Even though there have been reports that the Falcons are looking to trade up, moving back for extra draft capital could greatly benefit this team, and it wouldn’t be the first time there were misleading rumors leading up to the draft. With April 23rd rapidly approaching and a multitude of guys shaving .2 seconds off of their 40s at their virtual pro days, this draft will be harder than ever to nail. This mock comes with a couple of twists, so strap up. It’s almost impossible to predict trades, but I am going to be aggressively moving around the board, which is usually how Thomas Dimitroff acts.
TRADE: Falcons send Pick 16 (R1) to Miami for Pick 26 (R1), Pick 70 (R3), & Pick 141 (R4)
With Miami holding a whopping 14 draft Picks, Atlanta is in a perfect spot to leverage some extra draft capital. I think Kinlaw will go in top 15. There is a chance C.J. Henderson is gone as well. With this move, Atlanta picks up two extra choices, and Miami lands an elite wide receiver to pair with their new QB.
R1, Pick 26 (From Miami) – CB Kristian Fulton, LSU
I’m not buying a reach on Fulton. He’s talented but has warts. That said, I don’t believe the difference between him and C.J. Henderson warrants Atlanta trading up. They are both sticky man corners who can get a bit grabby at times — one just presents much better value.
Falcons Trade: DE Takk McKinley, Pick 70 (R3, From Miami), Pick 119 (R4), and a Future Pick to Jacksonville for Pick 42 (R2).
Bye Bye, Takk. Atlanta gets aggressive here, and Jacksonville lands their Yannick Ngakoue replacement (who I have them dealing on Draft Night). With John Cominsky and Dante Fowler in the fold, McKinley and his antics become very expendable. Jacksonville picks up a cheap replacement and two day-two selections, while Atlanta moves up for this guy…
R2, Pick 42: LB Zack Baun, Wisconsin
We profiled Baun here, and he could very much sneak into R1 next week. Baun thrives as an off-ball linebacker and is a super versatile chess piece that can be moved all over the field (a theme of this mock draft). Harrison provides us with a lot of insight into the Wisconsin linebacker:
“Not only was he a terrific pass rusher last season, but he was also solid in coverage and the run game. Pro Football Focus gave him a 91.0 pass-rushing grade, an 86.9 coverage grade, and a 77.3 run defense grade.”
Baun would make for an excellent replacement and upgrade over De’Vondre Campbell, with the abililty to make up for Takk McKinley’s absence as well.
R2, Pick 47: S Antoine Winfield Jr, Minnesota
Winfield could end up being one of the biggest steals of this entire draft class. He played all over the field for PJ Fleck’s defense, and the Falcons need that type of swiss army knife. I wrote here about how a move to linebacker could benefit Keanu Neal if his latest Achilles injury slows him down, and Winfield makes for a hell of a replacement. Standing 5’9 with legendary bloodlines, saying Winfield has a position is almost an insult. He’s played box safety, free safety, slot corner, outside corner, and is a tenacious blitzer. His pro comp coming out of school? Tyrann Mathieu.
R3, Pick 78: C/G Matt Hennessey, Temple
A guy we’re big fans of and we profiled this week, Hennessey has potential to be a long term piece. He can step up and immediately stop the bleeding at the gaping hole that Atlanta has at left guard and can transition to center if the team decides to part ways with Alex Mack after this season.
Falcons trade: Pick 134 (R4, From Baltimore) and Pick 141 (R4, from Miami) to the Rams for Pick 104 (R3)
LA is one of the poorest teams in terms of draft capital, and picking up an extra pick should be appealing to them. They’ve already had to slash their roster this offseason — they need cheap bodies.
R3, Pick 104 (From Los Angeles): EDGE Jonathan Greenard, Florida
One of the draft’s true wild cards, Greenard has been mocked from the 2nd round to the 5th. I think he’ll land somewhere in the middle, and he’s a perfect choice for Atlanta at this junction. Dante Fowler was a step in the right direction, but the Falcons still need more help rushing the passer. With McKinley gone in this hypothetical mock draft, he’s replaced by a tandem of Cominsky, Baun, and Greenard. Greenard is no slouch in the run game either, as Harrison noted in his draft profile:
“The great thing about Greenard is he is no one-trick pony. Despite being the SEC’s sack leader, he actually received a 91.2 run defense grade from Pro Football Focus last season. Greenard is a big human being, measuring in at 6’4 ″ and 262 pounds, and has the size to set the edge and make opposing running backs pay the price.”
Edge defenders are always in high demand; Greenard is only available at this junction because of injury concerns and not much of a track record in college. The Falcons have already had a facetime meeting with him. In a limited role to start, he would be an immense value here.
R7, Pick 228: CB Kindle Vildor, Georgia Southern
Triple dipping on defensive backs: as a Georgia Southern graduate, I got to watch Vildor dominate time and time again. He graded as a top 5 corner in all of college football by PFF in 2018 before taking a step back last year, but the potential is still there. Adding three defensive backs may seem like overkill, but in today’s pass-happy league, you can never have enough talented defensive backs, especially if Neal moves to a nickel linebacker role. Vildor is another guy that has the potential to rise up draft boards, but I think he falls somewhere between the 5th-7th rounds.
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