When it comes to the NFL draft, teams like to keep their plans a secret. However, the Atlanta Falcons may have tipped their hand with their latest roster move.
On Thursday, the Falcons released RB Ito Smith. He had spent all three seasons of his careers with the Falcons, recording 1,003 all-purpose yards and 6 touchdowns.
Keeping that in mind, the Falcons' No. 1 back entering the season is former Carolina Panthers RB Mike Davis. While Davis has shown that he can handle the starter role, Smith's release could reveal that the Falcons will be targeting a running back somewhere in the early-mid rounds of the draft.
The Falcons can afford to wait until the middle of the draft to address their running back needs. The organization has five draft picks between Round 3 and 5, and a lot of the picks are early in each respective round because of where the Falcons finished last season. They might even bundle these picks together in to move up and snag somebody that they like.
The Falcons could also wind up drafting a running back in the second round with the 35th overall pick if someone like Clemson RB Travis Etienne falls back to them. In four seasons at Clemson, Etienne recorded 6,107 all-purpose yards and 78 touchdowns in 55 games. He's one of the most talented running backs in the draft, but he's currently projected to be a late-first or early-second round pick in some mock drafts.
Either way, the Falcons are fortunate enough to have options when it comes to addressing future running back needs. With nine picks total entering the 2021 NFL Draft, the Falcons should find a back they like in at least one of the rounds to join Davis next season.
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