I’m borrowing this idea from @MattKaroly and laying out who I would want at three of the Falcons potential drafting spots — their own pick, Denver’s 9th pick and New England’s 15th pick. He outlined some potential options at each draft point, and I figured I would lay out each of my own favorite choices. With Sam Darnold being traded to Carolina, trading down may be easier, or more difficult. It depends on how well the Falcons keep up the illusion (or reality) that they’re all in on a quarterback, and how bad a team wants “their guy”. With that being said, let’s get going.
5. WR Ja’Marr Chase, LSU
4. OL Penei Sewell, Oregon
3. QB Justin Fields, Ohio State
2. QB Trey Lance, North Dakota State
1. TE Kyle Pitts, Florida
Ja’Marr Chase would be a game changer, but I simply like a few more names ahead of him. Sewell is a plug and play starter at a position of need on the offensive line, likely at left guard. Nothing has really changed since my last quarterback rankings, and I’d be plenty happy with any of these guys. One of the quarterbacks will likely be gone, but I like Mac Jones a lot. He’s a very smart quarterback that has a next level understanding of defenses. However, Kyle Pitts is above any other prospect here for me — when the best player available is on the board, you take him.
9th Pick (From Denver)
5. CB Jaycee Horn, South Carolina
4. WR Jaylen Waddle, Alabama
3. CB Patrick Surtain II, Alabama
2. OL Rashawn Slater, Northwestern
1. QB Mac Jones, Alabama
I have Jaycee Horn a little lower than most, but I have my reasons for that. As far as build goes, he’s off the charts. However, he was VERY handsy at South Carolina, and while that will fly in college, it’s a hold in the NFL. A good coaching staff can clean that up, but he’s a risk at nine.
I like both Smith and Waddle, with Waddle getting a slight edge over Smith. Surtain II is a fine prospect, but scouts doubt his top end speed. I’m not a big advocate of drafting slow corners, but he has fantastic hips and is rock-solid technically.
Rashawn Slater has All-Pro potential at guard from day one and has a serious chance of being drafted before Penei Sewell. Slater would instantly give the Falcons one of the best young guard tandems in the entire NFL.
Mac Jones is the interesting pick here. There’s smoke that he may be selected by the 49ers, but Justin Fields or Trey Lance is still in play. There is a possibility a team that moves up likes him as well. For now, I think he’s the realistic option to go 9th overall, and I’d be overjoyed if the Falcons pulled this off. Jones may not have a cannon, but he has the arm talent to put the ball anywhere it needs to be. He shredded defenses in college with his knowledge of opposing personnel, and while he played in a quarterback friendly system, he could develop into a franchise quarterback under Arthur Smith.
15th Pick (From New England)
5. EDGE Jaelan Phillips, Miami
4. EDGE Azeez Ojulari, Georgia
3. EDGE Zaven Collins, Tulsa
2. OL Alijah Vera-Tucker, USC
1. CB Greg Newsome II, Northwestern
I like Jaelan Phillips, especially as a scheme fit, but his concussion history is a bit of a concern. Ojulari is a great scheme fit as well; he has the best “bend” in the entire class. I think Zaven Collins will fly up draft boards — he’s one of the most versatile players in the class and tested off the charts athletically. It’s almost an insult to call him an edge rusher. Alijah Vera-Tucker is a lot like Slater — a plug and play guard that would immediately have All-Pro potential at a position of need. Greg Newsome is one of my favorite players in the class, and this would be very similar to the AJ Terrell pick. Reaching up the board a bit for a talented corner, but I think Newsome II has a lot of Jaire Alexander in his game. He’s worth the reach, just like Terrell was.
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