The Atlanta Falcons have seven picks in the 2018 NFL Draft, including No. 26 in the first round April 26 in Arlington, Tex.
Here is a look at the Falcons' five-year draft record with roster tallies reflecting totals as of the end of the 2017 season. Below that are the team's current needs heading into this draft and our projection for all their 2018 picks.
FALCONS' FIVE-YEAR DRAFT BREAKDOWN
2013 2014 2015 2016 2017
TOTAL PICKS 8 9 7 6 6
STARTERS 2 3 2 5 0
BACKUPS 2 0 2 0 5
OTHER TEAMS 1 1 1 0 1
OUT OF LEAGUE 3 5 2 1 0
TOP 3 NEEDS IN 2018 DRAFT
1. Defensive tackle: The Falcons' glaring need is at defensive tackle. They need a quick penetrating tackle to pair with Grady Jarrett. He must be stout enough to handle double teams and keep guards from climbing to the second level to wipe out middle linebacker Deion Jones. Dontari Poe played 868 defensive snaps, the second highest on the team behind Jarrett's 870 last season. He also played eight snaps on offense. He signed a three-year, $28 million deal with a $10 million signing bonus on March 16 with Carolina. A total of $13.3 million of the deal is guaranteed.
2. Fullback: The Falcons elected to re-sign Derrick Coleman, a year after losing Patrick DiMarco to the Bills in free agency. They need a pass-catching threat, who can lead block. The team has had to call finesse plays in short-yardage situations and will look to add a battering ram fullback through the draft.
3. Wide receiver: Taylor Gabriel didn't provide the same explosive plays he did in 2016 during the team's march to the Super Bowl. He had trouble getting off the line of scrimmage and was not a factor in the red zone. The team is also looking for a returner, so a speed receiver with return ability will likely be selected in this draft.
Below is a list of all seven of the Falcons' picks, with players suggested by NFLDraftScout.com.
FALCONS 2018 Draft (Seven picks)
Rd./overall pick: Player selected (*indicates compensatory pick)
1-26: Jaire Alexander, CB, Louisville (5-10, 196, 4.38)
2-58: Nathan Shepherd, DT, Fort Hays State (6-4, 315, 5.09)
3-90: Mark Andrews, TE, Oklahoma (6-5, 256, 4.58)
4-126: Keke Coutee, WR, Texas Tech (6-3, 207, 4.49)
6-200: Akrum Wadley, RB, Iowa (5-10, 194, 4.54)
*7-256: Justin Lawler, DE, Southern Methodist (6-4, 264, 5.01)