Who Should the Atlanta Falcons Draft in the First Round After Agreeing To Sign Kirk Cousins?

The Falcons have addressed their QB need by agreeing to terms with Kirk Cousins, but who could they draft to help him out in 2024?

The Atlanta Falcons have agreed to terms with Kirk Cousins in free agency, effectively taking quarterback off the board in the 2024 NFL Draft.

With the eighth overall pick for the third consecutive year, the Dirty Birds are primed to draft one of the blue-chip talents available.

Who could the Falcons target to complement Cousins and make the playoffs in 2024?

Who Should the Falcons Surround Kirk Cousins With in the 2024 NFL Draft?

With one of the strongest offensive lines in football and a plethora of skill position talent, the Falcons have been a quarterback away from challenging in the NFC South. Bijan Robinson, Drake London, and Kyle Pitts will all benefit from Cousins’ arrival in Flowery Branch. However, Atlanta still has holes to fill.

Finding a young, impactful pass rusher has been the burden for the Falcons for several seasons, and (despite the quality of skill position talent) they still need to find a second receiver to round out the offense.

Who could be available for the Falcons to draft?

Malik Nabers, WR, LSU

LSU wide receiver Malik Nabers is the perfect addition to the Falcons’ passing attack. After drafting London in 2022 and Robinson in 2023 (both at No. 8 overall), there shouldn’t be any reluctance from the Falcons to attack offense again in 2024.

Nabers is a true blazer who displayed dominance in Baton Rouge. An extremely creative player, the LSU WR toys with defenders on tape, and his natural feel for the game makes him one of the top prospects in the 2024 NFL Draft and a blue-chip talent.

That speed and crafty route running would be the perfect fit in Atlanta as the Falcons build out the room.

Rome Odunze, WR, Washington

Outside of London, the Falcons have nothing at WR. Scotty Miller, Van Jefferson, and Mack Hollins are all scheduled unrestricted free agents, and even if they can return any of last year’s receiving corps, they need a serious upgrade as a WR2.

Rome Odunze is another great WR draft option who can be a true X receiver at the next level. His savvy route running, underrated athleticism, and impressive body control will see the Washington WR taken in the top 10 in April’s draft and make him another great option for Cousins to throw to.

Brian Thomas Jr., WR, LSU

No. 8 overall may be rich for LSU WR Brian Thomas Jr. However, if an opportunity presents itself, a trade back while securing a speed receiver with Thomas’ skill set feels like a winning situation.

Thomas displayed incredible athletic ability at the 2024 NFL Combine, where he ran the second-fastest 40-yard dash time at 4.33 seconds. At 6’3” and 209 pounds, those are unbelievable numbers.

And that speed underpins Thomas’ game. While he still needs to refine his route tree, that electric speed, fluid movement, and instant change of direction create the physical profile that the Falcons should be looking to add.

The former LSU receiver could become an impressive red zone or deep-field threat for Cousins as teams now need an abundance of weapons to succeed.

Dallas Turner, EDGE, Alabama

Going offense or defense early in the 2024 NFL Draft is an interesting discussion for the Falcons. While the defense stepped up in 2023, Atlanta is still searching for a cornerstone franchise piece on the defensive line if they are to reach the playoffs in 2024.

Alabama pass rusher Dallas Turner is the favorite to be the first defensive player taken, and he has the skill set and traits that the Falcons need to add.

An elite athlete at the position, Turner ran a 4.46-second 40-yard dash at the NFL Combine at 6’3” and 247 pounds. With 10 sacks in 2023, the edge rusher has flashed production while also having a high enough ceiling to develop.

New Falcons HC Raheem Morris is a defensive-minded coach, and turning down an explosive, flexible, and elusive edge rusher may be difficult, given the lack of young talent on Atlanta’s defensive line.

Jared Verse, EDGE, Florida State

While Cousins is a key addition, he can’t make the playoffs on his own. He has the offensive talent to step up, but the QB will also need the defense to keep their end of the bargain.

There were strong rumors in the 20234 NFL Draft that the Falcons had a strong interest in Florida State pass rusher Jared Verse had he declared. Instead, he returned to school, where the Albany transfer continued to show his ferocious playing style.

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A twitchy enough athlete who converts speed to power, Verse is a violent pass rusher who plays with refinement, strength, and technique. He can hold up against the run while also displaying his relentless power to get after the QB.

With 17.5 sacks in 2022 and 12.5 in 2023, Verse has the production and pro-ready skill set to step into the Falcons’ defense on Day 1. Given that Altanta’s sack leader in 2023 was 37-year-old Calais Cambell with 6.5, it is about time they found a foundational piece at the position.

All the 2024 NFL Draft resources you need — the draft order, the top QBs, the Top 100 prospects, and the full 2024 Big Board — right at your fingertips at Pro Football Network!

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