Most of you know I don't spend much time on the boards anymore but the one time of the year that I get real spirited is draft season. Seeing how much fun you guys are having posting your mocks (even though the majority of them this year seem to be from those horribly inaccurate draft simulators) made me want to get involved again and show you kids how it's done. As always, no mock is ever going to please everyone. The fact of the matter is we don't have the resources to make everyone happy and there will always be a weakness. Nevertheless, I'm never going to be one of those guys that copy+pastes from a automated drafter or fills your feed with YouTube highlight vids that you could look up yourself.
So without further ado... I present to you my annual mock that some will love, some will hate, and some will find a reason to call unrealistic - as opposed to all the other uber-realistic mocks that will definitely happen on draft weekend. Hope you enjoy the read, fellow Falcons!
Devonta Freeman, RB - I think this is a no-brainer at this point. Not worth discussing. (+$6.5M*)(June 1st)
Allen Bailey, DE - Good player, but the cap space is more important. (+$4.5M)
Ty Sambrailo, OT - Desperate for money, the Falcons can find cheaper depth. (+$3.7M)
Luke Stocker, TE - Hasn’t been very impressive and we need the cash. (+$2.6M)
Tyeler Davison, DT - Solid run defender and we need to keep the cupboard stocked at DT.
Blidi Wreh-Wilson, CB - Scheme familiarity, cheap option, had 7 PBUs last season.
Justin Hardy, WR - Will likely come cheap, lots of time spent with MR2, mostly reliable.
Brian Hill, RB - Easy decision to place a tender on Hill, who could see some early looks at the starter.
Kemal Ishmael, LB - Very familiar with Quinn’s D as both Safety and Linebacker, valuable depth.
Dante Fowler Jr, DE - This is our big splash signing this year and a much-needed upgrade over Beasley.
Clayton Geathers, S - Not one of the top safeties on the market this year, but was a solid starter for Indy.
Johnathan Hankins, DT - Monster against the run, huge body for the rotation.
1. CIN - Joe Burrow, QB, LSU
2. MIA* - Tua Tagovailoa, QB, Alabama
3. DET - Chase Young, EDGE, Ohio State
4. NYG - Jedrick Wills, OT, Alabame
5. WAS* - Jeff Okudah, CB, Ohio State
6. LAC - Justin Herbert, QB, Oregon
7. CAR - Derrick Brown, DL, Auburn
8. ARI - Andrew Thomas, OT, Georgia
9. JAX - Jerry Jeudy, WR, Alabama
10. CLE - Tristan Wirfs, OT, Iowa
11. NYJ - CeeDee Lamb, WR, Oklahoma
12. LV - Isaiah Simmons, LB, Clemson
13. IND - Javon Kinlaw, DL, South Carolina
14. TB - Mekhi Becton, OT, Louisville
15. DEN - Henry Ruggs III, WR, Alabama
There are surely some trades that will happen in the top 15 ahead of our pick. For the sake of unpredictability, I’ll only be mocking one and that’s Miami’s move up to #2 to secure the QB prospect they’ve been enamored with all year. If someone were to trade into the 15 spot with Denver to snatch our preferred target, I could see the Falcons being willing to move down (even in a big way) for a team calling to move ahead of Dallas for a falling prospect in the secondary. I won’t try to land a guess at who could fall in love with someone like Claisson, Epenesa, or Gross-Matos so I’ll just leave Denver in the 15 spot but still mock the trade at 16. With a lot of offensive linemen taken ahead of us and a lot of receivers still projected to go in the first, the Falcons can capitalize with a sizable move down and still land a player at a position of need. Which is why my dream scenario would be...
-Round 1, Pick 16
-Round 5, Pick 140
-Round 1, Pick 25
-Round 2, Pick 58
-2021 4th Round Pick
16. MIN - Grant Delpit, S, LSU
17. DAL - Xavier McKinney, S, Alabama
18. MIA - DeAndre Swift, RB, Georgia
19. LV - Jordan Love, QB, Utah State
20. JAX - Kenneth Murray, LB, Oklahoma
21. PHI - Laviska Shenault, WR, Colorado
22. BUF - Tee Higgins, WR, Clemson
23. NE - K’Lavon Chaisson, EDGE, LSU
24. NO - Justin Jefferson, WR, LSU
Round 1, Pick 25 - Yetur Gross-Matos, EDGE, Penn State
Height: 6’5” Weight: 265 lbs.
There are still quite a few options here for Atlanta that make sense. A lot of talented CBs have fallen, there are a few offensive linemen in this range if the powers that be want to continue strengthening Matt Ryan’s protection, and some talented pass-rushers that I expect the Falcons have their eye on. In this scenario we go with the latter, adding a talented edge rusher with loads of potential to continue improving - a scary thought for a player who just notched 20 TFL’s last season.
