Falcons: Final 2021 Mock Draft (7 Rounds)

second round

Sadly, this is my final mock draft for the 2021 draft season. This one is my most realistic prediction of what I think will happen on draft night, but I stand by the statement that you have a better chance of having a perfect March Madness bracket than predicting even fifteen picks of an NFL Draft.

I’ll be using the player rankings from TheDraftNetwork and their trade machine to generate trades. I’ll also be referencing the Relative Athletic Score (RAS), and while it’s a valuable tool, be advised these are Pro Day numbers and likely a bit tilted in favor of the player. If you missed the chalk Mock Draft 1.0 and my ideal Mock Draft 2.0, you can find those below:

 

2021 Falcons Mock Draft 1.0

2021 Falcons Mock Draft 2.0

 

Round 1, Pick 4: TE Kyle Pitts, Florida

I don’t think the Falcons get an offer worth their while. I could be talked into Justin Fields or even Rashawn Slater here, and I could see Atlanta moving down, but I’ll stick to the base nine picks for now. If Terry Fontenot is true to his word and wants to take the best player available — the pick will be Kyle Pitts. From Alex’s profile on Pitts:

The 6’6″, 245-pound freak ran his 40-yard dash in a remarkable 4.44 seconds, recorded a 10’9″ broad jump and a 33.5-inch vertical leap. However, the most impressive measurement had to be his wingspan, which is over 83 inches and is longer than any other wide receiver or tight end that has been measured at the NFL combine in the last 20 years.

Even though the Falcons need defensive help, the Kyle Pitts train continues to chug along. With those incredible measurables, teams have concrete numbers to base their evaluations off, which they didn’t really need. I think Pitts is the quintessential tight end for today’s NFL — able to play in every phase of an offense — and if someone like Kyle Shanahan or Arthur Smith got their hands on him, NFL defenses will be decimated for the next decade.

Smith is a tight end guru who has turned multiple players in Tennessee into stars. A receiving core with Julio Jones, Calvin Ridley, Hayden Hurst, and Kyle Pitts is essentially unguardable. Staying in 1-2 personnel would force defenses to remain in their base personnel as two tight ends on the field threaten nickel packages in the run game. There are endless ways for Smith to attack defenses with those four at his disposal

Pitts can do it all. Arthur Smith will use him all over the field, and he would be WR1 in a loaded wide receiver class. You can split him out wide, put him in-line, use him as an H-Back, and even get him some reps in the slot. On top of his fantastic athletic build, he is one of the most dominant players at the point of attack in recent memory. His catch radius and soft hands also make him the safest pick for me, giving the Falcons an immediate X-Factor on offense.

 

Round 2, Pick 35: C Creed Humphrey, Oklahoma

I love the top of the second round. There is potential running back, offensive line, defensive line, and secondary talent available — making this arguably a tougher pick than #4. I have to give the edge to Creed Humphrey here; he’s a plug-and-play starter from day one. Ryan Tannehill thrived under Arthur Smith when he had a clean pocket, so you can only imagine what Matt Ryan could do. 

Humphrey is one of the safest picks in this class, and he fills a potential need with Matt Hennessy’s future up in the air. If Dwayne Ledford brings out the best in him, the Falcons will finally be keeping Matt Ryan upright and opening massive lanes in the run game again. 

 

Round 3, Pick 68: IDL Milton Williams, Louisiana Tech

This is usually my Richie Grant spot, but I like the safety depth in this draft. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again — if you haven’t heard of the name Milton Williams, learn it. Williams’ measurables and athletic testing were off the charts. His RAS ranked fourth all-time for defensive linemen, behind the likes of Myles Garrett and Mario Williams

Looking at his chart, his 10.01-inch broad jump, 38.5-inch vertical, 4.62 40, 4.25 shuttle, and 6.87 3-cone literally should not be possible for a guy his size. While these were done at a Pro Day, he has Aaron Donald beat in everything except arm length — short by about half an inch. Having only ten tackles for loss in 2020 is a bit concerning, but the impact is shown on film. He gobbles up double teams, so next to Grady Jarrett and Marlon Davidson, he could be an absolute hellraiser and the biggest steal of the draft if he reaches his potential.

 

Round 4, Pick 109: IOL Trey Smith, Tennessee

I don’t know if Trey Smith will be available this far down the board, but he had some medical issues that could drop him in a deep class. His future may be at guard in the NFL, but I think he’ll be a very good one. After grabbing a plug-and-play starter at center with Humphrey, the Falcons build some more depth up front and grab a plug and play starter at left guard.

Smith is a wonky scheme fit for a zone team, but the reality is he’s incredibly strong and a rock-solid pass protector. His lack of athleticism could cause problems next to Jake Matthews, but I’m going with the best player available here.

 

Round 5, Pick 149: OT Spencer Brown, Northern Iowa

Yep, I’m going with another offensive linemen, and I think there’s crazy value with Spencer Brown here. I’m a little higher on Brown than most, but he dominated the Senior Bowl and is a freak athlete for a guy his size. He scored a 10/10 for his RAS at 6’8 and 311 pounds. The Falcons are going to have to think about life after Kaleb McGary if he doesn’t improve, and coming from a small school, Brown could slide in and start eventually at right or left tackle.

 

Round 5, Pick 183: EDGE Patrick Johnson, Tulane

I pondered Tariq Thompson here; he has a connection to the coaching staff, but with his poor RAS and Duron Harmon in the fold, the Falcons can focus on EDGE first. They need to build depth. Patrick Johnson is one of my steals of this draft; he tested very well athletically, ranking 131st out of over 1300 pass rushers all time. Over 34 games, Johnson notched 120 tackles, 34 TFLs, 21 sacks, 11 PBUs, and six forced fumbles. He has the production and the athletic upside, along with tons of versatility. He’s a chess piece that Willie Fritz used all over his defense, and Dean Pees would do the same.

 

Round 5, Pick 184: S Caden Sterns, Texas

I’m gonna go ahead and finally grab a safety here. Sterns fits that versatile mold that Dean Pees looks for, he can play high and in the box, and he’s a physical tackler. Sterns is a guy with a nose for the football, intercepting four passes as a freshman. He has a lot of playing experience at Texas, starting in 28 of 29 games. I’m not sure if Jaylinn Hawkins has a future in Atlanta, and Harris and Harmon are both on one-year deals. The Falcons lost a lot at safety this offseason, and they get two young pieces to build on with Wiggins and Sterns.

 

Round 6, Pick 188: RB Elijah Mitchell, Louisiana

I still want to get my hands on my favorite day three running back option, and I’m perfectly okay with missing on Najee Harris or Travis Etienne if things pan out this way. Unfortunately, Ito Smith was released, so the Falcons will likely have to address running back at some point. Mitchell is a bowling ball at 5’10 and 210 pounds, but he serves well as a blocker. Once again, he had a fantastic RAS, ranking 83rd out of 1463 running backs. His unofficial 4.38 40-yard dash and 6.94 3-cone drill will play, especially in a running back by committee rotation.

 

Round 6, Pick 220: FB Ben Mason, Michigan

Not the sexiest pick, but fullbacks are people too. The Falcons had some of their best success when Patrick DiMarco was paving running lanes, and the new front office could look to move on from Keith Smith. Mason is a four-year letterman for Michigan, and he was a leader for many years under Jim Harbaugh. Mason is a bruiser in the run game, solid in pass protection, and can play on special teams immediately. I think that’s solid value for a sixth-round pick.

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