It’s officially #MockDraftSzn, which is the only thing a fan of a four-win team can look forward to. I know we all have our eyes on Chase Young, but the Falcons are going to have to get really lucky for him to land in the red and black.
R1 – DT Derrick Brown, Auburn
The Falcons are doing that thing where they’re winning meaningless games again. Since we can’t lose to Carolina, we’ve dropped out of Jeff Okudah range and waayyyyyy out of Chase Young range. I love Okudah, even though corner isn’t Atlanta’s biggest need. He’s going to be an elite player in this league. However, I think Derrick Brown will be too. He reminds me a lot of Chris Jones when he came out of Mississippi State. If he can slide out and play defensive end with his size and explosiveness, he’ll plug a massive hole on this defensive line and roster overall.
Other Options: DT Javon Kinlaw, EDGE AJ Epenesa, CB CJ Henderson, CB Kristian Fulton, LB Isaiah Simmons
*Footnote; I LOVE Javon Kinlaw. He’s about to fly up draft boards. If he’s somehow there with our 2nd round pick, double-dip on DTs. He’s that good.
R2 – EDGE Yetur Gross-Matos, Penn State
Look, I want JK Dobbins here. He’s got some miles on him, but he’s so shifty and explosive. This is a deep draft for backs, so I could see the Falcons scooping one around Round 4 (hopefully with a different GM choosing). However, Gross-Matos is no consolation prize. He’s already notched 8.5 sacks on the year after getting to the QB 8 times last year, and his 6’5″, 265 lbs frame will pair perfectly next to Brown and Grady Jarrett. He’s still a little raw, but so was Brian Burns during last year’s draft, who just got his 5.5th sack this season. Even though it’s a lazy comparison because they went to the same school, he reminds me of undrafted gem Cameron Wake a lot. Taller edge players can have trouble at first, so it will be crucial for the (assumed) new coaching staff to work with him.
Other Options: RB JK Dobbins, EDGE Nick Coe, C Tyler Biadasz, CB AJ Terrell, CB Bryce Hall
R2 (From New England) – CB Cameron Dantzler, Mississippi State
Who would have thought Mississippi State would get mentioned twice in this mock? Not me. With AJ Terrell and Bryce Hall likely off the board, I pivot to another Junior CB. The Louisiana native has a slim build and is very physical with his hands, which can sometimes cost him in terms of penalties. Another long and lean corner for this secondary, he reminds me a lot of another Mississippi State Alum, an all-time nickname guy, and one of my favorite players: Darius “Big Play” Slay. Slay was chosen in the 2nd round as well and had some build concerns, but he’s turned out nicely for Detroit.
Other Options: RB Najee Harris, EDGE Jabari Zuniga, DT Marlon Davidson
R3 – C Jake Hanson, Oregon
I’m borrowing this pick from Eric Robinson over at the Falcoholic because it just makes way too much sense. Alex Mack is awesome, but he hasn’t been elite and might not be worth $10.5 million next season. Hanson is the anchor of a stonewall Oregon offensive line, and even if the Falcons decide to keep Mack, he can slide in at left guard where James Carpenter has been putrid. Cutting ties with Mack, Carpenter, and Brown – and instead – rolling with Hanson and a free agent guard like Joe Thuney or Andrus Peat could be in play.
Other Options: EDGE Khalid Kareem, CB Kindle Vildor, C Nick Harris