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Falcons mock draft 1.0: A post-combine prediction at who the team could target


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https://theathletic.com/1650878/2020/03/03/falcons-mock-draft-1-0-a-post-combine-prediction-at-who-the-team-could-target/

 

With 51 days remaining before the NFL Draft, a lot can happen when it comes to how the Falcons attack each of their seven selections.

Much of the attention has been on how the Falcons will address the many needs they have through the 2020 draft class.

The obvious needs are at edge rusher, defensive tackle, linebacker, tight end and cornerback. Running back figures to be one, as well, with Devonta Freeman’s future very much up in the air.

Then there are the long-term needs, such as interior offensive line and safety.

Of course, with the Falcons deciding not to negotiate further with Austin Hooper and De’Vondre Campbell before the new league year, and with the likelihood of making some cap cuts once a decision on the collective bargaining agreement is reached, it will be interesting to see how Atlanta addresses some of these needs via free agency, as well.

But for now, we don’t know exactly how the Falcons plan to hit free agency, which is scheduled to begin March 18. Therefore, this first seven-round mock draft — conducted via an online simulator — is done with the present needs in mind and not with anticipating what might occur in free agency.

In addition, this first mock draft features no trades.

First round, 16th overall: LSU Edge K’Lavon Chaisson

The Falcons, with a head coach and general manager who held a news conference announcing they were remaining on staff, can’t afford to be complacent in free agency. Therefore, you have to wonder if this team will make some internal moves to free up some cash so they can, in turn, go sign a bigger-named edge rusher. For now, however, it remains unknown what Atlanta’s plan is in this area. And therefore, with the first pick of this mock draft, Atlanta addresses this particular need with the best edge rusher available.

At the 16th pick, a case can be made for Chaisson or Iowa’s A.J. Epenesa. Both were productive in college and can get after the quarterback. The difference lies in how they get it done. Chaisson has an explosive first step. Epenesa relies on his power and fundamental hands. Considering the fact that head coach Dan Quinn loves defensive ends with a strong initial burst, the pick here is Chaisson, who at the scouting combine likened himself to someone who can speak three languages — rushing the passer, stopping the run and dropping into coverage.

Second round, 47th overall: Clemson CB A.J. Terrell

If the Falcons decide to keep Desmond Trufant, they should have a starting trio of Trufant, Kendall Sheffield and Isaiah Oliver. Even so, adding depth to the position will remain important, considering the fourth corner on the roster for the time being, Jordan Miller, is suspended for the first three games of the 2020 season. But if Trufant does become a cap casualty, the Falcons almost assuredly will need to draft a corner in their first three picks.

And Terrell will be among the best at the position in this year’s draft class. At 6-foot-1 with 31 ¼-inch arms, Terrell has good length for Quinn’s defense.

Second round, 55th overall: Ohio State RB J.K. Dobbins

Under general manager Thomas Dimitroff, the Falcons have not selected a running back higher than the third round. Entering this particular mock draft, I planned to stay true to history and do everything I could not to take a player at the position this early.

And then the 55th overall selection came, and Dobbins, who fits a position of need, was there as the best player available. At that point, Dobbins had to be the pick. The Falcons haven’t given Freeman any ringing endorsements this offseason, which has led to the speculation that he could be a cap casualty. If a new collective bargaining agreement is reached in the near future, NFL teams will have the post-June 1 designation for cuts available again. And if so, the Falcons will save more money than the $3.5 million they can free up with Freeman’s immediate release.

Dobbins made plenty of plays during his three years at Ohio State but ran roughshod over teams in 2019 to the tune of 2,003 yards and 21 touchdowns. His vision is exceptional on zone runs, which would make him a fit in Atlanta.

Third round, 78th overall: Dayton TE Adam Trautman

By letting Hooper test free agency, this signals he is all but gone from the franchise. Atlanta will need another tight end, since the three on the roster now are Jaeden Graham, Luke Stocker and Carson Meier, with Meier spending most of the 2019 season on the practice squad. When looking for a tight end who has similar attributes to Hooper, 6-foot-4 and 254 pounds, the one who stands out the most is Trautman, who happens to be a near carbon copy at 6-5 and 251 pounds.

