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The TDWII Final 2016 Mock…


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As much as I would like to see the Falcons make a play for Myles Jack by way of a trade up in the draft (and because the Falcons know more about his medicals than do we, so this may not be completely off the table), given the information I have…I can’t reasonably outline a scenario that justifies the risk.
In previous mocks that I’ve done in 2016, my target was Sheldon Rankins.  Love the guy…feel he would be a perfect match for the Falcons and as outlined last month, I would try and figure a way to work a deal for him moving as high as #11.  One of the reasons for that move isn’t simply because of Rankins, but when I look at our options at #17, I simply don’t see a differentiation in terms of type of player we would have access to:

Consider the group:

Leonard Floyd
Shaq Lawson
Kevin Dodd
Reggie Ragland
Darron Lee

All of these guys seem to have some degree of ‘warts’ on them that quite frankly make me feel as if picking #17 is a booby prize of sorts.  When you factor in comments that Peter King relayed from NFL evaluators in his MMQB last week…

Twenty-five to 55 is the same player, to me.”
“Eleven to 40 is the same guy.”
“To us, 18 to 48 you can get the same player.”
“Load me up with twos and threes in this draft. That’s where I’d want a lot of picks.”
And get this, from Gil Brandt: “It’s the kind of draft where the 50th player on some team’s board will be the 17th player on another team, and the 17th player on the first team could be the 50th on that other team.”


What I don’t like about what is said here is as follows:

1)    It jives with my feelings of #17 being more equal to picks 20-30 spots lower in terms of talent than it is to picks perhaps as little as 5-7 slots upward.
2)    It puts you in a bit of a no-mans land trade wise.  Would a team trade down to the Falcons pick at #17 for them to move up?  And can the Falcons move down from #17 if the level of player/talent is seen as equal in the latter stages of the first round?

It seems to beg the question, is a 2nd round pick more valuable than a 1st round pick in 2016?  Which leads me to the conclusion that the combination of a low number of picks, plus the Falcons spot in the draft is going to make it difficult for them to move around.

In my Rankins scenario, it leaves the Falcons with only 2 picks on the first 2 days of the draft, of which one is #81.  And as much as I like Rankins, given the low amount of attention the Falcons have paid to DT this draft season plus the draft capital cost it would require, my final Mock is tradeless…so let’s roll.

1:17 – Reggie Ragland MLB; Alabama
 
If I’m being honest, Ragland reminds me of Curtis Lofton…a player who I thought was good but also had limitations.  While Ragland’s ceiling may be higher, the big question mark around his pro prospects are his ability to cover and be on the field for three downs.  I hated the fact that he showed up at the Senior Bowl at 260+.  It worries me that him controlling his weight could be something of a challenge as he fills out and mans up.  He steered himself back below 250 for the combine, but I think Ragland has a bit of a journey ahead of him to determine exactly what his best physical self is for the NFL.  But in a draft where the Falcons have little mobility, they’ll allow the draft to come to them and start building out their LB unit with one of the better ones 2016 has to offer.

2:50 – Jonathan Bullard DE/DT; Florida
 
The Falcons stay in the SEC and grab a player Coach Quinn has some familiarity with.  Because of the sheer amount of depth at DL in 2016, this allows a player who may have gone earlier in other drafts slide to the Falcons.  Bullard fits the profile of that versatile DL who can move inside/outside based on situation.  And because Quinn seems to favor rotating lineman throughout the course of a game, Bullard profiles as a guy who can come in and ramp up to 500 defensive snaps/season but may top out at 250-300 in 2016.  

3:81 – Connor McGovern OG; Missouri 
 
If there is an area along the OL that the Falcons need to pay attention to, it’s the interior flaking OC Alex Mack.  Andy Levitre is a year-to-year solution to the OLG position and as such, the Falcons wind up having to expend some Day 2 draft capital to fortify the position.  McGovern has experience playing RG at Missouri and it’s likely the slot along the OL where he could compete to start immediately.  It also gives the Falcons options at RT if Ryan Schrader proves difficult to sign (which is possible in 2017 since the Falcons will have to start looking at what to do with Jake Matthews in 2018).

4:115 – K.J. Dillon; S/Hybrid; West Virginia
 
With this selection, the Falcons complete a talent infusion of all three levels of their defense.  Whether or not the Falcons begin to adopt the en vogue S/Hybrid model remains to be seen, but Dillon is a well-rounded prospect at the S position who likes to hit.  However, that does not always result in the tackle…with Quinn coming from a background though of SEA who are widely seen as one of the best tackling teams (if not the best) in the NFL, the hope is that the Falcons can work with Dillon to improve upon this area of his game.

