Falcons trade down, bolster defense in latest NFL mock draft

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The most popular mock drafts have the Falcons selecting a defender with their first-round pick. Tyree Wilson, Devon Witherspoon, and Christian Gonzalez seem to be the most reoccurring selections, but Nick Baumgardner of The Athletic has Atlanta trading down and still landing one of those three prospects, along with two other selections on the defensive side of the ball:

No. 13 (via NYJ): Devon Witherspoon, CB, Illinois
No. 44: Keion White, Edge, Georgia Tech
No. 75: Antonio Johnson, S, Texas A&M

The Falcons’ original pick at No. 8 could be a trade-down spot, too, if a tackle-needy team behind Atlanta decides it has to have Peter Skoronski (the best offensive lineman on the board) or Paris Johnson Jr. I’m not sure Atlanta would be able to move this pick, so someone could come up for the fourth QB, but we’ll see.

Either way, the Falcons might have a shot to draft Witherspoon, which would make them happy. He’d be worth the investment.

Don’t look now, but the Falcons would have a sneaky good defense with this haul. If you haven’t seen Devon Witherspoon’s highlights, do yourself a favor and watch the video below.


His tape is littered with physical plays like this. He’s an absolute menace of a defender and would provide the Falcons with some much-needed attitude. Witherspoon and AJ Terrell would give Atlanta one of the best young cornerback duos in the league. Trading back to get an additional third-round pick isn’t exactly enticing, but Witherspoon would be a superb selection at No. 13.

Keion White is a much better run defender than pass rusher, but there’s more than one way to skin a cat. The Falcons defense has been so abysmal in recent seasons that improvement in any facet will inherently improve the pass rush — stopping the run, improving coverage, etc. Here’s a pretty interesting breakdown that I think encapsulates Keion White as a prospect:

Three defenders in the first three selections would be a first for the Falcons in a decade. It would give that side of the ball a solid foundation going forward, which is a stark difference from what Falcons fans have become accustomed to.

Photographer: Joe Robbins/Icon Sportswire

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