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  1. I am going on record that I truly believe THIS YEAR is most definitely the year the Falcons need to adopt a Jimmy Johnson style of "trade down, trade down, trade down" - obviously you need one or more teams to tango and offer you fair trades to move down - if available, I believe that would be the best avenue. The Falcons need about 2 offseasons worth of talent but only have 5 draft picks and decent amount of cap money - but you cannot fix a team in free agency. Yes, the Falcons should go after a passrusher/cover backer like a Bruce Irvin and certainly should grab a Center in free agency to go along with a few lesser moves - but, we cannot spend all of our money as Trufant's new deal is coming up and two years away from Jake Matthews deal and those guys will need to be retained. Ok, there is the disclaimer. Now, if the Falcons do not take my advice or are unable to execute a trade, then I wanted to list the players that COULD be available and should at least be considered - here are my top 7 (ranked in order) along with the chances I think they would be available at #17 - almost guaranteed that at least 1-2 of these guys would likely be available - one with character issue and one w/ injury issue figure to weigh heavily Scouting reports were copy/pasted from CBS Sports (Rob Rang/Dane Bugler): 1) Myles Jack, OLB-UCLA 6'1", 245lbs (25% chance of availabilty at #17) #5 overall prospect ranking - CBS STRENGTHS: Even on a team full of NFL prospects, Jack's pure athleticism stands out. Compactly-built with good overall musculature, light feet, a fluid turning motion and natural ball-skills, he could make the full-time switch to running back and earn early-round consideration. Given his impact ability on defense, however, teams may hesitate to do that. Jack is well-suited to today's pass-happy NFL as he combines rare agility and speed with awareness in coverage. He has the fluidity to cover backs and tight ends step for step and anticipates routes well, breaking free from his assignment to close quickly on the ball. Jack's ability in coverage make him ideally suited to playing outside in a 4-3 scheme, where his lack of ideal size is mitigated. Jack's burst and agility make him an effective edge rusher and he doesn't shy from contact. He shows an explosive pop on contact to break free from would-be blockers. The hand-eye coordination that makes him so effective in breaking up passes shows up in his tackling, as well, as Jack is consistently able to trip up smaller, quicker ballcarriers. Breaks down well and wraps securely for the reliable take-down with little to no yardage allowed after contact. WEAKNESSES: Lacks ideal size at linebacker. Does not possess ideal length and can get caught up in the wash. Not an explosive hitter. Will need to prove the health of his season-ending knee injury that required surgery and will be limited in his ability to impress scouts on the field during the pre-draft period. IN OUR VIEW: Out of this game due to a knee injury suffered in September which required season-ending surgery, Jack nonetheless projects as a top 15 pick, boasting perhaps the country's-best combination of instincts and athleticism. Unprecedented as the Pac-12 Offensive and Defensive Freshman of the Year in 2013, Jack has the vision, agility and speed to star at running back if he wanted to return to that position but is even more valuable on the defensive side of the ball, where he's a true three-down linebacker and future Pro Bowler. G-Dawg comment: Never comes off the field and is a playmaker - much needed. 2) Shaq Lawson, DE-Clemson 6'3", 270lbs (33% chance of availability) #12 overall ranking - CBS STRENGTHS: Lawson's compact frame and power make him equally effective against the run and the pass, where he shows surprising initial quickness and agility as well as a terrific motor. He has quick, strong hands to create push with his upper-body strength, showing the fluid lower body to drive his legs and smoothly change directions based on his reads. Lawson is terrific leveraging blocks off the edge, using an iron shoulder and natural body flexibility to dictate his path and beat single blocks. Does a nice job setting the edge and playing contain, working off his blocks to the outside and finishing in space. WEAKNESSES: Lawson needs to do a better job with his recoil to reset and react to inside runs. IN OUR VIEW: Lawson's heavy hands allow him to stack and hold his side of the line of scrimmage. He is a power player with the lower body athleticism to be equally dominant against the run and the pass, putting his draft value in the early rounds. G-Dawg comment: This guy just reminds me so much of Michael Bennett - swiss-army knife of a defensive lineman, can do it all - played injured in NC game and