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Looking back at Dan Quinn's last six first-round picks

Atlanta Falcons wide receiver Calvin Ridley (18) warms up prior to an NFL football game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Sunday, Jan. 3, 2021, in Tampa, Fla. (AP Photo/Kevin Sabitus)
Atlanta Falcons wide receiver Calvin Ridley (18) warms up prior to an NFL football game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Sunday, Jan. 3, 2021, in Tampa, Fla. (AP Photo/Kevin Sabitus)

The Washington Commanders have made several franchise-altering decisions over the last few months. Just days after the 2023 season ended, they hired general manager Adam Peters to help turn the franchise into a winning organization. Weeks later, they hired Dan Quinn to help guide the roster into a new era.

In two weeks, the Commanders will make another major decision when they're on the clock with the No. 2 overall pick in the NFL Draft.

It should be noted that Quinn will not have the final say in who the Commanders will pick. Technically, that responsibility rests with Peters, although he's preached a collaborative approach that includes several voices besides his and that of the head coach.

Quinn will still be an important voice in the process, though, and his previous head-coaching stint with the Atlanta Falcons included some impressive first-round picks. Three of them have at least one Pro Bowl appearance, and while some have had winding careers, all had some successful seasons playing for him.

Here's a look at each of the Falcons' first-round picks with Quinn as their head coach and what they've accomplished in the NFL so far.

2015, 8th overall: OLB Vic Beasley

Beasley is currently on a hiatus from the NFL. After last playing for the Raiders in 2020, he was selected No. 1 overall by the Vegas Vipers in the XFL in 2023. He was drafted by the Arlington Renegades in January during the UFL dispersal draft, signing with the team on Jan. 31.

Beasley showed flashes of the talent that helped him become a first-round pick with the Falcons, recorded 37.5 sacks and 156 tackles in 78 games with 60 starts. His best year by far came in 2016, when he led the league in sacks (15.5) and forced fumbles (6). He received a First Team All-Pro selection and Pro Bowl nod for his efforts.

Beasley couldn't repeat that production for the rest of his time in Atlanta but remained a key contributor and led the team with eight sacks in 2019. Over the next three seasons, he started in 32 games, recording 23 tackles for loss in that span. He's seventh on the Falcons' all-time sack list.

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2016, 17th overall: S Keanu Neal

Neal had to wait a bit to become a full-time starter. When he made his debut in Week 3 against the New Orleans Saints, it didn't take long to live up to his first-round reputation. He racked up five forced fumbles and 106 tackles, placing him second on the team behind Deion Jones.

The following year, Neal ranked second among all safeties with a career-high 116 stops, which helped him earn his first and only Pro Bowl. He also grabbed his first interception, which he returned 19 yards in a 22-10 Week 17 win over the Carolina Panthers.

Neal tore his ACL in Week 1 of the 2018 season and then did the same to his Achilles three games into the 2019 campaign. When he was on the field, however, he was one of the most productive players in the Falcons secondary.

Neal returned from his Achilles tear in 2020 and recorded 100 tackles but was not re-signed by the team. He's spent time with three teams in as many seasons and is currently a free agent.

2017, 26th overall: DE Takkarist McKinley

McKinley was regarded as one of the top defensive line prospects in the country, receiving First Team All-Pac-12 recognition for recording 10 sacks, 18 tackles for loss and six pass breakups. He was regarded as a Year 1 starter by's Lance Zierlein, and the Falcons grabbed him in the first round to bolster their pass rush.

McKinley had a promising start to his NFL career, recording 13 combined sacks in his first two seasons. He couldn't replicate that success as a full-time starter in 2019, although he did record double-digit quarterback hits for the third consecutive year.

McKinley was released after the Falcons during the 2020 season and spent time with the Cleveland Browns and Los Angeles Raiders. He was most recently a member of the Dallas Cowboys' practice squad in 2023 and was set to return on a one-year but was released less than three months later. He's currently a free agent.

2018, 26th overall: WR Calvin Ridley

The Falcons needed another weapon to pair with future Hall of Famer Julio Jones in 2018, so they decided to take one of the top receivers on the board. Prior to his indefinite suspension for violating the league's gambling policy, there was an argument that he was one of the top 20 receivers in the NFL.

Ridley found instant success as the Falcons' third receiver, catching 69.6% of his targets for 821 yards and 10 touchdowns. He continued to be a go-to target for the next two seasons, catching 16 touchdowns in that span and earning a Second Team All-Pro selection for recording a career-high 1,374 yards in 2020.

Ridley returned to the NFL ahead of the 2023 season and was traded to the Jacksonville Jaguars. Though it had been more than a year since he played in an NFL game, Ridley showed that he could still be a No. 1 threat, catching 76 of his 136 targets for 1,016 yards and eight scores.

Ridley signed with the Titans this offseason and is set to begin his sixth season alongside DeAndre Hopkins.

2019, 14th and 31st overall: G Chris Lindstrom and T Kaleb McGary

The Falcons needed to bolster their offensive line after allowing 41 sacks and averaging the sixth fewest rushing yards in 2018. They doubled down on that in the first round of the 2019 draft, taking Lindstrom at 14th overall and then trading back up to select McGary.

Both players were Year 1 starters, although Lindstrom suffered a broken foot and didn't play until December of that season. McGary has been the Falcons' starting right tackle since Week 1 of the 2019 season, appearing in 77 games with 76 starts. He has since calmed down from the 13 sacks and 49 pressures he allowed as a rookie and is coming off a 2023 season where tied a career-low in sacks allowed (4) with just 17 pressures.

Lindstrom made a full recovery and has started every game since the injury. He's been one of the best guards in football over the last two seasons, earning Second Team All-Pro and Pro Bowl selection in 2022 and 2023. Pro Football Focus has given him a grade of at least 83 since 2021.

2020, 16th overall: CB AJ Terrell

Quinn's time with Terrell was short, as he was relieved of his head-coaching duties with the Falcons early in the 2020 season. Still, the No. 16 overall pick from Clemson has proven himself as a solid starting cornerback over the last four seasons.

Terrell had a nose for the ball to start his career, recording four interceptions and 23 pass breakups in his first two seasons. He earned a Second Team All-Pro nod in 2021 for hitting career highs in interceptions (3), pass breakups (16) and tackles (81). He was targeted 66 times, allowing a catch rate of just 43.9%.

While Terrell hasn't recorded an interception since 2021, he's been a difficult defender for offensive with 20 combined pass breakups in 2022 and 2023.

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