I’ll post my mock draft. I don’t expect our actual draft to run anything like this, but this is what I would do based on the needs I see for the Falcons, and the strengths of this draft. Here goes…
1. I’d love to be able to grab Ed Oliver, but I expect that he’ll go much earlier, within the top ten picks. But I hope we’ll get Christian Wilkins from Clemson to play a 5T on early downs, and move inside to a 3T on passing downs.
2. I’d like to get Charles Omenihu from Texas to play our left DE position, but I think the need for a gifted Right Tackle is a bigger need for us. Better play at the right tackle position, combined with our two new Guards in Carpenter and Brown, will be a boost to our running attack, which is necessary, and also to Matt Ryan’s pass protection, which is also necessary. So with our second pick, I’m taking Yodney Cajuste from West Virginia. He’s 6’5” tall and 315 pounds, and is projected to start as a rookie. With the Falcons, he can take a few games to get used to the speed he’ll struggle with, letting Sambraillo start the season at Right Tackle and then turning it over to Cajuste by the fourth game of the season. I’ve liked him since I first saw tape on him…
There’s a good chance Cajuste will be gone here, and if so, then I’d grab Erik McCoy, the Center/Guard from Texas A & M. Like Cajuste, I loved his film. I also like his success in blocking some beasts in the SEC. If McCoy ends up being my pick, then I’ll try to land Oli Udoh in one of the later rounds. He’s another tackle I liked in the East West Shrine game...
3. I think we need to get some help in our secondary, and the guy I want to draft here is Darnell Savage from Maryland. He’s a perfect replacement for Rico Allen if he doesn’t return from surgery ready to start. Savage also has the speed to play cornerback if Allen’s ready to go.
If he’s not there, and the way he’s climbing the charts now, there’s a good chance he won’t be, then I’ll go with Sean Bunting to play cornerback and let Kazee replace Allen as our Free Safety if necessary.
4.a. The fourth and fifth rounds are where this draft is going to be good. We’ll be able to find some real depth in these rounds this year. Our linebacking corps needs some help/depth, so with our first pick in the fourth, I’ll take Vosean Joseph from Florida. Sideline to sideline speed.
I would’ve liked to grab Benny Snell, the running back from Kentucky who would give us the power back I’ve been thinking we need for several years now, someone who can pick up third or fourth and one with no problem. But our LB need is stronger than our RB need, so I went with Joseph.
4.b. Jalen Jelks, Edge from Oregon. The Draft Network talks about his “wicked speed.” He’s strong against the run, and can improve as a pro in rushing the QB. Lots of potential with Jelks, and there’s a definite need for the Falcons at this position as you all know.
5.a. Daniel Wise, DT from Kansas. Another player I really liked in the East West Shrine game. I remember after one play was just about over, he just shoved an Offensive Lineman to the ground. This guy has a nasty attitude, which I love in my defensive linemen. More help for our Defensive Line. 6’3” tall and 290 pounds.
5.b. Jordan Braelford, Edge from Oklahoma State. I thought this guy dominated the East West Shrine Game. For a while, the announcers were calling his name on every play while he was in the game! You can’t have too many pass rushers, and this guy is legit. He’ll need some coaching up for the competition he’ll be facing in the NFL, but he’s a player I’d want coming off my bench.
6. Terry Godwin, WR from Georgia. Really liked Godwin and not just because he’s from Georgia. If I had my druthers, I think I’d rather have Mecole Hardeman to use as our punt and kickoff return man, but he’ll be gone by the end of the fourth round, and Godwin has return skills as well. (I think he’s a better receiver, too!) He should be able to bump Justin Hardy out of the lineup. (Why’d we resign him?)
7. I want to get that Power Back before the draft’s over, so I’m taking Jacques Patrick from FSU. Didn’t have a great college career, but he was a 5 star recruit before injuries and coaching changes messed up his time at FSU. I’m willing to use a 7th rounder on him.