still made a few plays - heavy hands to push the pocket and wall off the run. 3) A'Shawn Robinson, DT-Alabama 6'3", 312lbs (25% chance of availability) #9 overall ranking - CBS STRENGTHS: Built like a vending machine with proportionate bulk, strength and balance to be effective as a pass rusher and run stopper. He has the upper-body strength to push the pocket and not only does he test well physically, but his coaches say he's one of the most intelligent on the team. WEAKNESSES: Robinson is still learning how to use his hands and is developing his pass rush repertoire. IN OUR VIEW: The stoutest of Alabama's three-headed monster of future first-round picks, Robinson is surprisingly agile for his size but his game is all about power, making him a better fit in a two-gap alignment. G-Dawg comment: Scheme fit? would definitely clog the middle to stop the run and should be able to collapse the pocket. Maybe not the player for us - hopefully he is off-the-board. 4) Laquon Treadwell, WR-Ole Miss 6'2", 210lbs (33% chance of availability) #6 overall ranking - CBS STRENGTHS: Well-built for the position with a muscular upper body and sleek definition. Long arms and large hands to create a very large catching radius. Natural plucker with vacuum hands away from his body, snatching anything in his general direction. Outstanding on 50/50 balls, showing above average body control and hand-eye coordination. Lacks sprinter speed, but faster than expected due to strong, decisive strides, never playing hesitant. Shows the ability to push routes, sink and quickly locate the football. Plays with grown man strength to brush off tackle attempts and get every yard possible - rarely phased by initial tackler in college due to his balance and power. Has run-after-catch ability with his strength and athleticism, stretching screens into big gains. Won't allow defenders to chase him out of bounds. Takes pride in his blocking, throwing his body and overwhelming defenders. Very strong-minded competitor and doesn't shrink under bright lights. Innately motivated and wired right for professional football. Carries himself like a leader with a goal-oriented mind-set - genuinely enjoys the comradery with his teammates. Very grounded, mature personality for his age and handled adversity well after his 2014 season-ending injury. WEAKNESSES: Route-running still a work-in-progress and wasn't asked to run a full tree in the Ole Miss offense. Needs to rely more on his footwork at the top of routes to create separation. Speed is average for the position, lacking a second gear vertically to easily gain a step. Will have the occasional focus drop, running before securing the catch. Physicality is his calling card, but will also lead to offensive interference penalties with the way he uses his hands at times. Aggressive blocker, but will get overeager and fall off his man. Emotionally charged competitor, which led to false start and unsportsmanlike penalties in college. Medicals are important to ensure no lingering issues from his Nov. 2014 left leg injury (broken fibula, dislocated ankle). COMPARES TO: Dez Bryant, Dallas Cowboys - Treadwell shows a Bryant-like skillset with his size and athleticism combination to be a mismatch against cornerbacks on the outside. IN OUR VIEW: Treadwell has exceptional ballskills and catching radius with strong hands to pluck away from his body or scoop off his shoelaces - if the throw is anywhere within a few feet of his body, he'll attack it. He isn't a sudden athlete, but plays with athletic twitch and power to be a threat after the catch. Although soft-spoken, Treadwell is highly respected when he does speak up and plays like a warrior. He has the skill-set to develop into a legitimate No. 1 target in the NFL, similar to a not-as-dynamic Dez Bryant; a top 10 talent in the 2016 class. G-Dawg comment: Not really the direction I would want to go in 1st round but if all of the above are off the board this guy would be the BPA and we do have a serious need as well - I would take him and take the PR hit in the media. Your team does not get worse when you take the best player available that is not a QB and would start. 