Let’s get this disclaimer out of the way; obviously, someone in this draft will outplay their draft position by a country mile. That’s not what I’m addressing. In my last mock draft, I made two trades down and picked up a ton of defensive players like Christian Barmore and Jaelan Phillips. It’s all about navigating the board and getting a guy you like while picking up some additional picks.
Looking at some of the potential names available, the only one I would really consider at this point is Micah Parsons. Gregory Rousseau has taken a tumble down draft boards without even playing, and while I still think he could be a good prospect, you don’t take a guy who has won his entire college career based solely on his strength and athleticism. Patrick Surtain II is another solid option, but he’s a guy that I think will fall a bit and be available at the tail end of the top ten. Kwity Paye is an interesting name, but he would be a massive reach with the fourth pick, in my opinion.
So what about Micah Parsons? I think he could be a fantastic player, especially if Atlanta moves to a 3-4 defense like I’m hoping. The only problem is that Parsons doesn’t play a “premium position” at weakside linebacker, and the linebacking core is actually the strength of this Falcons defense right now.
Speaking of trading down, a guy like Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah has the potential to be better with a later draft choice. Even with either of these guys, Atlanta needs more of an EDGE presence or thumper to allow their very talented WILL linebackers on the roster to thrive. Moving Deion Jones back to his more natural WILL role and letting Mykal Walker continue to play fantastic coverage would be the best course of action for a 3-4.
If a team is going to take a defender within the Top-5, I firmly believe it should be at a premium position like cornerback or EDGE. Those are the most glaring needs for the Falcons, but there isn’t really a prospect worth STAYING at 4 for. If you can get a Paye, Surtain II, Owusu-Koramoah, or Parsons in the middle of the first round while picking up some picks — go for it. For now, I think the choice is obvious for Atlanta. Trade down, take Penei Sewell (if available), or take your quarterback of the future. I think Arthur Smith will trade down due to his success with Ryan Tannehill.