Round 2, Pick 47 - Patrick Queen, LB, LSU
Height: 6’1” Weight: 227 lbs.
Having another linebacker with sideline-to-sideline speed is imperative for Quinn’s defense. Queen has the speed and instincts to play at either Will or Mike, helping to protect the integrity of the defense in the unfortunate scenario of another Deion Jones injury. A very fluid athlete that’s both competitive in coverage and excels at shooting gaps while rushing, Queen would give us another athletic rally guy making plays all over the field. The biggest detraction against Queen is his lack of strength which seems to raise doubts about his ability to take on blocks at the next level and be a factor, but he will still win with his speed and slipperiness. I think he’ll be plug and play in this scheme.
Round 2, Pick 55 - Clyde Edwards-Helaire, RB, LSU
Height: 5’8” Weight: 209 lbs.
CEH was a dominating presence on the field for LSU this year, combining for over 1,800 yards (rushing and receiving) and scoring 17 total TDs. His lateral quickness, smooth running style, and natural receiving ability will make him an easy fit into most NFL offenses. The way he sets up his blocks, changes direction quickly, and displays a tenacious thirst for extra yards makes him dangerous on every touch. Good luck on your next team, Devonta Freeman.
Round 2, Pick 58 - Solomon Kindley, OG, Georgia
Height: 6’4” Weight: 335 lbs.
Despite his massive frame and hefty weight, Kindley is still a surprisingly good athlete with impressive movement skills. The Falcons used a first round pick last year on Chris Lindstrom who I think will be a mainstay at LG for the Falcons for many years. The right side still needs an upgrade next to McGary, however, and Kindley fits the bill as a dominant roadgrader capable of taking on any defender in his path and removing him from the play.
Round 3, Pick 78 - Colby Parkinson, TE, Stanford
Height: 6’7” Weight: 251 lbs.
Parkinson has been a massive target for the Cardinal and that kind of catch radius will certainly translate to the pro game. A nightmare on seams and fades, Parkinson won’t offer much in the form of blocking (at least early on in his career) but at the very least will assist in the red zone scoring department that has plagued the Falcons of late. I’m not sure that there are any TEs available at this juncture that could truly replace what Hooper did for us in 2019 but Parkinson would certainly be an asset to Matt Ryan who could utilize his size and speed at the position.
Round 4, Pick 109 - Stanford Samuels III, CB, Florida State
Height: 6’2” Weight: 185 lbs.
After combining for 118 tackles, 6 INTs, and 18 PBU’s the last two years, Samuels is a big athletic corner capable of matching up with any receiver on the boundary. While Samuels will need to get stronger to keep from getting boxed out by bigger receivers like Mike Evans, he certainly has the measurables and frame to become a solid starter across from Isaiah Oliver.
Round 7, Pick 229 - Charlie Heck, OT, North Carolina
Height: 6’8” Weight: 309 lbs.
Massive yet athletic, Heck has played at both Left and Right Tackle for UNC and could compete with Gono for swing tackle duties. With the frugal loss of Ty Sambrailo, the Falcons will have to make sure that the offensive line has some depth just in case the injury bug feasts again.
Make Believe Depth Chart
QB: Matt Ryan, Matt Schaub
RB: Clyde Edwards-Helaire, Brian Hill, Ito Smith, Quadree Ollison
WR: Julio Jones, Russell Gage, Devin Gray
WR: Calvin Ridley, Justin Hardy, Olamide Zaccheaus
TE: Colby Parkinson, Jaeden Graham, Carson Meier
LT: Jake Matthews, Matt Gono
LG: Chris Lindstrom, James Carpenter
C: Alex Mack, Sean Harlow
RG: Solomon Kindley, Jamon Brown
RT: Kaleb McGary, Charlie Heck
DE: Yetur Gross-Matos, Takk McKinley, Austin Larkin
DT: Grady Jarrett, Deadrin Senat, Mike Bennett
DT: Tyeler Davison, Johnathan Hankins
DE: Dante Fowler, John Cominsky
LB: Deion Jones, Kemal Ishmael, Ahmad Thomas
LB: Patrick Queen, Foye Oluokun
CB: Desmond Trufant, Kendall Sheffield, Jordan Miller
FS: Ricardo Allen, Demontae Kazee
SS: Keanu Neal, Clayton Geathers
CB: Isaiah Oliver, Blidi Wreh-Wilson, Stanford Samuels
Special Teams (3)
K: YoungHoe Koo [HAIL SOUTHERN]
P: Ryan Allen
LS: Josh Harris
It won't be easy to replace him, in this system at least.