While Trautman played against FCS competition, he showed the ability to win one-on-one matchups with regularity. He has a basketball background, which shows on the football field with how he positions his body on contested catches. Trautman shined during Senior Bowl week, too, which should help his draft standing in late April.

Fourth round, 109th overall: Louisiana G Robert Hunt

Last year, the Falcons’ plan on the offensive line was to add more size up front to prevent teams from getting a pass rush up the middle. But then James Carpenter ended the year on injured reserve, and Jamon Brown turned into a healthy scratch in some of Atlanta’s late-season games. While finding a center for the long term will be important, Hunt’s potential as a guard is too much to pass on, especially in the fourth round.

Hunt was a four-year starter for the Ragin’ Cajuns, playing tackle and guard. At 6-5 and 336 pounds, Hunt has exceptional power but also possesses good lateral movement. While there is still plenty to work on with his game, Hunt has a lot of upside, especially considering the value in the fourth round.

Fifth round, 140th overall: LSU DL Rashard Lawrence

At the scouting combine, Chaisson was asked which teammate he would like to play with at the professional level. His answer? Lawrence.

“I know he would 100 percent give everything he’s got,” Chaisson said. “I’ve watched this man cry in front of my face when he got injured. Not because he couldn’t play and put stats on the board. But because he wanted to play all-out for his brothers. The ability he could give, I would want something like that.”

Lawrence has a high motor, which certainly has to stand out to Atlanta’s coaching staff. With the Falcons needing defensive line depth, Lawrence could prove to be a worthy later-round addition.

Seventh round, 206th overall: Penn State LB Cameron Brown

If the Falcons are unable to sign a free agent linebacker or select one in the earlier rounds, they gladly will take a project player with hopes of him turning into the next Foye Oluokun. Brown worked at multiple positions in college and has plenty of experience playing in a zone defense. While there will be plenty for Brown to work on if he’s to make it in the NFL, he fits the mold of being a new-age linebacker with a lean body and speed.

 

 

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I’m certainly not a scout...but I do have a burgeoning sense of dread around the possibility that Chaisson winds up a Falcon.  To the extent that we’d use a 3rd first round pick (in 6 DQ drafts) to try and solve our pass rush problem which DQ has for the most part been unable to solve feels like an enormous missed opportunity to go in a different direction as it relates to the construct of the defense.

...and the idea of going CB @ #47...following the same trend, this would be the 3rd time in 6 DQ years that we went CB in the 2nd round (Collins, Oliver).

Even with the extra 2nd rounder, #16/#47 feels like the definition of insanity.

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19 minutes ago, TheDirtyWordII said:

I’m certainly not a scout...but I do have a burgeoning sense of dread around the possibility that Chaisson winds up a Falcon.  To the extent that we’d use a 3rd first round pick (in 6 DQ drafts) to try and solve our pass rush problem which DQ has for the most part been unable to solve feels like an enormous missed opportunity to go in a different direction as it relates to the construct of the defense.

...and the idea of going CB @ #47...following the same trend, this would be the 3rd time in 6 DQ years that we went CB in the 2nd round (Collins, Oliver).

Even with the extra 2nd rounder, #16/#47 feels like the definition of insanity.

I honestly wouldn't be surprised to see CJ Henderson as our #1 pick knowing Dimitroff. 

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25 minutes ago, TheDirtyWordII said:

I’m certainly not a scout...but I do have a burgeoning sense of dread around the possibility that Chaisson winds up a Falcon.  To the extent that we’d use a 3rd first round pick (in 6 DQ drafts) to try and solve our pass rush problem which DQ has for the most part been unable to solve feels like an enormous missed opportunity to go in a different direction as it relates to the construct of the defense.

...and the idea of going CB @ #47...following the same trend, this would be the 3rd time in 6 DQ years that we went CB in the 2nd round (Collins, Oliver).

Even with the extra 2nd rounder, #16/#47 feels like the definition of insanity.

