The Athletic names Falcons best value pick in NFL Draft

The Falcons have been scolded by media pundits across the board for their selection of Michael Penix Jr. in the first round. It’s the biggest storyline coming out of the NFL Draft, and people have every right to question Atlanta’s plan after they also just signed Kirk Cousins to a $180 million contract in free agency.

The Athletic names Falcons best value pick in NFL Draft
The Athletic names Falcons best value pick in NFL Draft
It’s the kind of move that can make or break a regime. If Penix doesn’t pan out, Raheem Morris and Terry Fontenot will have a difficult time keeping their jobs. However, the draft is about a lot more than just the first round. Fontenot has shown a knack for finding significant contributors on Days 2 and 3. If that’s the case again with this year’s class, the fire burning at his feet from the decision to take Penix will eventually subside.With their next three picks, the Falcons addressed their pass rush, taking three defensive lineman. They traded up for Ruke Orhorhoro in the second round, which left many scratching their heads, much like the Penix selection. Then the Falcons finally started to receive some praise for their third and fourth round picks.

Washingtin’s Bralen Trice was taken with the 74th pick, who led all of college football in pressures last year, and the Falcons went back to the Pac-12 in the fourth round, selecting Brandon Dorlus out of Oregon. If there’s one pick that is seemingly being unanimously praised, it’s Dorlus, who Josh Kendall of The Athletic tabbed as the Falcons best value pick of this year’s draft class.

Atlanta Falcons: Brandon Dorlus, DT, Oregon

The Falcons got Dorlus one round lower than Brugler expected him to go. The 6-foot-3, 283-pounder was Brugler’s No. 75 overall player and eighth-rated defensive tackle, and he does not lack confidence. “I’m a guy who can do anything,” he said. “I feel like I have the highest IQ out there.” Dorlus, an All-Pac-12 player each of the last three seasons at Oregon, had 134 quarterback pressures over the last two seasons, more than any defensive tackle in major college football. He also led Oregon with eight pass breakups last year thanks to an 81-inch wingspan. — Josh Kendall

If you’re a fan of the consensus, you must be a fan of Brandon Dorlus. Pretty much every NFL Draft outlet has dubbed Dorlus one of the steals of the entire draft and the best pick the Falcons made last week. Given the Falcons waited until the middle rounds of the draft to finally address the pass rush, they need a late-round selection like the Oregon product to hit if they want to have a respectable defense in 2024.

Updated Falcons 53-man roster, practice squad, IR list

The hits keep on coming for the Braves. Sean Murphy hasn’t played since the opening series against the Phillies after suffering an oblique injury. Spencer Strider is out for the season with a torn UCL. Ozzie Albies has also missed some time, and now Pierce Johnson is heading to the IL with elbow inflammation.

It’s just the 15-day IL for now, and I’m sure Brian Snitker will have some comments on the injury prior to tonight’s showdown with the Los Angeles Dodgers, but I don’t have to tell you how serious elbow injuries can be when it comes to pitchers. Even if Pierce Johnson does avoid the worst case scenario, Max Fried missed multiple months with elbow inflammation just last season.


It’s a tough blow for a Braves bullpen that has been fantastic through the first month-plus of the season. Pierce Johnson quickly turned into one of Brian Snitker’s most reliable arms after being acquired at the trade deadline last year, appearing 24 times and recording a 0.76 ERA with a 12.2 K/9. This season, Johnson’s pitched in 13 games with a 3.00 ERA and 12.0 K/9. However, he was on a run of seven straight appearances without allowing a run, including five in a row without allowing a hit.

The good news is the Braves have a plethora of arms down in the minors with major-league experience that can take Johnson’s place. Jackson Stephens will get the first crack, but Ken Giles, Ray Kerr, and Daysebel Hernandez all are more than capable of filling Johnson’s shoes if he’s to miss extended time. Hopefully, that’s not the case, but the Braves do have the firepower to right the ship if need be.

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