FAQ

Why Ragland if you’re not particularly excited about him?  I would have liked to have made a bigger splash in this draft and if Jack’s knee concerns hadn’t cast a cloud over his status, I was prepared to move up in a big way to get him.  And if Jack somehow fell to #17, then I think you grab him.  But that won’t happen and when I looked at Ragland I feel like he has the highest floor of the players that will be available to us.  To be fair though, I think his ceiling is limited…I could see Floyd in 2-3 seasons if he realizes his potential being very good.  Darron Lee is a guy whose measurables really jump out at you.  But I watched some draft breakdown stuff on him and felt like he got washed out a lot and blocked rather easily.    Didn’t stick his nose in there all that much particularly in the ground game.

But ultimately in a draft where the talent levels off for awhile around the spot you’re picking, I’d prefer to err on the safe side with my pick at 1:17 and I do think Ragland is one of the safer picks in the entire draft while filling a glaring need.

Wouldn’t it be better to trade down then in a draft where you don’t like your Round 1 slot and you have but 5 picks?

As I’ve mentioned before, while I don’t mind mocks that present viable trade down scenarios where a justification can be made as to why the trading team is giving you some valuable draft capital, I just couldn’t really find a scenario that made sense for both the Falcons and a trading partner.  I’ve seen DEN bantied about as a possibility to go up and get Paxton Lynch ahead of the Jets.  But to expect a 2nd rounder in return when they can take a flier on a Connor Cook or even Hackenberg, I just can’t see Elway doing something like that.  Also, with the notion that this draft is rich in Round 2, I think teams will be holding onto those picks and their trade ups will involve 3rd/4th rounders.  Now could the Falcons move back 5-6 slots for an extra 3rd rounder?  Possible…but then again, if you’ve resigned yourself to drafting the player with the highest floor, at this juncture I’d just assume lock in Ragland.  And to that end, I also see teams perhaps favoring the notion of swapping places in the draft versus 2:1 or 3:2 arrangements.

So there you have it – pretty basic and straight-forward.  Nothing fancy, but hits on all the hot button areas of short & long term roster development the Falcons have…fire away.
 

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I like the picks. 

I don't think that the discussion found in PK's article really means anything. Not unless you're assuming that A) NFL evaluators are consistently excellent at identify differently-graded talent and predicting their success and B ) NFL evaluators will routinely select talent in order of viability. I don't think either of those things are true. The NFL "misses" (or undervalues) guys all the time. Teams in the NFL "reach" or select out of optimum sorting all the time. 

I definitely understand the appeal of the prospect "middle class." And I'm very open to trading back to pick up some draft equity. But I dont' think there's a clear divide between players likely to work out and players that are unlikely to work out. If the NFL knew that as a whole, they'd be a lot better at drafting than they actually are. 

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Wow some won't give up this Lofton comparison smh Lofton is Lofton, Ragland is Ragland. Is that a sound enough reason to NOT DRAFT somebody  because he reminds you (who) of someone else? It all depends on who is available for me. But Ragland is a safe pick. Your mock is good I would change 3rd for Killerbrew and get McGovern or Westerman in the 4th

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Sat what you want about Lofton, he has been an above average MLB in the NFL for awhile...7 consecutive seasons of 90+ tackles doesn't just "happen"

I understand value and not wanting a similar player at #17, versus where we selected Lofton....If Quinn thinks Ragland is our best bet in the first round, I have to think he sees very good instincts, coachability, leadership. competitiveness, physicality, etc in him...

I dislike the Bullard selection in the 2nd round...where you say talent is rich, to end up with Bullard is a worse reach than Ragland at 17.....IMO...I think we are good on DL this year, so I would assume we would look at SS in that posititon and go with OG and TE in rounds 3 and 4...

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i understand people frustration with ragland, i personally think he can play zone which we play heavily. that being said, our entire lb core needs to be upgraded,while people may say ragland is weak in coverage i flip that and ask you...whats going to happen to our run defense if we have both lee and worrilow starting? im terrified of that. we gave up the most rushing tds in the league and over 100 yards a game. Lets not act like coverage is all that we need. the entire group needs to be upgraded.

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34 minutes ago, Kaptain Krazy said:

i just can't get behind drafting "Curtis Lofton" at #17, or thinking that Ragland is a safe pick while also worrying that he may have problems controlling his weight.

