Even after a productive free agency, the Falcons have a lot of holes to fill, especially on defense. I’m usually in favor of trading down, but you have to find a partner to make it work. Today, I’ll explore a hypothetical trade down that focuses on picks from this year’s draft. Previous editions are listed below if you think I missed out on a player:
- Falcons: Offseason 2023 Mock Draft 1.0 (5 Rounds)
- Falcons: Offseason 2023 Mock Draft 2.0 — Post Senior Bowl (5 Rounds)
- Falcons: Offseason 2023 Mock Draft 3.0 — Post Combine (5 Rounds)
- Falcons: Offseason 2023 Mock Draft 4.0 — Post Tampering Period (5 Rounds)
TheDraftNetwork’s Mock Draft Machine is finally up and running, so I’ll be using that to make these picks. I’ll also be using Relative Athletic Score, which you can find the details for here.
Falcons Trade: Pick 8
Seahawks Trade: Pick 20, Pick 37, Pick 52
The Seahawks get really aggressive with their second round pick from Denver, their own second round pick, and their first round pick. For what player is to be determined, but that’s not really any of my concern. The Falcons pick up three picks and move back to the 20th selection. Atlanta now has five picks in the top 100, and an extra fourth rounder from the Titans they acquired for Julio Jones.
Round 1, Pick 20 (From Seattle): CB Joey Porter Jr. — Penn State
I’m pretty high on all of the cornerbacks in this draft — two of my mocks have featured the Falcons staying put and grabbing Christian Gonzalez and Devon Witherspoon. Both prospects are incredible, but Porter Jr. is in that echelon as well. I think he’s worth the trade down. Porter is a lengthy and imposing corner at 6’2 and 200 pounds, but his nose for the football may be what’s most impressive. He’s always around the ball and can hawk interceptions with the best of them. 2022 wasn’t his best season in terms of ball production, but he has a proven track record and would give a historically bad Falcons defense a true playmaker that can turn the other team over. The son of NFL Legend Joey Porter, JPJ has impact defender written all over him. Pairing him with AJ Terrell is too appealing to pass up on here.
Round 2, Pick 37 (From Denver via Seattle): LB Jack Campbell — Iowa
Another big need for the Falcons, they added some help at linebacker in free agency, but with an added luxury pick from Seattle, they can grab arguably the best one in this class. Campbell has a rare blend of size, athleticism, and pure instinct from the position. Atlanta does have Troy Andersen and Mykal Walker on the roster, but they could absolutely use an impact player like Campbell. I thought they’d address the position more in free agency, but this is a great time for a value pick at a non-premium position. The Butkus Award winner is heralded as an intense leader, and his play on the field speaks for itself. He would give the Falcons defense a heartbeat up the middle, and his testing results and traits indicate he has All Pro upside at a position the Falcons badly need help with.
Round 2, Pick 44: EDGE Felix Anudike-Uzomah — Kansas State
Once again, EDGE is still a sore spot for the Falcons. It isn’t all their fault — this wasn’t a great free agent class, but they can still snag a difference maker here. Anudike-Uzomah has a motor that runs red hot, and his build is almost prototypical for today’s NFL. He shows a lot of speed on tape; he’s a guy you can send after the quarterback almost every play and generate pressure. Not only is he a versatile EDGE, but he has that bend and twitch around the edge that NFL teams covet so badly. He has franchise pass rusher material, and with three picks, this Falcons defense is looking much more imposing.
Round 2, Pick 52 (From Seattle): S Sydney Brown — Illinois
I considered grabbing a wide receiver like Cedric Tillman here, but the Falcons haven’t made the position a priority in a bad free agent class. Their offense isn’t built on throwing the ball anyways, so why not go with another impact defender to put in the secondary? Brown’s calling card will be his versatility. He can be used all over a defense, and he does everything well. A freak athlete with great ball skills and instincts to pair next to Jesse Bates, AJ Terrell, and Joey Porter Jr. sounds pretty appealing to me.
Round 3, Pick 75: OT Jaelyn Duncan — Maryland
The Falcons have a need at swing tackle, and although Kaleb McGary is locked up for the next three seasons, Jake Matthews isn’t getting any younger. A high-upside player like Jaelyn Duncan makes a ton of sense right here with the defense looking much better. While his technique needs some work, Duncan is a fluid athlete for a 6’6, 330-pound guy. He has good feet and can pave the way as a run blocker, and he’s serviceable in pass protection. He should have a year or two to develop before taking over for somebody, and I like him as a reserve swing tackle right now and a future starting tackle when the Falcons eventually need one.
Round 4, Pick 110 (From Tennessee): IOL Andrew Vorhees — USC
As I’m writing this, the Falcons still have a hole at left guard. I’m all for bringing back Elijah Wilkinson, who was great in 2022, but the Falcons still need some fresh meat at the position. Vorhees is a road-grader as a run blocker, rock-solid in pass protection, and he can play in a variety of schemes. He has a great build for the position, but he could stand to be a bit faster when pulling. Regardless, with Vorhees on the board in the fourth round, he just made way too much sense for a team that could use a swing guard and potential starter.
Round 4, Pick 113: EDGE Dylan Horton — TCU
One of the few players I’ve talked about before, Horton’s value in the fourth round is way too good to pass up on here. Horton is a good athlete with a red-hot motor — two things I always look for in pass rushers. He’s going to need some time to develop, but you can take that type of chance in the fourth round when you’ve already grabbed some big time pieces for the defense. He should get plenty of opportunities to mix into Ryan Nielsen’s defense as a rookie.
Round 5, Pick 159 (From Jacksonville): RB Tyjae Spears — Tulane
I finally decided to take a weapon, and he’s a guy I’ve been hot on since the first edition of this mock draft. The last time we saw Spears, he was eating USC alive to the tune of 205 yards and four scores on the ground. While a bit undersized, Spears would make for a great change of pace back behind Tyler Allgeier and Cordarrelle Patterson. If the Falcons can develop Spears as a pass catcher, he’ll be another fifth-round success at the position.
Photographer: Randy Litzinger/Icon Sportswire
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