Falcons Mock Draft 2.0: Trade Down Scenario (5 Rounds)

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If you missed my Falcons Mock Draft 1.0, as it stands, Atlanta is currently around the same draft range. I also have a full Round 1 Mock Draft for every NFL team if you’re interested in that. I’ve advocated for Atlanta moving to a 3-4, and it still makes way too much sense with the trio of talented linebackers in the fold. I’ll be drafting for a 3-4/4-3 Under scheme.

 

Falcons Get: Pick 26, Pick 34, Pick 52
Jaguars Get: Pick 8

 

Atlanta picks up the Rams first-round pick and Vikings second-round pick that were traded to Jacksonville in the Jalen Ramsey/Yannick Ngakoue moves. This team has multiple holes, and I like many players that could be available at the top of the 2nd round. Jacksonville could use the 8th pick to snag an offensive tackle or pair Justin Fields (likely) with a top-flight wide receiver like Devonta Smith. Jacksonville does have some nice weapons, and like Atlanta — they have a lot of holes. They could desire the picks to have the extra draft capital, but this is my mock draft so… whatever. A few notes before I start:

 

  • This would be a new look 3-4 defense
  • Using the NFL Draft Trade board, this would be an overpay for the Jags. Top 10 picks are at a premium, the Steelers traded a 1st (20th), 2nd (52), and 3rd (Future) to move up to 10th for Devin Bush. It’s a mock — don’t take it too seriously. Nobody is ever right.
  • I like to pick bigger names in the later rounds until The Combine, when the athletic “freaks” start to show themselves as potential late-round gems.
  • I have no gripes with staying at 8 and taking Rousseau, but he was the pick in the 1.0 Mock linked at the top. I wanna mix it up.

 

Round 1 Pick 26 (From LA Rams, via Jacksonville): EDGE Azeez Ojulari, Georgia

 

Get used to this folks, Atlanta needs an EDGE almost as bad as any other team in the NFL. Ojulari won’t be the last, but he might be the best. There’s a lot to like about keeping the UGA product in state. Ojulari is a sack machine, and he’s one of the best pure speed rushers in the class. As I mentioned, I love all three of the linebackers Atlanta has in the fold. They all do something slightly different, but Ojulari could either be a strongside pure EDGE in a Von Miller type role or a smaller 3-4 DE at 6’3 & 240 pounds. Regardless, his presence will be welcome after Takk McKinley’s antics got himself cut and Dante Fowler Jr.’s continued struggles. Roll the tape:

https://twitter.com/KevinKeneely1/status/1315046537328648193

 

Round 2 Pick 34 (From Jacksonville): EDGE/OLB Zaven Collins, Tulsa

 

I kind of wanted to double up with Dawgs by taking Jordan Davis here, but I know I’d get called out on that. How about one of my favorite prospects instead? You can never have enough EDGE rushers in today’s NFL, and Collins is a jack-of-all-trades that has upside in so many areas. He is a freak athlete who is a chess piece on Tulsa’s defense. I could easily see him out playing this draft position, but he would add another versatile piece to Atlanta’s front-seven that desperately needs the help. Collins is a true three-down linebacker that can hurt opponents in many ways; he’ll be a day one starter for almost any team. 

https://twitter.com/TulsaFootball/status/1319828092949549056

 

 

 

 

Round 2 Pick 39: RB Najee Harris, Alabama

 

The Todd Gurley experiment has been a failure in my book. Ito Smith has shown flashes but only has 33 carries on the season. Brian Hill averages 4.3 YPC, but he’s been awful in pass protection and the receiving game. This team plays so much better with a dangerous backfield combo, and I’m VERY much in favor of doubling up on running backs with a comp pick. Atlanta’s offense was at their best with their Coleman-Freeman two-headed monster. 

Onto Najee. What do I have to say about this kid? He’s massive, he can catch, he can run, and he’s a freak athlete for his size. As crazy as it sounds, his technique needs a little work. He’s a big back, so he tends to run big as well. He’s a ball of clay that a certain Kansas City Chiefs OC & running backs coach would have a fun time with if he came to Atlanta.

https://twitter.com/thecheckdown/status/1334944890174652417

https://twitter.com/ESPNCFB/status/1330275648917614598

 

 

 

Round 2 Pick 52: (From Minnesota, via Jacksonville): S Andre Cisco, Syracuse

 

Safety is a glaring need with Keanu Neal being an impending free agent. KeKe is making an interesting case for a contract extension, but Atlanta will be tight on money going into 2021. Even IF Neal returns, Damontae Kazee is a free agent, and Ricardo Allen may be a cap casualty. A move to safety could be in the cards for Isaiah Oliver, but an upgrade should be welcome regardless. Luckily for the Falcons, this class is stacked at safety. 

