MOCK DRAFT 2.0
With the 2015 NFL Draft approaching rapidly, I present the second mock draft of the offseason. I would love to see everyone comment and tell me who you think Atlanta should draft and what strategy they use. With that being said, here is the second mock.
Round 1: TRADE with the Cleveland Browns (12th Pick)
Selection: Randy Gregory
Outisde Linebacker, Nebraska
How about a trade to start the draft? In this mock, I have Atlanta trading down with the Cleveland Browns to get Cleveland’s first round pick and third round pick of the 2015 draft. Randy Gregory was a top prospect at the beginning of the offseason, but his stock has gone down as of late. Gregory tested positive for marijuana, which I believe is being a little overhyped by NFL analysts. Even though it shows a lack of responsibility on his part, he probably has learned his lesson since everybody now knows he failed his drug test. After watching game film on this prospect, his game compares to the likes of Aldon Smith and Chandler Jones. It has been said a countless number of times, but the Falcons desperately need a player who can sack the quarterback. In the two years Gregory played in Nebraska, he had 17.5 sacks. Gregory could play the “Leo” linebacker position, as are suppose to be long-armed, athletic, and can rush the quarterback. Vic Beasley could be picked before number 8, so that is why Atlanta will trade down on this pick and gain a potential star that the Falcons have needed for years.
Round 2: Ameer Abdullah
Running back, Nebraska
Two Nebraska players selected in the first two rounds. I promise I am not a Nebraska fan. I just believe that Atlanta needs a running back to complement Devonta Freeman and Antone Smith. I would rather have Todd Gurley or Melvin Gordon, but realistically those two may be off the board before Atlanta could get their hands on them. Ameer Abdullah is the next best available running back and he could start for the Falcons from day 1. In 2013 and 2014, Abdullah gained over 1600 rushing yards and had over 6 yards per carry. He also made it into the endzone 19 times last year and was a Heisman candidate throughout most of last year. The key to turning around a sub-par team is to fill in the gaps that are needed to be filled. Abdullah and Freeman could become a 1-2 punch such as Jeremy Hill and Giovanni Bernard, the running backs for the Cincinnati Bengals.
Round 3: A.J. Cann
Offensive Guard, South Carolina
During Cann’s tenure at South Carolina, he was a four-year starter and missed only one game in 2012. Durability is not an issue for this man, who can fill in the void at left guard. The downside on Cann is that he has some technique issues, but coaches in the NFL can easily fix that. I see A.J. Cann solidifying the left guard position for many years. The 6’3” offensive guard is so durable that fans do not have to worry about him being injured during the season. Weighing in at 313 pounds and having almost 33” arms, Cann has a wide base and he maintains that base when he plays. He has great instincts, keeps low pad level, high football IQ, and very good at getting out to block for screens. This guard has a lot of upside and potential to him, so the Falcons should hopefully be able to draft A.J. Cann.
Round 3: Cleveland Browns Pick
Selection: Nick O’Leary
Tight End, Florida State
The tight end out of Florida State tallied up 48 receptions for 618 receiving yards, while reaching the endzone 6 times in 2014. O’Leary was one of the top targets for the expected first pick in the draft, Jameis Winston. Not only is O’Leary a threat as a receiver, but he excels at pass protection. During Florida State’s game against Notre Dame last year, O’Leary boosted the play of the offensive line and was a beast at pass protection in one of the biggest games of the year. I project O’Leary would play the H-back, where he will block and be able to catch passes from Matt Ryan. O’Leary plays with grit, determination, and toughness every game. He fights for extra yardage and rarely drops passes. He could toughen up the competition the Falcons have at tight end and maybe overtake Levine Toilolo’s starting position.
Round 4: Tre McBride
Wide Receiver, William & Mary
Many people do not know who Tre McBride is, but they need to learn fast. McBride will catch anything thrown his way, He is quicker than most of the receivers, and has elite body control. He did not play against the best competiton in college, but he is a talent that is rising on NFL teams boards. He has improved his route-running and can find the openings in zone coverages, which is a key trait for a wide receiver. McBride is also very intelligent and has a high football IQ. He needs to improve on selling his routes and leaving his defender in the dust. Even though he did not play against very great competition, I believe his game can transition into the league.
Round 5: Ramik Wilson
Inside Linebacker, Georgia
The Falcons have inside linebacker Paul Warrilow, but Atlanta needs to complement him with someone else. Ramik Wilson was a three-year starter at Georgia, playing in the SEC: the toughest division in college football. I am an advocate of players who play against tough competition, so SEC players are usually above most others in the draft class. Wilson can get from sideline to sideline, he is well-balanced, and does not miss many tackles. Wilson would be a development project, but if developed correctly, he could become a three-down linebacker. Atlanta has gotten linebackers in free agency, but it never hurts to add young talent to challenge the veterans.
Round 6: Jalston Fowler
Check out Mock 1.0 on why the Falcons should choose Fowler.
Round 7: Rannell Hall
Wide Reciever, UCF
If a player tests for the same SPARQ rating as Amari Cooper, that player should probably be noticed. What is SPARQ? SPARQ consists of speed, power, agility, reaction, and quickness. It gives a player areas that he needs to improve on. Scouts say Hall has a high football character and he had an incredible Senior Bowl Week. Seventh Round draft picks are players who try to make the 53-man roster, and I think Hall would have a good shot at making the team. Atlanta needs to add depth at the receiver position, so Hall could become a fourth or fifth receiver for the team.