Falcons final mock drafts reveal pundits have no idea what’s coming


The NFL Draft is finally here after what feels like an eternity of mock drafts. The Falcons have been projected to take more than a dozen prospects since the 2022 campaign ended.

Lukas Van Ness, Devon Witherspoon, Christian Gonzalez, CJ Stroud, Bijan Robinson, Nolan Smith, Tyree Wilson, Peter Skronoski, etc. It tells me that media pundits don’t have a grasp of what’s coming down the pipe, and that notion continues in their final mock drafts.

Albert Breer of Sports Illustrated: Lukas Van Ness

“In a scenario where Stroud goes second, Wilson could fall here, and I think the Falcons would take him—I’ve heard their new DC, Ryan Nielsen, sees some shades of Cam Jordan in his game. Van Ness is the same sort of bigger defensive end favored by the New Orleans scheme Nielsen is bringing. And the one other name here to watch would be Texas RB Bijan Robinson. At No. 8? Maybe. Or maybe GM Terry Fontenot would trade down (Atlanta has called around, fishing for trade-down options).”

Peter King of NBC Sports: Bijan Robinson

“This is too high to pick Robinson, of course. I do know the Falcons really want to trade down, and I do know they like Robinson (who doesn’t?) because he’s the best running back in the draft and has the rare ability to segue into receiver mode with great hands and strong slot capabilities. Of course they’d want to trade down, because taking Robinson at eight would be leaving draft capital on the table. But if they take Robinson, here or lower, imagine the investment in young offensive weapons if this comes true. Round one, fourth pick, 2021: tight end Kyle Pitts … Round one, eighth pick, 2022: wide receiver Drake London … Round one, eighth pick, 2023: running back/slot receiver Bijan Robinson. Add 1,000-yard rookie running back Tyler Allgeier from the fifth round in 2022, tight end Jonnu Smith in free agency this year, and maybe one more profitable year from runner/receiver/returner Cordarrelle Patterson and tell me—would there be a team in the NFC South that’s better in in-prime offensive weaponry than Atlanta?”

Peter Schrager of NFL Network: Christian Gonzalez

“The Falcons get a Day 1 starter in the uber-athletic Gonzalez. He and Devon Witherspoon are both expected to go in the top 10. Atlanta has beefed up its defense all offseason; that continues here.”

Todd McShay of ESPN: Devon Witherspoon

“What a pick this would be for the Falcons, who could put Witherspoon opposite A.J. Terrell to shut down opponent receiving corps every Sunday. I love Witherspoon’s physicality and instincts in coverage, and he can make plays on the ball. He intercepted three passes last season and broke up 14 more. As an aside, I do think Texas running back Bijan Robinson could be in consideration, but more so if Atlanta moves back from No. 8.”

Mel Kiper of ESPN: Tyree Wilson

“I think Atlanta would love to grab one of the top corners, but they’re off the board in this scenario. The 6-foot-6 Wilson has a high ceiling as a pass-rusher, even if he was inconsistent at times in college. He would fill a huge hole here.”

Nobody knows anything; it’s one of the most unpredictable drafts in recent memory. There is only one lock, and it is Bryce Young going to the Panthers 1st overall. It makes sense why Terry Fontenot reiterated those sentiments.

The Falcons regime has stated they’re open to trading up or down the draft board. Numerous NFL insiders have suggested the same, which makes a lot of sense. This is a weak draft, particularly in the first round.

I’m eager to see how the board shakes out and which player is the next great Falcon, but your guess is as good as mine. For the first time in the new regime’s tenure, there is no obvious prospect. Many pegged the Falcons to take Drake London last cycle and Kyle Pitts in the 2021 NFL Draft. Now, everyone has a different prediction.

Photographer: Ken Murray/Icon Sportswire

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