Falcons: Senior Bowl prospects, winners, and losers that should be on Atlanta’s draft radar

cgw21013024 seniorbowl

With the Senior Bowl over, another stepping stone to the 2021 NFL Draft is complete. Some guys shined throughout the week in practice and Saturday during the game, and others left with massive question marks. There are always odd rules in the Senior Bowl, such as no pre-snap motion or reviews, so I’ll try to take that into account. Keep in mind, just because a guy had a good or bad Senior Bowl week doesn’t mean they’ll be great or terrible in the pros, just what I noticed from practice and the game. Regardless, here are some guys I could see the Falcons taking a look at:

 

Quarterbacks:

 

QB Mac Jones, Alabama

QB Jamie Newman, Wake Forest

QB Kellen Mond, Texas A&M

I don’t really care for many quarterbacks in this class, but I think Mac Jones is criminally overlooked even though he didn’t play. He has nice touch on his deep ball and makes a lot of impressive throws. Jamie Newman has tons of tools, but I can’t carry the water for him as a UGA student. Kellen Mond has some tools, but he never took that next step at A&M. You can read my evaluation of some late-round quarterback options here; I go more in-depth on those guys there.

 

Winners & Losers:

Nobody played particularly well to change my mind about using a pick on a quarterback. Ian Book and Jamie Newman looked terrible, but Feleipe Franks and Kellen Mond made some nice throws — especially Mond in the third quarter.

 

Skill Positions:

 

RB Najee Harris, Alabama

RB Michael Carter, North Carolina

RB Kylin Hill, Mississippi State

RB Elijah Mitchell, Louisiana

RB Larry Rountree III, Missouri

FB Ben Mason, Michigan

WR Devonta Smith, Alabama

WR Kadarius Toney, Florida

WR Tylan Wallace, Oklahoma State

WR Nico Collins, Michigan

WR Sage Surratt, Wake Forest

WR Shi Smith, South Carolina

WR Amari Rodgers, Clemson

WR Dez Fitzpatrick, Louisville

WR Demetric Felton, UCLA

TE Hunter Long, Boston College

TE Tre McKitty, Georgia

TE Noah Gray, Duke

TE Kenny Yeboah, Ole Miss

Najee Harris is the big bruiser here, but Michael Carter, Kylin Hill, and Elijah Mitchell are all solid change of pace backs worth taking a look at. All three guys are pretty swift, so they would compliment well if the Falcons do draft a bruiser earlier. I would also love to take a flier on Ben Mason; he has been one of the best fullbacks in college football, something the Falcons have been missing since Patrick DiMarco.

I don’t think the Falcons should focus on wide receivers, but there are some very impressive names on this list, and they were a great group overall.

Hunter Long is a dangerous vertical threat as a tight end, and Noah Gray has some chops as a receiver. Long and Tre McKitty are both better athletes with much more projectability as blockers. Gray may be worth a look with a later pick, but I think Long is the best option outside of Kyle Pitts as a pure receiver, and McKitty would be better for a Luke Stocker replacement.

 

Winners:

I’m sold on Michael Carter; he was probably the most impressive offensive player. With Najee Harris inactive, Carter stole the show. Ben Mason also laid a nasty pancake block; I think Atlanta has to consider grabbing him at some point. Kadarius Toney probably launched himself into the first round at practice this week (if he hadn’t already). Demetric Felton looks like a fun gadget wide receiver that would be an interesting project with his versatility and speed. Dez Fitzpatrick impressed too. Kenny Yeboah caught a touchdown and looked solid as well.

 

Losers:

I’ve been on Kylin Hill for a while, and even though he was limited — he looked rusty after opting out mid-season. I still like him as a prospect. Larry Rountree III looked okay, but he didn’t make much of a splash. Same for Elijah Mitchell.

 

Offensive Line:

 

IOL Landon Dickerson, Alabama

IOL Trey Smith, Tennessee

IOL Quinn Meinerz, Wisc-Whitewater

IOL Aaron Banks, Notre Dame

IOL Robert Hainsey, Notre Dame

IOL Creed Humphrey, Oklahoma

IOL Deonte Brown, Alabama

IOL David Moore, Grambling State

IOL Alex Leatherwood, Alabama

IOL Drake Jackson, Kentucky

IOL Ben Cleveland, Georgia

OT Liam Eichenberg, Notre Dame

OT Dillon Radunz, North Dakota State

OT Alaric Jackson, Iowa

I have to talk about Landon Dickerson; he measured in the 97th percentile for all ACTIVE centers in the NFL for wingspan and size. He’s a great leader that’s very versatile and makes a ton of sense for the Falcons. His teammate Alex Leatherwood can play many positions, so I could see the appeal to him too.

I won’t go over all of these names, but Trey Smith would be fantastic at left guard, and Alex covered future Falcons legend Quinn Meinerz. Creed Humphrey has seen his draft stock tank, but he’s a solid option at center later on if the Falcons miss on Dickerson. I don’t see Atlanta investing in any non-Penei Sewell tackles, but Alaric Jackson is likely to kick inside once in the NFL.

