Nolan Smith is a name that’s gaining a lot of steam around Atlanta leading up to the draft. This is the last edition of this series before I do my personal mock draft based on what I want to see and my predictions for what I think the team will do, so I wanted to talk about Smith. I’ve already explored some trade down scenarios, but reports are coming out about a team wanting to move up for Jalen Carter. So, I’ll be taking a crack at one more trade down scenario before getting into the chalkier options. Previous editions are listed below:
- 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)
- Falcons: Offseason 2023 Mock Draft 7.0 — Post Okudah Trade & Trade Down 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.
Pittsburgh Steelers Trade: Pick 17, Pick 80, 2024 First Round Pick
Falcons Trade: Pick 8, Pick 113
I pondered picking up pick #32, which the Steelers got from the Bears for Chase Claypool, but I’d rather defer to 2024 in case the Falcons need some ammo to trade up for a quarterback. I hope that doesn’t happen, but I’ve talked about plenty of second round guys so far, so let’s punt to next year.
Round 1, Pick 17 (From Pittsburgh): EDGE Nolan Smith — Georgia
I love Nolan Smith, but I don’t love him with the 8th pick. Let’s get the best of both worlds. There’s a lot of smoke surrounding him and the Falcons, but there’s one thing I know about this kid — his character is off the charts. He’s a very smart player, and even after tearing his pec, he was an extra coach on the sideline right next to Kirby Smart and Will Muschamp. When he was playing, he was a hellish run defender with violent hands at the point of attack. He tested really well in Indy, and his pass rush upside is evident. He needs to work on his plan overall, but the sky is the limit for Smith.
Round 2, Pick 44: CB Deonte Banks — Maryland
Banks is getting some first round love, and I understand why — he’s a freak athlete. However, like Tariq Woolen last year, I could see him going early on day two. He was available in the simulation, and even though I usually like Emmanuel Forbes in this spot, let’s take a gamble. Banks tested out of his mind at the combine; he ran a 4.35 with a 1.45 10-yard split. His 11’04” broad jump and 42″ vertical were equally as impressive. On the field, he wasn’t super productive, but he’s a very physical, sticky man corner that can really get up in guy’s faces. He has a ton of upside, and I think his best football is ahead of him. The Falcons can afford to ease him into this talented secondary.
Round 3, Pick 75: WR Rashee Rice — SMU
I love the value with this pick. Rice has the size and athleticism teams covet in an NFL receiver, and his teammates rave about his leadership skills. He’s very dynamic with the ball in his hands, and he got better every year at SMU. He’ll have to develop and adjust to an NFL offense, but I really like him as a third option while he hopefully blossoms into a high-quality WR2.
Round 3, Pick 80 (From Pittsburgh): EDGE Byron Young — Tennessee
I’m going to double dip on EDGE here since I haven’t talked about Byron Young (from Tennessee) just yet. Young has some really impressive burst off the ball and should be able to contribute as a designated pass rusher immediately. His technique and overall football instincts need some polish, but the Falcons can actually afford to let him develop with Bud Dupree, Nolan Smith, Lorenzo Carter, and others in the fold. He’s a lottery ticket, but the Falcons can make that gamble on a pass rusher in the third round.
Round 4, Pick 110 (From Tennessee): RB Tank Bigsby — Auburn
I was surprised to see Bigsby available with my last pick, but I’m not complaining. The Falcons have gotten good value out of Tyler Allgeier, a fifth-round pick, so perhaps they can plunk another talented back on day three of the draft. Cordarrelle Patterson is awesome, but he won’t be around forever. Bigsby has the body for the NFL, and he has impressive bursts in between the tackles. If he can develop as a pass catcher, he’s going to be a complete back and provide great value at this point in the draft. Besides, who doesn’t want a running back named Tank?
Photographer: Jeffrey Vest/Icon Sportswire
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