NFL scouts mock draft has Falcons going away from popular pick

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The Falcons are expected to draft a pass rusher with the top pick, whether that’s Dallas Turner, Jared Verse, or Laiatu Latu.

Literally every single mainstream draft pundit has the Falcons drafting one of those three pass rushers, but there are a few brave souls that are swimming against the current.

Most notably, Brian Baldinger went out and predicted Atlanta would draft Michael Penix, and there’s another voice in his corner. Well, sort of. ESPN’s Matt Miller had the Falcons taking Dallas Turner, but he recently did another kind of mock draft that I think is pretty cool.

Instead of making the picks himself, he enlisted the help of anonymous NFL scouts, and an AFC area scout has the Falcons taking Quinyon Mitchell.

I didn’t see this one coming. Everyone — including myself — has been projecting Alabama defensive end Dallas Turner to the Falcons at No. 8, and he remains on the board here. But our replacement general manager had a very different strategy.

“Mitchell is the best cornerback in the class and honestly a harder position to fill,” the scout explained. “Also, think about this: Young defensive ends rarely make a huge impact early on. It’s rare to get 10 sacks from a rookie. But a rookie cornerback can come in and be an All-Pro.”

The Falcons have two clearly defined top needs at defensive end and cornerback. Addressing CB at No. 8 and grabbing a pass-rusher in Round 2 is certainly a real strategy. Sure, Turner had 10 sacks last season, but Mitchell had six interceptions and 32 pass breakups over the past two seasons. At 6-foot and 195 pounds, he can be a shutdown cornerback in the NFL.

“Mitchell at 8 and then someone like [Washington’s] Bralen Trice in Round 2 is how we stack the board and get two studs.”

I have been screaming something similar from the rooftops.

Dallas Turner or any rookie isn’t going to fix the Falcons pass rush. Granted, that’s not a good reason not take to him or another pass rusher, but it highlights the fact that rookie pass rushers rarely have tremendous impacts as rookies.

That’s why I’ve been banging the table for Terry Fontenot to acquire a proven pass rusher like Danielle Hunter, Haason Reddick, or any other proven commodity.

The Falcons are playing a risky game with their pass rush, and it may be wise to just pick the best defensive prospect, even if it’s a cornerback like Quinyon Mitchell because it’s still a pressing roster need.

Regardless of if it’s Mitchell, Turner or another prospect, the Falcons need to add a guy like Carl Lawson or another proven pass rusher.

Photographer: Michael Wade/Icon Sportswire

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