 

Winners:

Dickerson didn’t play, but Radunz played well, and Quinn Meinerz stole the spotlight with his charisma and overall fun story. David Moore out of Grambling was fantastic and should be on Atlanta’s radar. Robert Hainsey impressed me as well.

 

Losers:

Deonte Brown and Drake Jackson both struggled, but they will still garner some late day two and early day three consideration. Brown was probably the biggest disappointment out of this group. Alex Leatherwood and Alaric Jackson were not fantastic either, but they were going against a talented group of pass rushers.

 

Front Seven:

 

IDL Levi Onwuzurike, Washington

IDL Marvin Wilson, Florida State

IDL Osa Odighizuwa, UCLA

EDGE Patrick Jones, Pittsburgh

EDGE Carlos Basham, Wake Forest

EDGE Shaka Toney, Penn State

EDGE Malik Herring, Georgia

EDGE Rashad Weaver, Pittsburgh

EDGE Jonathan Cooper, Ohio State

EDGE Cam Sample, Tulane

EDGE Quincy Roche, Miami

EDGE Elerson Smith, Northern Iowa

EDGE Janarius Robinson, Florida State

LB Chazz Surratt, North Carolina

LB Baron Browning, Ohio State

LB Tuf Borland, Ohio State

LB Jabril Cox, LSU

LB Grant Stuard, Houston

LB Monty Rice, Georgia

LB KJ Britt, Auburn

Once again, I won’t go over all of these names, but Atlanta may be dipping heavily into this group in this draft. Levi Onwuzurike is a fast riser up draft boards, and he may even sneak into round one. Patrick Jones is still one of my favorite players in this draft, and I expect Carlos Basham to be linked to the Falcons a lot. Quincy Roche and Shaka Toney are interesting projects. Marvin Wilson’s draft stock has tanked, but he could be worth a flier later in the draft.

Unfortunately, Malik Herring tore his ACL, but I would love to steal him later in the draft. If I had to pick a linebacker out of this group, I’d probably go with Jabril Cox or Baron Browning. Monty Rice and KJ Britt could make decent thumpers, but hopefully, Cox could be more Deion Jones than Duke Riley. The sleeper here is Chazz Surratt, the former quarterback needs some polish, but he has all of the athletic gifts.

 

Winners:

My guy Patrick Jones showed out as always. Odighizuwa was probably the best defensive player all game, and he was impressive in stifling the run and got what should have been a strip-sack. KJ Britt and Baron Browning were both five-star prospects that never lived up to the hype, but they both had pretty good games as well. Jabril Cox certainly made himself some money. EDGEs Janarius Robinson, Elerson Smith, Johnathan Cooper, and Cam Sample (who plays with one of my favorite later round guys Patrick Johnson) all looked great too. Grant Stuard gets an 80 grade for his hair.

 

Losers:

Tuf Borland got pushed around a lot. Marvin Wilson looked pretty bad all week and did not play Saturday, so he may be in for a further fall down draft boards.

 

Secondary:

 

CB Rodarius Williams, Oklahoma State

CB Ambry Thomas, Michigan

CB Elijah Molden, Washington

CB Ifeatu Melifonwu, Syracuse

CB Aaron Robinson, UCF

CB Tre Brown, Oklahoma

CB Keith Taylor, Washington

CB DJ Daniel, Georgia

CB Mark Webb, Georgia

CB Bryan Mills, NC Central

CB Benjamin St-Juste, Minnesota

S Hamsah Nasirildeen, Florida State

S Jacoby Stevens, LSU

S Richie Grant, UCF

S Christian Uphoff, Illinois State

Richie Grant was the big name at practice all week, and he will certainly be scouted heavily with Atlanta’s need at safety. His teammate Aaron Robinson could be an elite slot corner, which will also appeal to the Falcons. Ditto for Elijah Molden and Tre Brown. Thomas, Taylor, Williams, and Melifonwu are all long and lean boundary corners, which could be a need depending on how the team feels about Isaiah Oliver. Nasirildeen is an interesting safety prospect; he is insanely athletic for a safety his size. He suffered a non contact injury in 2019, and his ball skills need some work, but he has many gifts that project a very high ceiling. Stevens is a huge safety that hits hard, but he may project better as a linebacker due to his limited athleticism.

 

Winners:

In particular, Taylor played very well in the game; he’s rising along with Richie Grant. I think Aaron Robinson is gaining a lot of traction and may very well be a better prospect than Shaun Wade at this point as a slot corner. Uphoff was another big name at safety this week, and he generated a lot of buzz at practice. St-Juste made a couple of nice pass breakups and showed out with plenty of playing time during the game. I think as a group, the defensive backs were very impressive overall.

 

Losers:

This group was pretty great overall. Bryan Mills had a great week of practice but was lit up at times in-game, but he’s the only guy I could single out.

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