Jevon Holland is certainly an option, as I profiled him in the first mock draft. Paris Ford is a hard-hitting thumper in the mold of a Neal, but Cisco provides Atlanta with a little bit of everything. He has opted out of the 2020 season due to injury, but he’s a fantastic prospect. One thing Atlanta’s defense has struggled with for what feels like forever is creating turnovers. Cisco led the ACC in picks in 2018 AND 2019 and notched one in 2020 before his injury. He is only 20; he’s not a typical thumper, but he’s a ballhawk that Atlanta’s secondary could desperately use a dose of. 

https://twitter.com/ACCFootball/status/1247515543759990784

 

 

 

Round 3: IOL Landon Dickerson, Alabama

 

Najee Harris gives this pick a thumbs up. The Matt Hennessy experiment has not gone according to plan — he’s gotten whipped in pass protection at guard and is expected to move to center next season. With Javon Alex Mack (sadly) surely a goner, the Falcons need to find another interior offensive lineman. Chris Lindstrom is holding strong as PFF’s 8th ranked guard, but help is needed on the interior. Dickerson can hold his own in pass pro, but he can clear lanes a truck could drive through in the running game. PFF has Dickerson as the top-ranked run blocker and 3rd overall for centers. He was a transfer from Florida State and struggled with injuries in Tallahassee, but he’s been consistent in Tuscaloosa. Dickerson’s versatility should be appealing as well — if Hennessy can’t get it done at center, he should be able to step in.

 

Round 4: CB Paulson Adebo, Stanford

 

Defense, Defense, & more Defense. AJ Terrell has been fantastic, but the secondary still needs help. Kendall Sheffield has been one of the worst corners in the NFL (via PFF) about all season, and while Darqueze Dennard was immensely valuable on a $910,000 deal — he’s still an expiring contract and is replaceable. Isaiah Oliver ranks 62nd by PFF, so an upgrade is very welcome.

Paulson Adebo could be a steal in the fourth round after a free fall down draft boards. An opt-out due to the Pac-12’s incompetence, Adebo still put plenty on tape in years prior. He is a mean and long corner at 6’1 and is not afraid to get his hands dirty as a tackler. His eight career INTs shows some ability as a pure cover corner, but he’ll likely be limited to the boundary. Adebo’s raw, but he’s a good value in the 4th if available. 

 

 

 

Round 5: QB Desmond Ridder, Cincinnati

 

I wanted another corner here, but this class seems to thin out significantly in the later rounds. There will be a healthy run of comp picks in the 3rd and 4th, so I’ll try my best to account for those. I’m holding chalk on this one; I’m still in on Desmond Ridder. He was the last pick of my Mock Draft 1.0, but he gets a bump here. Ridder’s numbers aren’t amazing, but he’s spearheading a potent Bearcat offense, throwing 16 TDs, and running for 11 more. At 6’4, 215 pounds — he’s got the size and athleticism teams should be coveting. The ball just looks different coming out of his hand, and he’s insanely fast. 

 

 

 

 

Round 5 Projected Compensation Pick: S JaCoby Stevens, LSU

 

I wanted another EDGE. I did Victor Dimukeje in my last mock, and I would still love him here. But as of now, no defensive tackles catch my eye. Corners available will probably be barren at this point too. I even considered doubling up on running backs or interior offensive linemen. However, I’ll address safety again instead.

The former 5-star Stevens is a versatile piece that can play a little sub linebacker at 6’2 & 230 pounds. He may be a tad too slow to be a full-time safety, but he has projectability all over the field. His numbers speak for themselves — four career picks, a forced fumble, nine sacks, and 13 PBUs. He’s your thumper back at safety and sub linebacker in nickel situations. Hopefully, he’s more Derwin James than Su’a Cravens. He doesn’t possess the quick-twitch reflexes or straight up athleticism as James, but he’s going to be an enforcer.

 

 

 

Photo: Steve Nurenberg/Icon Sportswire

 

 

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