I don’t really see Atlanta trading up with as many holes as this team has, but I already did a chalk mock draft & a trade down scenario. I’d love to trade down more than anything, but I want to mix it up. This is also the first mock that features the heir apparent to Matt Ryan. I don’t really care for trading up, but I figured I’d finish the trifecta
If you missed my first 2 mock drafts, you can see them here:
Falcons Get: Pick 32, 4th Round Pick
Chiefs Get: Pick 36, 4th Round Pick, & Future 2nd
I’m operating under the assumption that Kansas City is going to win the Super Bowl again. As expensive as their roster is getting and with the (likely) departures of Demarcus Robinson & Sammy Watkins, they can drop back and grab a few replacements at WR in a deep class. When Baltimore moved up for Lamar Jackson, they gave up two 2nd round picks and swapped 4ths. I’ll use that as the groundwork.
R1, Pick 4: QB Zach Wilson, BYU
Before I start, this is not a “replace Matt Ryan” pick. This is get a very talented quarterback under Matt Ryan to learn the NFL and maximize his gifts pick. If you want Penei Sewell, Micah Parsons, or Surtain II at 3, I won’t complain. I figured this would be the time to do a quarterback draft. This roster is expensive and aging, and while I still think a competent Head Coach can have this team in the playoffs — I don’t think (or hope) this team will be picking in the Top 5 again anytime soon. Hopefully Carolina squeaks out another W, because I could see them being interested in Wilson or Lance. Wilson is an extremely athletic QB and has good size at 6’3. He’s got great instincts and can make throws to all 3 levels of the field. Nobody will ever be him, but he has some Patrick Mahomes flair in his game. That’s about as high of a compliment as you can pay a quarterback. He has already had surgery on his shoulder, but if Atlanta takes a QB — this is my guy.
Same game pic.twitter.com/w9ehiRGqli
— Brian Hines (@iambrianhines) December 19, 2020
Sweet Mother of Divine this Zach Wilson throw is NSFW pic.twitter.com/lpvhOcq882
— Brad Kelly (@BradKelly17) December 8, 2020
Another angle of the best Zach Wilson throw of the year.
Hadley has to at least cut one of these guys to save the life of Zach Wilson.
— Benjamin Criddle (@CriddleBenjamin) November 26, 2018
Wanna see why Zach Wilson is projected as a 1st round pick?
Here's 1 BIG reason.
Unreal throw! pic.twitter.com/OuH3Uaiiq6
— Hans Olsen (@975Hans) December 6, 2020
R1, Pick 32 (From Kansas City): EDGE/OLB Zaven Collins, Tulsa
I’ll be recycling my profile from my Mock Draft 2.0, there’s just way too much to like about Zaven Collins. I know in 2.0 I had Atlanta drafting Najee Harris in the 2nd, but I think getting an impact EDGE at the end of the first is more important than Running Back at this point.
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.
Congratulations to @ZavenCollins for being named a semifinalist for The Bednarik Award!
Zaven’s Stats this season:
11.5 Tackles for Loss
4 Sacks pic.twitter.com/hxrnpvOfGe
— Maxwell Football (@MaxwellFootball) December 8, 2020
.@ESPN For your consideration.
— Tulsa Football (@TulsaFootball) October 24, 2020
ZAVEN COLLINS CALLED GAME! Hail Mary to tie it, pick six to win it! What a night for Tulsa! pic.twitter.com/lsU0gfDVRg
— CFB Pylon (@TheCFBPylon) November 20, 2020
.@TulsaFootball linebacker Zaven Collins named the Chuck Bednarik Award’s National Defensive Player of the Week. Collins totaled 6 solo tackles, 4 of those were for loss totaling 24 yards, including 3 sacks for -16 yards. #ReignCane pic.twitter.com/88PPYcm1FL
— Scott Pfeil (@scottpfeil) September 22, 2020
R3: IOL Landon Dickerson, Alabama
Last pick I’m stealing from 2.0, I promise. This just makes way too much sense, even in the wake of Dickerson’s injury in the SEC Championship. Everyone coming out to support him on the cart should show what type of guy Atlanta would be drafting, too.
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.
Every. Single. Week. pic.twitter.com/lv8m91NQU9
— Cole Cubelic (@colecubelic) November 29, 2020
What do you think Landon Dickerson’s teammates feel about him? Ultimate sign of respect from his guys. pic.twitter.com/vnKlB9ZzTs
— Jim Nagy (@JimNagy_SB) December 20, 2020
R4: (From Kansas City): EDGE/OLB Patrick Johnson, Tulane
*DRAFT SLEEPER ALERT*. Like with Victor Dimukeje in my previous drafts, I love a lot about Patrick Johnson. I had no idea he went to high school about 20 minutes away from me until now, so I swear this isn’t a homer pick. As you’ll see below, Patrick Johnson is no one trick pony. He’s technically sound and comes with a plan to get to the quarterback. Like Collins, he’s another chess piece that Willie Fritz uses all over his defense. He doesn’t really have that coveted NFL “length”, and not to compare the two, but neither did Aaron Donald. Johnson would be a fantastic pick at R4, and I wouldn’t be surprised if he shot up boards after the combine. Atlanta needs more than 1 EDGE, and Johnson is a steal here — he’s got 10 sacks this year and is tied for 1st in the FBS.
— DLineVids (@dlinevids1) October 17, 2020
— DLineVids (@dlinevids1) September 13, 2020
R5: S Paris Ford, Pittsburgh
I have to address safety at some point. Luckily there’s a few good ones in this class. I’m not sure Ford will last this long, but it’s a mock draft. They’re never right. I’ve seen him range from the 2nd to the 5th, so apparently nobody else knows either. Ford can lay the wood at 5’11 and with his 4.4 speed, he’s a threat all over the field. He’s got that sparkplug attitude which can lead to over pursuit, but I like the intensity he brings to the game. Before he opted out of the 2020 season, Ford notched 6 picks and 3 forced fumbles over the past two seasons. Atlanta is likely going to have a massive hole at safety, and may need to snag Ford (or another) well before this pick.
— Pitt Football (@Pitt_FB) September 19, 2020
The amount of ground covered to make the TFL by Pittsburgh S Paris Ford is impressive. pic.twitter.com/tTxWWTfm6J
— Cam Mellor (@CamMellor) November 23, 2019
What a hit by Pitt DB Paris Ford pic.twitter.com/giyGsJv83Z
— NCAAF Nation (@NCAAFNation247) November 23, 2019
Pittsburgh's Paris Ford using the ref to hide before making a play on the crosser — savvy. pic.twitter.com/0eq7X2haWR
— Austin Gayle (@PFF_AustinGayle) July 15, 2020
Compensation Pick: RB Kenny Gainwell, Memphis
So no Najee, what now? Kenny Gainwell is now.
Gainwell has a pretty terrible backstory. He didn’t play in 2020 after multiple family members passed away this offseason. He put enough on tape in 2019 to warrant my consideration. Last season for the Tigers he had 1,459 yards on the ground (6.3 YPC) to go along with 610 receiving yards and 16 total scores. He’s a very shifty and dynamic back that would make for an excellent change of pace gadget or third down RB.
2019 Tulane game – with this catch and run, Kenny Gainwell became the 1st player with 100 yards rushing and 200 yards receiving in a single game since 1997 pic.twitter.com/dDiVDoX4pe
— Jeb Hill (@memphistigerjeb) June 1, 2020
2019 at Louisiana Monroe. Kenny Gainwell is good at football pic.twitter.com/f2pdRigUOp
— Jeb Hill (@memphistigerjeb) May 31, 2020