturday in Philadelphia.
Last season the Falcons landed three defensive starters and their tight end of the future in the first four rounds of the draft.
This season, the Falcons have all of their picks except for the sixth-round pick, which went to Tennessee in the Andy Levitre trade.
Here are the Falcons’ official draft positions:
1 – 31 – 31 Atlanta
2 – 31 – 63 Atlanta
3 – 31 – 95 Atlanta
4 – 30 – 136 Atlanta
5 – 31 – 174 Atlanta
6 – 31 – 214 Tennessee from Atlanta (Andy Levitre trade)
7 – 31 – 249 Atlanta
2017 Draft Recap
1 (17 overall) — Keanu Neal SS Florida. Lived up to all expectations and was voted All-Rookie. (14 games played/14 start)
2 (52) — Deion Jones LB LSU. Took charge and was voted All-Rookie. (15/13)
3 (81) — Austin Hooper TE Stanford. Came on after injury to starter. Promising pass catcher. (14/3)
4 (115) — Devondre Campbell LB Minnesota. Shined in coverage and was a big thumper. (11/10)
6 (185) — Wes Schweitzer OG San Jose State. Being groomed for future position along line. (0/0)
7 (238) — Devin Fuller WR UCLA. Could be the team’s returner of the future (0/0)
NFL DRAFT 2017
POSITION BY POSITION SERIES
Sunday, April 16 — QUARTERBACKS
Monday, April 17 -- RUNNING BACKS
Tuesday, April 18 -- WIDE RECEIVERS
Wednesday, April 19 -- TIGHT ENDS
Thursday, April 20 -- OFFENSIVE LINEMEN