The Atlanta Falcons might have the most talented starting lineup in the entire NFL. That makes the hole in the team’s starting lineup a glaring one. That hole is at right guard. The team signed Hugh Thornton in free agency, but it’s hard to rely on a player who missed the entire 2016 season because of injury.
63. Atlanta Falcons: Dorian Johnson, G, Pittsburgh
Choate: I suspect you won’t find a bigger Dorian Johnson enthusiast than me, but even acknowledging that fact, this is an ideal marriage of need, round, and fit.
Johnson is already solid in pass protection and figures to be a fine run-blocking guard at the NFL level once he has a little experience under his belt. He’ll have an easier time learning on the job next to Alex Mack and Ryan Schraeder. He’ll need to work on his consistency and effectively lock down some of the more agile defensive tackles in the NFL to really excel, but he should be able to step right in as a starter for Atlanta. The Falcons, meanwhile, address their two most glaring 2017 needs in the first two rounds, snagging two immediate starters.
I don’t view guard as the team’s biggest need — I took Derek Rivers in the first round with Forrest Lamp on the board, after all — but Johnson is simply too good to pass up here. I genuinely think he’ll be an above-average starter in the NFL for 8-10 seasons, hopefully all of them with the Falcons.
Analysis: If Choate is at the front of Dorian Johnson fanboy line, I’m right behind him. Although I don’t rate him incredibly high, I think he’s an immediate starter at the next level. For a good team, I’m more in favor of filling holes early than taking the best player available. Johnson would slot into the starting lineup straight away and help bolster Atlanta’s blocking.
Dan's top five players remaining
- 26. Tim Williams, LB, Alabama
- 41. Alvin Kamara, RB, Tennessee
- 50. Curtis Samuel, RB/WR, Ohio State
- 53. Ryan Anderson, LB, Alabama
- 55. Raekwon McMillan, MLB, Ohio State
- 1-31: Derek Rivers, DE/OLB, Youngstown State
- 2-63: Dorian Johnson, G, Pittsburgh
We're down to one final pick. It will be up tomorrow at 9 a.m. ET from the Carolina Panthers and Cat Scratch Reader. Who will it be? Let us know your guess for the writers' mock Mr. Irrelevant in the comments.
What grade do you give the Falcons for picking Johnson?
This poll is closed