Atlanta Falcons Final NFL Draft Grades 2024: Falcons Shock the World With Puzzling Picks of Michael Penix Jr., Ruke Orhorhoro

Did the Atlanta Falcons address their roster needs in the 2024 NFL Draft? Here's a closer look at their final grades.

The Atlanta Falcons‘ new head coach Raheem Morris steps into a solid roster loaded with talent ahead of the 2024 NFL season.

Here is a closer at the Falcons’ 2024 NFL Draft grades and how they address the needs of their roster at the event.

Atlanta Falcons 2024 NFL Draft Grades

Round 1, Pick 8: Michael Penix Jr., QB, Washington

The Raheem Morris era in Atlanta started by investing on the offensive side of the ball by selecting QB Michael Penix Jr. at No. 8 overall. This pick is particularly puzzling after the team just signed Kirk Cousins to a four-year deal worth up to $180 million dollars.

From a long-term perspective, the decision to pair a young signal caller with the young collection of skill position players with Bijan Robinson, Drake London, and Kyle Pitts makes some sense, but selecting a quarterback after paying market value for a productive veteran quarterback makes very little sense.

Grade: D+

Round 2, Pick 35: Ruke Orhorhoro, DT, Clemson

After sending shockwaves through the NFL world by investing their first-round selection at a position that wasn’t anywhere near the top of their needs heading into the draft, they decided to select DT Ruke Orhorhoro out of Clemson to join an interior defensive line unit that has Grady Jarrett and David Onyemata.

MORE: 2024 NFL Draft: Top 50 Best Available Prospects Remaining

Orhorhoro is a physical specimen but still a bit of a raw prospect who doesn’t have a very diverse arsenal as a pass rusher. This pick becomes even more perplexing when you consider Johnny Newton was still on the board at the position. The team passing on cornerback or edge rusher here certainly adds to the confusing pair of picks we’ve seen from the Falcons through the first two rounds.

Grade: C

Round 3, Pick 74: Bralen Trice, EDGE, Washington

The Falcons entered the 2024 NFL Draft needing to add a pass rusher to rotate in with Lorenzo Carter and Arnold Ebiketie and finally got around to addressing the position in the third round by selecting Bralen Trice out of Washington.

Trice had an exceptionally productive career as a Husky and has the ideal burst, effective hands, and versatile pass-rushing arsenal to immediately contribute on passing downs and help give this Atlanta pass rush a bit of extra juice.

Grade: A-

Round 4, Pick 109: Brandon Dorlus, EDGE, Oregon

After a highly questionable pick to start the 2024 NFL Draft, the Falcons have decided to triple down along the defensive line unit by selecting Oregon DE Brandon Dorlus at No. 109 overall.

Dorlus has some tweener traits but does provide alignment versatility along the defensive line unit when paired with Jarrett, Orhorhoro, and Trice.

Grade: B+

Round 5, Pick 143: JD Bertrand, LB, Notre Dame

Outside of selecting Penix in the first round, the Falcons have focused exclusively on the defensive side of the football in the 2024 NFL Draft.

At pick 143, they selected linebacker JD Bertrand out of the University of Notre Dame. Bertrand has some upside as a pass rusher (which is the team’s biggest need), and he possesses a high football IQ. However, he doesn’t possess the athletic traits that project as a full-time starter in the NFL.

Grade: C-

Round 6, Pick 186: Jase McClellan, RB, Alabama

The Falcons have shown a concerning pattern of addressing positions that aren’t a need on the offensive side of the football in the 2024 NFL Draft. Unfortunately, that trend continued when Atlanta selected Alabama running back Jase McClellan out of Alabama at No. 186 overall.

McClellan failed to reach his potential playing behind one of the best offensive lines and most dominant programs in the country, which makes it difficult to project him making a big impact playing behind Robinson and Tyler Allgeier to start his NFL career.

Grade: D

Round 6, Pick 187: Casey Washington, WR, Illinois

The Falcons did manage to bring in some depth at wide receiver this offseason by adding both Rondale Moore and Darnell Mooney but wanted to add another depth piece with Casey Washington out of Illinois at pick No. 187 in the sixth round.

Washington did manage to catch 49 passes for 670 yards and four scores in 2023 and is a physical menace at the catch point and as a RAC threat, but his lack of top-end speed makes it difficult to pin a large role alongside London and Pitts.

Grade: C+

Round 6, Pick 197: Zion Logue, DT, Georgia

One can certainly respect the commitment the Falcons have made toward addressing the defensive line unit in the 2024 NFL Draft, but spending the No. 197 overall selection on Georgia defensive tackle Zion Logue marks the fifth defensive line prospect the team has selected in this draft.

Logue projects as a massive 0-tech in the league at 6’6’’ and 314 pounds who can require a forklift to move out of the A-gap during his best reps but doesn’t play with the type of consistency that projects as a rotational piece at the next level.

Grade: C

Atlanta Falcons 2024 NFL Draft Summary

The egregious mistake of selecting quarterback Michael Penix Jr. at No. 8 overall after you signed Kirk Cousins to a four-year deal worth up to $180 million dollars is enough to garner an “F” grade alone.

KEEP READING: Falcons UDFA Signings and Rookie Camp Invites

But trading up to reach on an interior defensive line prospect in the second round was the cherry on top of the disaster cake for the 2024 Atlanta Falcons draft experience.

Final Grade: D

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