Falcons' first two free agent moves tell us exactly what they're going to do at No. 8

  • The Atlanta Falcons addressed their biggest issue by signing Kirk Cousins on Monday.
  • By adding Darnell Mooney in the second day of free agency, another issue has been fixed.
  • After those two pickups, here is exactly what Atlanta will do at No. 8 in the 2024 NFL Draft.

Darnell Mooney, Chicago Bears
Darnell Mooney, Chicago Bears / Meg Oliphant/GettyImages

We are not even two days through free agency, but Terry Fontenot has put on a masterclass when it comes to improving his team's chances of contending. The Atlanta Falcons already had the pieces in place for a good offense; they just needed a better quarterback. Well, they just got one in Kirk Cousins coming over from the Minnesota Vikings in free agency. And no, Fontenot was not done...

Very early in the second day of NFL free agency, he acquired former Chicago Bears wide receiver Darnell Mooney. He was a former draft pick by Atlanta front office executive Ryan Pace when he was calling the shots in Chicago. Mooney perfectly complements Drake London and Kyle Pitts in the Atlanta receiving corps. The Falcons could make a few more moves, but all eyes are on the NFL Draft.

Because they did not give up precious draft capital to trade for someone like Mooney's former Chicago teammate in quarterback Justin Fields, Atlanta still has all of its picks, including a precious one at No. 8. It should be as easy as shooting fish in a barrel, but here is exactly what the Dirty Birds should do with their top-10 pick: Draft a pass rusher at No. 8, preferably Dallas Turner out of Alabama.

If Atlanta gets better outside on the edge and at cornerback, this team will be so very hard to beat.

Predicting what Atlanta Falcons do at No. 8 overall after NFL free agency

For as well as Fontenot has drafted offensive players in the first round (Kyle Pitts, Drake London, Bijan Robinson), he needs to go with an edge rusher at No. 8 overall this year. This is right around where Turner will be coming off the board. While I can understand an argument for the Falcons going with an offensive lineman like a Joe Alt out of Notre Dame at No. 8, this team is ready to win games right now.

Another option would be to get one of the best defensive backs in the draft. To me, you would have to trade back from No. 8 to do that. While guys like Jessie Bates III and A.J. Terrell are outstanding, Clark Phillips III is still young and the rest of the secondary is largely unproven. The Richie Grant pick a few years ago has not been one of the better draft picks Fontenot has made, and he has a lot of big hits.

What I would do if I were Fontenot, or among the flock of front office executives situated in Flowery Branch, is to add a few more value pieces in free agency. If you can land a guy like Danielle Hunter coming off the edge in free agency, I would be behind that as well. For now, Atlanta has done enough in free agency to where if it wants to focus its attention on the NFL Draft, it can comfortably do that.

If the dominoes fall as the should, Turner will be the eighth overall pick by the Falcons in a few weeks.

Next. Grading every major 2024 NFL Free Agency signing so far. Grading every major 2024 NFL Free Agency signing so far. dark