Even after a productive free agency, the Falcons have some holes to fill, especially on defense. I don’t think cornerback is out of the question for the Falcons, but it makes it more likely the Lions will take one of the cornerbacks they like. This is going to be my second trade down scenario of the series, because I’m a big fan of getting as many bites of the apple as possible. We already explored trading down and up, so let’s take a crack at trading down again before we lock into chalk draft predictions. 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)
- Falcons: Offseason 2023 Mock Draft 5.0 — Trade Down Scenario (5 Rounds)
- Falcons: Offseason 2023 Mock Draft 6.0 — Trade Up Scenario (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, Pick 113
Patriots Trade: Pick 12, Pick 46, 2024 Second Round Pick
The Patriots have made it clear they aren’t happy with Mac Jones, so they parlay a few picks to move up for a quarterback. Whoever that is isn’t of any concern to me, but I think this is a good haul for the Falcons. This gives them an extra second round pick and a future second rounder for 2024.
Round 1, Pick 12 (From New England): EDGE Lukas Van Ness — Iowa
If the Falcons could move down and still grab Van Ness, I’d be overjoyed. Ryan Nielsen had a lot of success with Trey Hendrickson in New Orleans, and Van Ness is drawing a lot of comparisons to the two-time Pro Bowler who had 13.5 sacks in his last season with the Saints. Van Ness is a physical specimen — he has a rare blend of size and athleticism that is going to appeal to a lot of NFL teams. He can play all over a defensive front, and with the Falcons still needing help on the EDGE — he should be able to contribute immediately. He’s a bit inexperienced, but with the veterans across this defensive line (never thought I’d be able to say that), he should have time to mature into a really good pass rusher.
Round 2, Pick 44: LB Trenton Simpson — Clemson
Like in my last trade down scenario, I use the advantage of having extra draft capital to grab a stud at a non-premium position. Instead of Jack Campbell, let’s mix it up and go with Trenton Simpson. Simpson is the classic chess piece who can be used all over a defense, and the Falcons still have a need at linebacker. Simpson has ridiculous range and athleticism, and for his size, he’s a monster in coverage. He also delivers some punishing hits. Simpson should give the Falcons a young superstar in the making at the position, something they badly need.
Round 2, Pick 46 (From New England): IOL Cody Mauch — North Dakota State
One more true need for the Falcons, Mauch has the lateral mobility and athleticism to be a huge piece at left guard. A positionally-versatile lineman, Mauch has had an interesting transformation in college. He arrived at North Dakota State as a walk-on tight end, but he eventually put on enough weight to transition to tackle, where he excelled. As quick as he is on his feet, Mauch has great balance and plays with a mean streak. He’ll need to add a bit of functional strength, but he has plug-and-play starter written all over him — something the Falcons badly need at left guard.
Round 3, Pick 75: CB DJ Turner — Michigan
I still like Sydney Brown in this spot, but let’s mix up the picks a little bit. I don’t think cornerback is ruled out for the Falcons — you can never have enough talented defensive backs. While Devon Witherspoon is my guy in this draft, Joey Porter Jr. and Christian Gonzalez are monsters, and I love some of the second-round corners like Emmanuel Forbes and Cam Smith — this is a deep class. Turner is living proof of that. What he lacks in size and length he makes up for with pure explosiveness. He clocked a 4.26 40-yard dash at the combine and jumped out of the gym. Turner is scheme versatile, but his athletic gifts and refined technique should allow him to contribute in the slot and on special teams immediately.
Round 4, Pick 110 (From Tennessee): RB Chase Brown — Illinois
He isn’t Bijan Robinson, but this is a great group of running backs, and I couldn’t resist grabbing Chase Brown here. Brown is a home run hitter with very impressive burst between the tackles, and for a guy as swift as he is, he’s a very physical runner. He’s willing in pass protection, and he has the makeup of a bellcow running back in the NFL. His RAS would be near perfect if it wasn’t for his height — he posted a 4.43 40-yard dash with a 1.5 second 10-yard split and a 40-inch vertical. Cordarrelle Patterson isn’t going to be around forever, so pairing Brown with Tyler Allgeier could give the Falcons a really talented young duo to establish the run with.
Round 4, Pick 113: WR Kayshon Boutte — LSU
Boutte had a disaster of a combine, let’s get that out of the way. However, I think this is the point in the draft where you roll the dice on someone with tape as impressive as his. He can play all over the field and make defenses pay with the ball in his hands — which he did regularly at LSU. He won’t be tasked with being the primary pass catcher in an offense featuring Kyle Pitts, Drake London, and others. He’s a massive risk here, but with the haul we have so far, I’m willing to take a chance. Guys with bad combines have turned into NFL contributors before.
Photographer: Keith Gillett/Icon Sportswire
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