 

I do think Lofton gets a bit of a bad rap here...he pretty much played to his draft position which was 37th overall...

And so the fact is, when I look at where the Falcons are in this draft...I think the goal of 2016 if I'm making picks is about reducing risk exposure.  Get players on board that you feel comfortable will have a significant role on this team for the next 5+ years.

If Ragland's eventual role is as a two-down LB, then I think he'll still be good and that's his floor.  If he winds up as the 40th best player in this draft, then you'll kind of simply have to say, OK...we could have done better, but also alot worse.  But I think he has the lowest bust rate.

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25 minutes ago, DoYouSeeWhatHappensLarry said:

I like the picks. 

I don't think that the discussion found in PK's article really means anything. Not unless you're assuming that A) NFL evaluators are consistently excellent at identify differently-graded talent and predicting their success and B ) NFL evaluators will routinely select talent in order of viability. I don't think either of those things are true. The NFL "misses" (or undervalues) guys all the time. Teams in the NFL "reach" or select out of optimum sorting all the time. 

I definitely understand the appeal of the prospect "middle class." And I'm very open to trading back to pick up some draft equity. But I dont' think there's a clear divide between players likely to work out and players that are unlikely to work out. If the NFL knew that as a whole, they'd be a lot better at drafting than they actually are. 

And that is the concern to me, right?  That the talent level from that mid-point in the first round to that mid-point in the second is all over the place in terms of the evaluation. I  feel like once you get our spot consensus goes out the window in terms of the universal opinion about the pick.  Certainly the Falcons are going to go by their board and their board alone...but it's possible that their board at #17 looks like 5-7 other teams boards at #40-45.  That's what I took King's reporting in that instance to mean.  

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1 hour ago, HaRdH3ad said:

i understand people frustration with ragland, i personally think he can play zone which we play heavily. that being said, our entire lb core needs to be upgraded,while people may say ragland is weak in coverage i flip that and ask you...whats going to happen to our run defense if we have both lee and worrilow starting? im terrified of that. we gave up the most rushing tds in the league and over 100 yards a game. Lets not act like coverage is all that we need. the entire group needs to be upgraded.

Ding ding ding!

This might be the first time that I have seen, what you said, this on these boards. It's almost as if mostly everyone thinks that we ONLY need good cover linebackers as in the smaller speedy lightning-quick guys.
Yes, the league has turned into more of a "passing league" but teams certainly still run the ball lol. Look at our division: Panthers with Cam Newton, Mike Tolbert, and Jonathan Stewart (I'm not the biggest fan of Derrick Henry at the NFL level but I think that he could be a wrecking ball with Carolina so I pray that they don't take him at #30 because they have the luxury to do so), Saints and Mark Ingram, Bucs and Doug Martin. That's 6 games every year.

Our linebackers are one of the weakest linebacking crews in the NFL. Ragland brings physicality, toughness, attitude, and an identity to our defense. Yeah he isn't that small speedy linebacker who glides across the field but he brings more to the table in the run department and thumper ability than just about any other linebacker in this draft. 

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2 hours ago, Kaptain Krazy said:

i just can't get behind drafting "Curtis Lofton" at #17, or thinking that Ragland is a safe pick while also worrying that he may have problems controlling his weight.

 

Have heard this compariosn a few times.  Lofton was a slightly above average LB who could only play two downs.  If Ragland is a copy we really need some one else,   

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1 hour ago, CTann said:

Ding ding ding!

This might be the first time that I have seen, what you said, this on these boards. It's almost as if mostly everyone thinks that we ONLY need good cover linebackers as in the smaller speedy lightning-quick guys.
Yes, the league has turned into more of a "passing league" but teams certainly still run the ball lol. Look at our division: Panthers with Cam Newton, Mike Tolbert, and Jonathan Stewart (I'm not the biggest fan of Derrick Henry at the NFL level but I think that he could be a wrecking ball with Carolina so I pray that they don't take him at #30 because they have the luxury to do so), Saints and Mark Ingram, Bucs and Doug Martin. That's 6 games every year.

Our linebackers are one of the weakest linebacking crews in the NFL. Ragland brings physicality, toughness, attitude, and an identity to our defense. Yeah he isn't that small speedy linebacker who glides across the field but he brings more to the table in the run department and thumper ability than just about any other linebacker in this draft. 

Preach. i couldnt agree more.

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11 minutes ago, HaRdH3ad said:

Preach. i couldnt agree more.

