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Atlanta Falcons 2023 NFL Draft picks, analysis and prospect spotlight

Kansas City, MO, USA; Texas running back Bijan Robinson with NFL commissioner Roger Goodell after being selected by the Atlanta Falcons eighth overall in the first round of the 2023 NFL Draft at Union Station. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

The 2023 NFL Draft is officially in the books. After a flurry of selections from Thursday to Saturday, 259 players were selected to join the NFL.

With that, we give you our full recap of the Atlanta Falcons draft, with analysis on every selection the team made during the weekend and an in-depth look at their top pick.

For more information on the players your favorite team drafted, it’s not too late to get the 2023 NFL Draft Guide, which includes expanded scouting reports, draft grades, offseason reports, unique advanced data, PFF grades and much more.

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2023 NFL Draft Picks

R1 (8): RB Bijan Robinson, Texas
R2 (38): T Matthew Bergeron, Syracuse
R3 (75): EDGE Zach Harrison, Ohio State
R4 (113): CB Clark Phillips III, Utah
R7 (224): S DeMarcco Hellams, Alabama
R7 (225): OG Jovaughn Gwyn, South Carolina

Day 1: Teams wouldn’t usually receive an “average” grade for taking a running back in the top 10, but it’s hard to dislike this pick too much, given how good Bijan Robinson was in 2022. An impressive athlete at 220 pounds, he set a PFF college record with 104 missed tackles forced in 2022, producing a 95.3 PFF grade in the process.

Day 2: Bergeron is a nimble tackle with a very in-control play style. He played significant time at both tackle spots for Syracuse but could kick inside to guard for Atlanta. Bergeron needs to have more of a killer mentality and better hand usage, but this is a good fit for the 6-foot-5, 318-pound lineman.

The Falcons addressed some of the holes along their defensive line in free agency, but it’s still a group that could use more young talent. At 6-foot-6 with 36-plus-inch arms, Harrison is now one of the longer edge defenders in the NFL. He’s just not likely to make an immediate impact as a pass-rusher, given the lack of bend and a clear pass-rush plan he showed at Ohio State.

Day 3: Phillips is undersized (5-foot-9 with arms just over 29 inches long) and a below-average athlete. That’s not a great combination and why he’s slid to this point in the draft. However, Clark is a physical, savvy coverage defender who can compete for a role in the slot with Atlanta. He tallied six interceptions and four pass breakups in his final season with the Utes, allowing a 68.4 passer rating into his coverage.

Hellams is a stout run defender, earning an 86.8 grade in 2022 and forcing seven incompletions, which ranked in the top 25 among safeties.

Gwyn is an undersized guard who put up 34 reps on the bench press and earned a very respectable 76.0 pass-blocking grade in 2022. He’s an interesting fit in the Falcons' offense with limited lateral movement ability.

Prospect Spotlight: RB Bijan Robinson, Texas

Robinson has such an uncanny ability to stop and start for a 220-pounder. And when he is at top speed, good luck trying to tackle him. Robinson set the PFF college record with 104 broken tackles in 2022.

Strengths, weaknesses and NFL role

Where he wins: Completeness

Robinson has answers for everything. He can run with power, speed or elusiveness. He set the PFF single-season broken tackle record this past fall with 104.

What's his role? Feature back

Robinson is more than just a bell cow. He's a back you make the focal point of your offense. Whether that's 15-plus carries a game or scheming up targets as a receiver, you want the ball consistently in his hands.

What he can improve: Fumbles

This is about the only thing that really moves the needle negatively with Robinson. His six fumbles on 539 carries could stand to get cleaned up.


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