Ranking 25 potential first round draft prospects for the Falcons

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With rumors swirling, it appears every prospect that could go in the first round is on the table for the Falcons — except for Joe Burrow, of course, who is all but officially a Bengal. Yes, that even means Chase Young is a possibility. However, it’s going to take most of this year’s picks and some of next year’s to move up to the number two pick. But with that in mind, I thought I’d come up with my own draft board, ranking these potential prospects from top to bottom. A lot of this will come down to the talent of the player, but need will also play a factor. I’m not going to include QBs because I refuse to believe the Falcons are seriously considering a quarterback in the first round. 

1. Chase Young

This should go without saying. Young is a sure-fire future Pro-Bowler and one of the most elite prospects we have ever seen. If quarterback weren’t such an important position, he’d be the first pick in the draft. 

2. Jeff Okudah

Back-to-back Buckeyes to begin the list. Okudah and the next guy are two of my favorite prospects in the draft. However, Okudah plays at a more valuable position, and it also happens to be the one where the Falcons are the weakest. If Atlanta is going to take a risk by jumping into the Top 5 for a player other than Young, it has to be Okudah. 

3. Isaiah Simmons

What’s not to like about Isaiah Simmons. The most versatile player in the draft — Dan Quinn would have a field day lining him, Deion Jones, and Keanu Neal all over the field. If there’s a run on quarterbacks and offensive tackles, and Simmons or Okudah falls, the Falcons should consider making a move up the board. 

4. Derrick Brown

Another player the Falcons could have their eyes on in a trade-up scenario; Derrick Brown would be a force next to Grady Jarrett, creating the best defensive front the Falcons have had in over a decade. 

5. Javon Kinlaw

I have Kinlaw rated just a smidge behind Brown, but if he cost less draft capital, the Falcons should settle for Kinlaw, who has the higher ceiling of the two. 

6. Jedrick Wills

If the Falcons are seriously considering trading up for an offensive tackle, Jedrick Wills is the guy to target. By selecting him, they could move McGary inside and create possibly the best offense in the NFL again. However, given the needs on the defensive side of the ball, Wills is further down on my draft board. 

7. Tristan Wirfs

The same thing goes for Wirfs. If the Falcons want a dominant offensive line, his presence should complete that. But the needs on defense far outweigh the need for another tackle. 

8. Andrew Thomas

Thomas was penciled in as a Top 5 selection in mock drafts last season but has taken a step back after his performance last year for the Bulldogs. I still think he has the potential to be the best tackle in this class.

9. K’Lavon Chaisson

Chaisson could be available when the Falcons pick at 16, and I believe he’s the second-best edge rusher in the draft behind Chase Young. Pairing him with Takk McKinley and Dante Fowler would immensely help Atlanta’s pass rush. 

10. Mekhi Becton

Another tackle… if the Falcons are serious about solidifying their line, Becton should do just that, and a failed drug test at The Combine may cause him to slide. 

11. Jerry Jeudy/CeeDee Lamb

In no way am I advocating for the Falcons to take a wide receiver, but if one of these two generational talents falls in their laps with the 16th pick, do they consider it?

12. Patrick Queen 

Queen is the next LSU linebacker that will be taken in the first round. He’s speedy and physical, allowing him to excel against the run and in coverage. Pairing him with Deion Jones would be a deadly duo that the Falcons may not feel they can pass up. 

13. C.J. Henderson

Some might think this is low for Henderson, but I’m just not as impressed with him as I am with some of the other prospects ahead of him. I have Henderson as the second-best cornerback in this class, but not by much. 

14. Kristian Fulton

It’s a toss-up between Henderson and Fulton, but I give a slight edge to Henderson. Still, one of these guys will be available when the Falcons select, and they might even be able to move back a few spots and acquire some extra draft capital. 

15. Kenneth Murray

Murray and Queen are the creams of the crop at linebacker. Like Queen, Murray is an explosive athlete that excels playing sideline to sideline with physicality. 

16. A.J. Epenesa

Epenesa’s stock took a hit because of his performance at the NFL Combine, but turn on the tape, and you see an immovable player. He’s fantastic with his technique, allowing him to get after the pass passer, and is stout against the run. 

17. Trevon Diggs

Some people are down on Diggs but don’t count me as one of them. He may not be the most physical cornerback, but he’s a freak athlete that can cover, which is all that matters in the NFL. 

18. Grant Delpit

It wouldn’t be the most conventional selection, but Delpit is an elite coverage safety. If the Falcons have different plans for Keanu Neal, he could help their secondary immensely. 

19. Henry Ruggs

Again, I’m not advocating for the Falcons to take a receiver. But at what point does a talent like Ruggs become too good to pass up?

20. Yetur Gross-Matos

My fourth edge rusher on the board, Gross Matos has the size to rush from the outside or inside. His versatility could be just what the Falcons are looking to add to their rotation. 

21. Zach Baun

Baun is probably a guy the Falcons could trade back for, but he’s a versatile piece that could play linebacker or on the edge for Atlanta. His production last year at Wisconsin speaks for itself. 

22. Xavier McKinney

I love McKinney out of Alabama, and he might be the best safety in this draft. But given the needs of the Falcons, he comes in at 22nd on my board. I have Delpit ranked higher because he’s much better in coverage, making him a better fit in Atlanta. 

23. A.J. Terrell

Terrell has received a lot of flack for his national championship performance against LSU, but he’s been a star at Clemson for the last two seasons. I still think he has the potential to be a starting corner from day one, which is what the Falcons need, and they can probably trade back a bit to snag him. 

24. Cesar Ruiz

I don’t see the Falcons taking another offensive guard in the first round, but Ruiz has the talent to start at left guard from the jump, giving them an elite unit. 

25. Terrell Lewis

Injury concerns surround Lewis, but he has the kind of potential to be a stud pass rusher at the next level if he can stay healthy. I don’t necessarily believe he’s a first-round pick, but if so, the Falcons could trade back and take him. 




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