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Ryan 'excited' about Falcons' draft picks

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Dan Parr

dparr@pfwmedia.com
Associate editor

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By Dan Parr

The Falcons didn’t have a first-round pick this year after trading it to the Browns at last year’s draft to move up in the first round and nab WR Julio Jones, but they did make six picks, spending the first three on offensive players to help protect the face of their franchise, QB Matt Ryan.

Ryan told PFW Monday he liked the haul of prospects GM Thomas Dimitroff delivered over the weekend.

“I think it’s good,” Ryan said. “I think Thomas and his staff have done a great job the last four years in our drafts and picked up guys that have helped contribute to our team. I have a lot of faith in what he does. I think we got some good players coming in — guys that can help us out next season.”

Atlanta’s second-round pick, C-OG Peter Konz, was the most highly regarded center in the draft and could be the team’s starter at right guard from Day One. Third-rounder Lamar Holmes will get a chance to compete at offensive tackle and FB Bradie Ewing, a fifth-round pick, could eventually take over for FB Ovie Mughelli.

The Falcons addressed defensive needs with their last three picks, selecting DE Jonathan Massaquoi (fifth round), SS Charles Mitchell (sixth round) and DT Travian Robertson (seventh round).

“Whether it’s offense or defense, I think it’s just trying to improve our football team as a whole,” Ryan said. “I think that Thomas has a vision and felt like he needed to make some moves on the offense early in the draft. I’m excited about that. I’m looking forward to getting to meet these guys and working with them, learning some things about them and getting them adjusted to our system.”

All three of the Falcons’ division rivals spent their top pick on a defensive player, so Ryan’s task didn’t get any easier over the weekend. He has a pretty good idea of the kind of player the Panthers landed in the first round with the ninth overall pick, LB Luke Kuechly — Ryan’s fellow former Boston College Eagle.

“Luke’s a great player,” Ryan said  “I’m happy for him as a fellow Boston College alum. I think he’ll do a great job (in Carolina). He’s going to be tough to play against. I think he’s going to be a very good player in the NFL.

“That will add to the rivalry that we have with them and just keeps improving an already tough division in the NFC South.”

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