Yep.

And I'm not necessarily advocating for Ragland but I'm also not advocating against him. I like to look at things from different angles, play devil's advocate, and my mind is constantly changing about who I like more and who I like lesser.

The way I see it is that this team has several holes (starters at LB, G, S, and you also can't have too many pass rushers) and no matter who we pick; that player will have some strengths and some weaknesses. I also think that people will also say that our pick was a reach; regardless of who we pick.
Reggie Ragland? "Oh well he can't cover and has mobility and agility issues."
Darron Lee? "Oh well he doesn't attack the ballcarrier, can't stack and shed, and plays too light."
Leonard Floyd? "Oh well he can't defend the run and is too thin."

In a perfect world, we'd draft a linebacker who can cover any assignment, has awesome lateral movement, can stack and shed like an ox, has the closing speed of a cheetah about to pounce on its prey, and has a variety of fluent pass rush moves to utilize in some situations. Lol but that isn't going to happen. 
 

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43 minutes ago, CTann said:


Reggie Ragland? "Oh well he can't cover and has mobility and agility issues."
Darron Lee? "Oh well he doesn't attack the ballcarrier, can't stack and shed, and plays too light."
Leonard Floyd? "Oh well he can't defend the run and is too thin."
 

 

then sounds like none of them should be picked at 17.

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51 minutes ago, CTann said:

Yep.

And I'm not necessarily advocating for Ragland but I'm also not advocating against him. I like to look at things from different angles, play devil's advocate, and my mind is constantly changing about who I like more and who I like lesser.

The way I see it is that this team has several holes (starters at LB, G, S, and you also can't have too many pass rushers) and no matter who we pick; that player will have some strengths and some weaknesses. I also think that people will also say that our pick was a reach; regardless of who we pick.
Reggie Ragland? "Oh well he can't cover and has mobility and agility issues."
Darron Lee? "Oh well he doesn't attack the ballcarrier, can't stack and shed, and plays too light."
Leonard Floyd? "Oh well he can't defend the run and is too thin."

In a perfect world, we'd draft a linebacker who can cover any assignment, has awesome lateral movement, can stack and shed like an ox, has the closing speed of a cheetah about to pounce on its prey, and has a variety of fluent pass rush moves to utilize in some situations. Lol but that isn't going to happen. 
 

Every team wants Lawrence Taylor or Ray Lewis...they are once in a generation transcendent talents....

So deal with the "flaws" of still above average players....out of the three, Ragland is the best LINEBACKER and FOOTBALL PLAYER....Lee is a safety with poor tackling ability and Floyd is a lean LB that doesnt show up in games...

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58 minutes ago, birdz4i said:

 

then sounds like none of them should be picked at 17.

Then who should be the pick? 

 

49 minutes ago, Matt_The Iceman_Ryan said:

Every team wants Lawrence Taylor or Ray Lewis...they are once in a generation transcendent talents....

So deal with the "flaws" of still above average players....out of the three, Ragland is the best LINEBACKER and FOOTBALL PLAYER....Lee is a safety with poor tackling ability and Floyd is a lean LB that doesnt show up in games...

I like Ragland and Floyd the most between those three. I agree that Ragland is the better FOOTBALL PLAYER between the three. 

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OP-The thought and effort you put into your mock is much appreciated. It was a very smooth read that made a lot of sense. Bullard is a heck of a prospect. We did work him out in Atlanta, if I'm not mistaken. It does appear to me, however, that the team is prepared to draft a 7th rounder and or take an UDFA at the DT position. They've been looking at late round talent quite heavily at DT. My gut says we take another linebacker or safety hybrid in the second. You get your thunder with Ragland and your lightning with Deion Jones in the next round. You know Shanny believes he can get a third or fourth round, lightweight but athletic ZBS guard to mold. Third round seems perfect for McGovern just like you have him there. In the fourth, I think we are just taking whatever falls in our laps like Jarrett did last year in the fifth. Hopefully, we get another bargain and it could very well be at safety. Well thought out Mock!

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3 hours ago, Matt_The Iceman_Ryan said:

Every team wants Lawrence Taylor or Ray Lewis...they are once in a generation transcendent talents....

So deal with the "flaws" of still above average players....out of the three, Ragland is the best LINEBACKER and FOOTBALL PLAYER....Lee is a safety with poor tackling ability and Floyd is a lean LB that doesnt show up in games...

It's why I'm so tempted to find a way to go get Myles Jack...

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