1. CJ Henderson, Florida cornerback
Drafting a safety would help the Falcons secondary, but selecting a potential starter at cornerback could improve things much more dramatically. That’s why the Falcons will take a long look at Henderson if he’s still on the board at No. 16.
He isn’t the complete prospect that Jeff Okudah is, but he’s a terrific athlete who wasn’t afraid to go toe-to-toe with the best receivers in the SEC last year. That sort of athleticism and competitive streak should make him an attractive choice for the Falcons.
At worst, he could come in right away and give the team a boost at their nickel spot. Long-term, he’s going to grow into a reliable option on the boundary. It’s reasonable to think he could make that transition quickly enough to be a starter when next year’s playoffs roll around.
The real question the Falcons need to answer is whether they believe the draft’s second-best corner will still be on the board at 16. The odds are in their favor, but it’s far from a certainty. A trade a couple of spots up the board might be worthwhile in eliminating that risk. Henderson would be a great boost for an Atlanta secondary that really needs an infusion of talent.