Assessing Falcons’ picks from The Athletic’s Dane Brugler’s 7-round mock draft

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Dane Brugler of The Athletic did a 259-pick mock draft that had some interesting picks for the Falcons. Brugler focused on team needs, fit (scheme and culture), and other breadcrumbs (draft trends, pro days, etc.).

4th pick, Trey Lance

We have talked about all of these quarterbacks enough, so here’s Brugler’s reasoning, “The Falcons have three options: draft a quarterback, the top non-quarterback (Kyle Pitts) or trade back to the highest bidder. Matt Ryan will be Atlanta’s starter in the short-term, but the idea of grooming Lance in head coach Arthur Smith’s offense is an exciting long-term succession plan.”

35th pick, Travis Etienne

This is where things get interesting. Taking any running back this high is something I am completely against. With that being said, Etienne is absolutely electric and would serve Arthur Smith’s zone-based scheme perfectly. His ability to take any carry for a touchdown is unmatched in this class, providing something the Falcons don’t currently have with Mike Davis and Ito Smith.

68th pick, Ronnie Perkins

I mentioned Perkins as a mid-round defender Terry Fontenot should target; from that piece, “Perkins is one of the most enthusiastic and explosive defenders in this draft. The most underrated aspect of the Oklahoma product’s game is how powerful he can be, living in the backfield, both as a pass rusher and against the run. The power he possesses becomes clear when setting a strong edge against pulling guards, fullbacks, or tight ends. There are multiple examples on tape of him forcibly pushing behemoth’s a lot bigger than him back from the line of scrimmage. His power and intelligence consistently help him in pass-rush situations.”

108th pick, Marco Wilson

Brugler continued to address the defense by selecting the infamous shoe thrower from the LSU-Florida game, Marco Wilson. I prefer the second-round pick to be a defensive player too, but taking third and fourth-round defenders is at least trying. Wilson lit up his pro day in Gainsville, running a 4.37 40-yard-dash while jumping an incredible 43.5 inches in the vertical jump, giving him an eye-popping 9.99 RAS. He played off-man coverage much of his time in college, so he seems like a schematic fit, but the shoe-throwing incident might turn Fontenot and Smith off.

148th pick, David Moore

Before the senior bowl, many didn’t know who Grambling’s David Moore was, but he’s a fast riser up many draft boards. He was voted best offensive lineman by his peers in Birmingham after handling some of the best defensive linemen in the draft easily. His hand usage and placement could use refining, but he’s a stout run-blocker who is athletic enough to get to the second level of the defense — a necessity in Arthur Smith’s offense. Addressing the offensive line will come sooner or later in the draft, Brugler felt the fifth round was soon enough.

182nd pick, Shawn Davis

Davis seems like the exact type of prospect that Fontenot and Smith are going to fight for. The former Flordia Gator possesses the toughness, instincts, and range to play safety at the next level. Even though he doesn’t have the physical attributes to become one of the best safeties in the league, Davis has enough football IQ to get the job done, as he showed in Gainsville. His physicality and intangibles make him a prime special teams candidate, but waiting until the sixth round to take a safety is questionable.

183rd pick, Darius Stills

Stills makes sense for Dean Pees’ defense as he’s a versatile defensive lineman who can align in many different techniques. He comes off the line of scrimmage like a rocket and wants to make a splash play every snap, but sometimes it hampers him and feels like it’s either “boom” or “bust” with Stills. He’s a better pass-rusher than he is a run-stuffer — but a late-round development project nonetheless.

187th pick, Garret Wallow

Wallow was one of the most consistent linebackers in the Big 12. Playing at 215-pounds in 2019 but over 230 as a senior makes you wonder what his ideal playing weight is because he seemed a bit slower this past season. The former Horned Frog is a talented linebacker who has instincts with a nose for the football and enough chops in coverage to be a three-down defender. More than likely, he would be a special teams contributor.

219th pick, Matt Bushman

If he played with Zach Wilson last year, many think he would be a top 100 prospect in this year’s class. A season-ending leg injury cut his collegiate career short, but he was impressive in the three seasons prior. He demonstrates the versatility to align flexed out or inline and is a good enough athlete with enough straight-line speed to be a matchup problem for slower linebackers and smaller safeties. Bushman has shown toughness and a willingness to block inline in the run game; he’s a complete tight end.


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