Mike Gesicki– TE, Penn State
The Falcons would not go back-to-back skill position players in the first two rounds would they? Like I have said many times before, Thomas Dimitroff always seems to have a few tricks up his sleeves during the draft. Gesicki has all the potential in the world to be a bonafide superstar at the tight-end position. He will not ever be a superior blocking tight end, but the ability to become one of the best red-zone threats in the NFL is there. Austin Hooper was lackluster as the team’s starting tight end a season ago, and with Levine Toilolo being cut, Atlanta needs another tight end for the future. Adding Ridley and Gesicki in the first two rounds would give the Falcons one of the deadliest receiving cores all-time on paper.
Da’Shawn Hand– DL, Alabama
While Gesicki would make for a sexy pick, the reality is the Falcons need to bolster their interior defensive line. Hand might be a sleeper in the year’s draft. The former #1 overall recruit out of high school never lived up to his potential while at Alabama, but the freakish size and athleticism is still there, and it showed at this year’s combine. The 6’4, 297 pound prospect ran a 4.83 40-yard dash with a vertical of 31.5 inches. The biggest questions surrounding Hand are his desire to take his game to the next level. That is why many believe he never really shined in Alabama’s defense. However, as a second or third round pick, he would make a nice addition to this Falcons defense.
B.J Hill- NT/DT, NC State
Hill is another option the Falcons could snag, probably in the third round, and bolster their interior defensive line. The loss of Poe would allow for Hill to compete for the starting position from day one. Hill starred on the daunting NC State defensive line that also included #5 overall pick Bradley Chubb. He has pretty good athleticism for a big fella, running a 4.99 40-yard dash and posting a 7.28 in the 3-cone drill. There are certainly areas Hill will have to improve in if he wants to become a starter in the NFL, but there is upside with this possible third-round selection.
Braden Smith– G, Auburn
Finding a future option at the guard position is definitely something the Falcons would like to do in this draft. Braden Smith out of Auburn has been regarded to by ESPN’s draft expert Mel Kiper Jr. as “the most underrated” Auburn player in the draft. The 6’6, 315 pound guard certainly has the body, strength and athletic build to make it in the NFL, and there is a chance he will be available when the Falcons pick in the second round. If he is available, this pick should not surprise anyone, and Smith could be occupying a starting guard spot sooner than people might think.
Josh Sweat– DE, Florida State
Sweat is another one of those top-10 overall high school recruits that never really came to fruition during his time as a Seminole. However, he did post 12.5 tackles for loss last season. More importantly, Sweat possesses all the physical tools to be a dominant pass rusher in the NFL. He ran a 4.53 40-yard dash with a 39.5 inch vertical jump weighing 253 pounds at this year’s combine. Technique is what has prevented Sweat from reaching his full potential, but under a terrific defensive coach like Dan Quinn, he might be worth a second or third round pick.