5) Jaylon Smith, OLB-Notre Dame 6'3", 240lbs (60% chance of availability) ***Injured - tore ACL and MCL*** - #21 overall ranking CBS (dropped due to injury) STRENGTHS: He is a greased up athlete with natural twitch and flexibility, showing balance, burst and excellent speed in pursuit. Scouts are enthralled with Smith's explosiveness and it isn't difficult to understand why. He reads plays quickly and keeps his eyes glued on the ball to collect himself in space and burst toward the ballcarrier with excellent closing speed. Shows tremendous secondary quickness to unhook himself from blocks and make up ground in a flash. He might be the nation's most forceful tackler, generating incredible power to knock ballcarriers back. Smith is every bit as fast and fluid as he is powerful, however, slipping by (or leaping over) would-be blockers in the running game and dropping effectively in coverage. It is the ability to play back in coverage and rush the passer that makes Smith such an exciting prospect, as proponents of the 4-3 and 3-4, alike, will see him as a true three down defender. WEAKNESSES: Smith lacks elite take-on strength for the position and can be late to stack-and-shed. IN OUR VIEW: In today's ultra-specialized NFL, defenses routinely substitute powerful linebackers on running downs and faster, more agile defenders on obvious passing plays. Teams won't have to swap Smith out, however. Along with injured UCLA outside linebacker Myles Jack (also a projected top 10 pick), Smith is the most versatile and pro-ready linebacker in the country. G-Dawg comment: This comes down to what the Falcon doctors say and most of the emphasis on making this pick must come from here. If 100% recovery is the most likely outcome, then you make this pick - if it is 50/50, you gotta pass. Somewhere in between, then it will be a tough call. 6) Robert Nkemdiche, DE/DT-Ole Miss 6'3", 296lbs (60% chance of availability) #17 overall ranking A player who will likely receive comparisons to 2015 first round pick Leonard Williams, Nkemdiche has above average athleticism for his size, using movement skills and lower body fluidity to skirt blockers and easily change directions. He can push the pocket with power and offers the versatility to make an impact vs. the run and penetrate the pocket to make plays in the backfield. 12/20/2015 - Mississippi defensive lineman Robert Nkemdiche, recently charged with marijuana possession after a 15-foot fall at an Atlanta hotel, won't play in the Sugar Bowl and will enter the NFL draft. Ole Miss coach Hugh Freeze said in a statement Sunday the star junior "will not be joining us" for Jan. 1 game against Oklahoma State. Nkemdiche has apologized for the incident in Atlanta and said in a statement Sunday he wishes he could have "finished this journey with my team but is "ready to begin the next phase of my life." Nkemdiche is one of the country's top defensive linemen and a second-team AP All-American. He says he "learned a valuable lesson in the last week" and wants to show NFL personnel this is "not representative of my true character." - AP Sports G-Dawg comment: I have said numerous times "don't take this guy at #17" but I am wavering somewhat. Some players just mature a little later/post college and this guy may be one of them. I have no doubt that Nkemdiche could be a special player if he matures and takes to Quinn's coaching. Very risky pick but could be a homerun - or a strikeout. 7) Leonard Floyd, OLB/DE-Georgia 6'4", 232lbs (75% chance of availability) #24 overall ranking While sporting a relatively lanky frame, Floyd shows surprising power in his hands and complements it with burst off the edge, agility to avoid blockers and a relentless motor. With an injury-free 2015 season and the expected growth after another offseason in the weight room, Floyd looks like a solid bet to once again rank among the SEC's elite edge rushers and establish himself as a highly regarded NFL prospect. The Bulldogs' 3-4 scheme has helped pad the statistics of several edge rushers from Georgia in recent years, but few boast Floyd's raw tools. Floyd burst onto the scene as a true freshman, leading all first-year SEC defenders with 6.5 sacks (among his 55 tackles) in 2013. Floyd struggled with a shoulder injury that eventually required surgery and kept him out of the Belk Bowl in 2014, but posted similar numbers as a sophomore, leading the Bulldogs with 6.0 sacks. 01/07/2016 - Georgia outside linebacker Leonard Floyd is bypassing his senior season to enter the NFL draft. The decision was announced by Georgia on Thursday and had been expected. The 6-foot-4, 231-pounder is widely projected as a first-round pick. Floyd, a Butkus Award finalist, ranked second on the team with 74 tackles and led the Bulldogs with 4 ?? sacks. He shared the team lead with 10 ?? tackles for loss. For his career, Floyd had 17 sacks, the 11th highest in school history. Floyd was a fourth-year junior in 2015. He spent the 2012 season at Hargrave Military Academy after graduating from Dodge County (Georgia) High School. - AP Sports G-Dawg comment: Even I - G-Dawg - am not 100% sold on this guy - but he is a freaky athlete - too skinny right now but should be able to add 10-15lbs as his body matures. Probably a situational player his rookie year and can he play 4-3 linebacker? that is a real question. The guy is talented though and I bet Quinn could make him a really good NFL player.
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