Falcons select Clemson defender in ESPN’s Mel Kiper mock draft

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The Falcons won’t be drafting for need in April. Terry Fontenot has remained adamant that the best player available will hear his name called, and I couldn’t support that philosophy more. It’s the right way to draft, and more often than not, the Falcons drafting your favorite prospect fills a need. That’s how devoid of talent this roster is. In Mel Kiper’s first mock draft, the ESPN analyst has Atlanta doing just that by selecting Clemson defender Myles Murphy.

The Falcons had just 21 sacks this season, which ranked 31st in the league, and they were led by Grady Jarrett‘s six. Veteran edge rusher Lorenzo Carter added four, while rookie second-round pick Arnold Ebiketie had 2.5. No other player had more than two. They have to get better along the front seven. That could start here with Murphy, a complete defender who had 17.5 sacks in three seasons at Clemson. He could even kick inside to tackle on passing downs.

Atlanta is another team with questions at quarterback, as rookie third-rounder Desmond Ridder flashed at times at the end of the season. He’s not a lock to be the Week 1 starter, though I expect the organization to do deep evaluations on this draft class and bring in another player to compete with him. For now, however, Murphy is too good to pass up.

The Falcons have plenty of areas to improve, so I’m not sure if Kiper loves the fit or actually sees Murphy as the best player left on the board. To me, there’s a considerable drop off in the first handful of prospects and the next dozen, and it wouldn’t be the worst thing in the world if the Falcons traded back to acquire draft assets.

Here are some names in the middle of Kiper’s first round: Broderick Jones, Joey Porter, Christian Gonzalez, Bijan Robinson, and Brian Branch. The latter two seem like sure-fire hits and are being projected to go at the end of round 1. If I’m the general manager, the Falcons are picking the sure-fire prospects. The team can’t afford to miss on a first-round pick. Granted, Drake London and Kyle Pitts are both hits. Hopefully, that continues in the regime’s third draft.

Photographer: John Byrum/Icon Sportswire

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