Kendall Sheffield Jersey

The Falcons have swapped up from #117 and threw in pick #186 for pick #111 and wound up with Ohio State CB Kendall Sheffield.

The team was strongly tied to cornerbacks throughout the pre-draft process, and they’ve made a CB their third selection in this class, indicating that they like Sheffield’s potential over the long haul even if there may not be room for to start in 2019. Sheffield needs coaching, per most scouting reports, and isn’t necessarily a ballhawk. However, he’s extremely fast and combines the ability to smother receivers with the ability to get into the air and hang with tall receivers, despite his modest height.

If the Falcons can get him on the field this year—and they will—he’ll be intriguing right away thanks to that athletic profile. There may be room for him outside next season, however, if the Falcons shuffle their cornerback group or move on from Desmond Trufant. At the very least, he’s intriguing depth for a team that could always use more athletic cornerbacks.

That suggests, though, that he’s destined for big things with Atlanta. We’ll see how the team rolls him out in 2019 and what moves they make to make room for him in 2020, whether a reshuffling or ushering in the Isaiah Oliver/Sheffield era. Exciting times.

Give him a warm welcome!

Kaleb McGary Jersey

McGary started every game at right tackle for the Huskies in 2016, 2017 and 2018, playing virtually every snap over that period.

He is the first UW offensive lineman to be drafted since Senio Kelemete went in the fifth round (to Arizona) in 2012.

The heart arrhythmia is not all McGary has overcome. In January 2018, a fire damaged about half of the McGary family’s house in Fife.

The family had already relocated once, in 2012, after losing their family farm in southwest Washington. Kaleb’s dad, Justin, during the economic recession, saw his shifts as a union longshoreman dwindle, and soon after he was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis.

The family’s resolve would be tested again when Kaleb’s heart issues surfaced during his junior year at Fife High. It took several years and several minor procedures, but Kaleb reported in December 2018 that he hasn’t had any recent issues.

“It’s just tick, tick, ticking away. No complaints, man,” he said in December.

He continues to have perspective through all of these experiences.

“I’ve been really very fortunate,” he said. “The fire: Yeah, a lot of really important stuff went up in the fire, but nothing that lived or breathed did. You can always replace that other stuff. My heart: Yeah, it was a big pain, and certainly a big scare. But in the end, it turned out OK. It was a simple couple procedures, and I was right back at it. I would say, never losing sight of what’s important — very, very stubborn determination and persistence.

“And not being afraid. Not being afraid to give it what you got. I’ve only got one shot at this, so I need to give it what I have. So here I stand, man. Here I stand.”

Chris Lindstrom Jersey

It would be fair to suggest that the Falcons have surprised us in the first round of the draft for four years running. That started with Keanu Neal, who went a round earlier than he was projected to, and continued with Takkarist McKinley, who relatively few surmised would be a trade-up target for Atlanta. Calvin Ridley was obviously a surprise and so was tonight’s selection, Chris Lindstrom, who is a guard (a position the Falcons hardly ever prioritize in the draft) and was not linked to the Falcons by virtually anyone in the first round.

Given all that—and given how divisive the pick was destined to be—how are Falcons fans feeling early on about the selection?

As of the time of publication here, over 50% of Falcons fans gave the selection a B. To understand why, you have to get into what’s important to fans and what the Falcons promised they’d do this offseason.

Why don’t 29% of fans love the move? Easy: Lindstrom was a shocker with consensus top edge rushers and tackles available, and tackle seems like the bigger immediate need. It’s not a slam dunk that Lindstrom, good as he’s reputed to be, is an elite, ten-year guy at the position, given that he sometimes got pushed around by some of the top defensive tackles in this very class. And then, of course, there’s the fact that the Falcons did not exactly go budget with James Carpenter and Jamon Brown, and unless one of those players is getting consideration at tackle, the Falcons paid that money for a high-priced backup with apparently full knowledge that Lindstrom was on their radar. He was always going to be available at #14.

Overall, though, there’s more cautious optimism than I thought there would be. Let’s hope Lindstrom proves to be the best Falcons guard since…well, since a long time ago.