Dan Quinn relies on lighter, faster, lengthier athletic DE's/OLB.
It's not just trying to match VB's 8 sack production, it's about improving it.
They are barely under the cap, and there is only so much contract restructuring and cap gymnastics that can go on to try to pretend this team is worth keeping together. They haven't sniffed being a real contender since blowing the Super Bowl to the Patriots and the past two seasons have been over by around Halloween. They are short on offensive linemen, again, and may have to part with a few veterans to have cap wiggle room. They still have no pass rush and no easy path to getting enough. Matt Ryan's pockets are straight and will remain so, but his extension and that of Julio Jones are doing the team no cash/cap favors now. They will likely be saying bye to their starting tight end and running back, too. Better be one helluva draft for a team that hasn't been thriving in that area for quite some time, because other avenues of roster building are bleak with such a heavy percentage of the cap in a handful of players.
Be interesting to see how much he gets for this coming year. He's got 80K yards and 550 TDs in his sights. Those numbers, plus another 25-30 mil, would motivate a lot of folks to come back.
Whatever father time has done to Brees, he's still the best chance for the saints to get to the super bowl this next year. If the Saints can protect him and get him another weapon or two, he could still get a team deep into the playoffs.
I actually expect him to fade as the year goes on myself, but he may have one more run in him, which, if he does, will produce coverage as nauseating as Brady has gotten the last few years.
So I don’t post these often. So here is my one and only.
a couple scenarios I used when doing this draft.
1) Free is gone
2) Carpenter is gone, Brown is as well if we can trade his contract
3) We sign a top DE - Clowney (unlikely), Nassib (my preference), Ngakoue (likely tagged), Fowler or Quinn
4) Davison is brought back for DT rotation.
so here is my draft:
1. Tristen Whirfs - IF he would fall you just take him. Likely not a chance, but he was there so I ‘ran to the podium’. An absolute monster inside, and played RT very well also. He is Zach Martin good as a guard IMO. Kinlaw was gone, passed on Epenesa and YGM for Whirfs. Would be the final piece to finally having a dominant line, having 2 elite guards under rookie deals to finish out the Matt/Julio years is great.
2. Zach Baun, Edge/OLB (WIS) - flexible player who can rush the passer and play in coverage. Stiff for a pure edge guy, but always produces. See him in Campbell role, with more rush ability. I made this pick not 100% sold, due to really liking some of the prospects I passed on for Baun. (Uche, Blacklock, Ockwara)
2. Justin Madubuike, DT (TA&M) - one of my favorite tier 2 DTs. Blacklock and Gallimore gone who I would have taken if there. Plays a good game, just runs hot and cold it appears.
3. JK Dobbins, RB (OSU) - didn’t expect him here, figured to be zeroing in on Moss or Akers here, but got a gift.
4. K’Von Wallace, SS (CLEM) SS to provide depth which we didn’t have, obvious by seeing Rico there. He can play all over, is a smart player, but SS best fit (IMO), not a deep centerfield.
5. Harrison Bryant, TE (FL ATL) - athletic prospect, strictly a move TE, could also put in motion for size mismatches. Good Hands, works seams well. Didn’t face top comp at FL Atlantic.
7. Levonta Taylor, CB (FSU) - was a top HS recruit in the nation. Played well for FSU. not ideal height, and doesn’t play any bigger. Could be a nice NB option should Sheffield be moved outside.
overall, I would be very happy w the potential of this draft. Thoughts are welcome, just be nice (I’m fragile)
His blocking will get waaay better. Again, he's 25.
It's not like he cant block at all lol, just needs improvement to get us home.
Short of a 1,000 yards, yes, but he did miss several games with injury. More than likely would have hit that mark if healthy.
The people wanting to run Hoop off will miss him when he’s gone. He is a bonafide third down and red zone threat. Ryan loves a good TE. Especially in the zone. Just look at the last few Super Bowl champions. Kelce, Gronk, Ertz, etc. Careful what you pray for. You might just get it.
If RB is an issue...and it clearly is, drafting one in ‘the middle rounds’ is akin to throwing spaghetti on the wall and hoping it sticks.
TD/DQ are month-to-month at this point. They need a Day 1 starter from either 16/47/55.
That would be Deejay Dallas out of Miami. Per NFL.com’s Daniel Jeremiah, he’s by far the best pass blocking RB in this class.
He’s 5’10” 220lbs, and has enough speed to do some damage. Seems to have a knack for breaking tackles as well. He could be a 3rd or 4th round steal IMO.