blkbigdog35 Posted January 4, 2016 Share Posted January 4, 2016 The Atlanta Falcons will pick No. 17 in 2016 NFL draftVaughn McClureESPN Staff WriterHere's a quick look at the top three positional needs for the Falcons:1. Linebacker: The Falcons need a talented playmaker in the second level of the defense and a player who will be a sure tackler. A couple of years ago, theBaltimore Ravens had the No. 17 overall pick and found a Pro Bowl linebacker in C.J. Mosley. The last time the Falcons had a Pro Bowl linebacker was Keith Brooking in 2005. Notre Dame's Jaylon Smith and UCLA's Myles Jack might be two options. Smith is coming off a significant knee injury suffered in his bowl game that could drop him down the draft boards. Jack also is recovering from amajor knee injury.2. Wide receiver: A complement to Julio Jones is sorely needed, whether the Falcons decide to keep veteran Roddy White in the fold or not. Justin Hardy is a nice third or fourth option. Matt Ryan needs more playmakers around him so he doesn't have to force feed Jones. Laquon Treadwell from Ole Miss has had injury issues but is an explosive playmaker and is considered a top-10 talent. Ohio State's Michael Thomas doesn't have elite speed,but he has a big frame at 6-foot-3, 210 pounds. He'd be intriguing if he declares.3. Center: The last center to go in the top 20 of the draft was Mike Pouncey, the 15th overall pick of the Miami Dolphins in 2011. Pouncey is a three-time Pro Bowl pick. The Falcons sorely need to solidify the position after the failed experiment of converted guard Mike Person. Gino Gradkowski got a look in the season finale, but it's unclear how much he affected the situation moving forward. Again, drafting a center in the first round is a longshot. If anyone gets consideration, it might be USC's Max Tuerk, who can get out and block in a zone blocking scheme. But Tuerk is coming off a major knee injury, which he suffered in October. Quote Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
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