The Falcons are looking to build this franchise brick by brick; coming off a 7-10 season and trading your veteran quarterback warrants a rebuilding designation. Atlanta is armed with five picks in the first 82 selections, including the 8th overall pick. However, in Lance Zierlein’s latest mock draft, it was revealed the Falcons “will likely shop” the 8th pick. The NFL Network draft analyst pointed to Atlanta’s “abundance of needs” as the reasoning.
Obviously, the Falcons didn’t have the personnel to give Arthur Smith and Matt Ryan a fair shot in 2022, so the incremental steps towards a rebuild have begun. Trading back in April’s draft could be the next stone that falls. The Falcons have more questions than answers; moving back and picking up a couple more picks could be the best strategy, especially considering the meat of this class will be available in the mid-first round/ late-second round.
Here are some prospects the Falcons could select in a trade down scenario:
Trent McDuffie, CB, Washington
McDuffie would be extremely rich at No. 8, unlike Sauce Garnder and Derek Stingley. However, he shut down receivers last season. His production might not be that impressive, but he’s an athlete that plays similarly to AJ Terrell — man and zone capable.
Andrew Booth Jr., CB, Clemson
Much like McDuffie, Booth would be rich if the Falcons didn’t trade back. He’s super aggressive, so sometimes he gets burned, but there are also those ‘wow’ plays with the risks he takes. His spacing in zone coverage needs work, but he’s a fluid athlete, can find the ball, and has excellent pass breakup timing. Booth could fit in what Dean Pees wants to do — play man.
Trevor Penning, OT, Northern Iowa
Penning is an uncommon athlete, given his rare combination of size, length, and power. His attitude is something the Falcons have been missing along the offensive line, and he should translate well at the next level; however, Terry Fontenot would have to be confident in his ability to play right tackle as any obvious Kaleb McGary successor.
George Karlaftis, EDGE, Purdue
Karlaftis finished his career as a Boilermaker with 30.5 tackles for loss over 27 games. His timing with his hand fighting is impressive, and he has a plan when he rushes the passer. He’s not as long or twitchy as some other edge defenders, but he’s undoubtedly an NFL-caliber player.
Jameson Williams, WR, Alabama
Williams would be a sure-fire top 10 pick and in the conversation for the class’s top wideout, but a recent ACL injury has knocked him down some draft boards. Regardless, he’s fast in every sense of the word. He possesses elite top-end speed and agility, never losing a step throughout his routes. He’s as impressive after the catch as he is before it too. As long as his knee makes a full recovery, Williams will be a homerun pick in the middle of the first round.
Kenyon Green, OG, Texas A&M
Green is a similar prospect as former Aggie Elgton Jenkins in that Green can play multiple positions. Starting as a right guard as a freshman and left guard as a sophomore, he took 80-plus snaps at four different positions along the offensive line. He’d be a great pick to compete at left guard and right tackle.
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