I feel like Uche gives you much the same as Chaisson does and you can likely get him at #47.  I like this draft more if the first three picks were Blacklock, Uche, Dobbins & then Trautman.  Could also take a chance on Highsmith in the 4th

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3 hours ago, FalconsIn2012 said:

I feel like Uche gives you much the same as Chaisson does and you can likely get him at #47.  I like this draft more if the first three picks were Blacklock, Uche, Dobbins & then Trautman.  Could also take a chance on Highsmith in the 4th

Highsmith would be my choice over Trautman.

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If we don't grab a DT in the first couple rounds in this very good DT draft, I won't understand it at all.

We were high on the Washington DT a couple years ago, and high on Oliver and Wilkins last year.  They seem to see the need for a playmaking DT.  Skipping it a third year, especially in a poor edge group, seems crazy.

Hoping it's more DT/CB then hit the RB/WR/LB you need.

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49 minutes ago, ATLFalcon36 said:

I actually really like this draft. I'd prefer to do DT sooner but would be pretty happy with it overall.

What he said,, plus I'd love for us to get two DTs. and two DEs,,  these needs just has to be taken care of ,, So that is why we need to take two and for depth also.

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12 hours ago, TheDirtyWordII said:

I’m certainly not a scout...but I do have a burgeoning sense of dread around the possibility that Chaisson winds up a Falcon.  To the extent that we’d use a 3rd first round pick (in 6 DQ drafts) to try and solve our pass rush problem which DQ has for the most part been unable to solve feels like an enormous missed opportunity to go in a different direction as it relates to the construct of the defense.

...and the idea of going CB @ #47...following the same trend, this would be the 3rd time in 6 DQ years that we went CB in the 2nd round (Collins, Oliver).

Even with the extra 2nd rounder, #16/#47 feels like the definition of insanity.

Hopefully this is the last year that sh!tbird gets to trade up with his tunnel vision/6 person draft board BS.

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3 hours ago, 1989Fan said:

I thought you wanted us to get Herbert.

I would like for us to be able to get him..If Ryan has said he's only going to play like two more years.. I'd be all in with Herbert with our first pick.. But I don't think we will,, Because we need The DL more this year.,,, Herbert will be IMO a great QB, not just a good one.

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12 hours ago, FalconsIn2012 said:

I feel like Uche gives you much the same as Chaisson does and you can likely get him at #47.  I like this draft more if the first three picks were Blacklock, Uche, Dobbins & then Trautman.  Could also take a chance on Highsmith in the 4th

The knock on Uche is he is 6'1 and not 6'4

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15 hours ago, TheDirtyWordII said:

I’m certainly not a scout...but I do have a burgeoning sense of dread around the possibility that Chaisson winds up a Falcon.  To the extent that we’d use a 3rd first round pick (in 6 DQ drafts) to try and solve our pass rush problem which DQ has for the most part been unable to solve feels like an enormous missed opportunity to go in a different direction as it relates to the construct of the defense.

...and the idea of going CB @ #47...following the same trend, this would be the 3rd time in 6 DQ years that we went CB in the 2nd round (Collins, Oliver).

Even with the extra 2nd rounder, #16/#47 feels like the definition of insanity.

Yeah but, what other positions would you realistically expect from us when QB, Pass Rushers, and DBs are the most important positions in a QB driven league.

 We have our franchise QB, so naturally you see us going after the other 2 more than others. 

What else is he supposed to do, draft an OL in the 1st? Oh wait, didnt we just do that 

Draft a WR? Well... no we did that too AND we have Julio

Draft a 1st rd RB or a TE this year? ..... yeah, no. Not unless there is a generational guy and there is not.

You could make a case for a Safety (but we also spent a 1st there before too)

We are set at ILB with Deion.

So the only 3 positions on the board in rds 1+2 if you ask me are DT, Edge, and CB. And it just so happens this draft has plenty of those guys in our range.

Its not a knock against DQ, its just makes common sense.

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2 minutes ago, LightningDawg58 said:

Yeah but, what other positions would you realistically expect from us when QB, Pass Rushers, and DBs are the most important positions in a QB driven league.

 We have our franchise QB, so naturally you see us going after the other 2 more than others. 

What else is he supposed to do, draft an OL in the 1st? Oh wait, didnt we just do that 

Draft a WR? Well... no we did that too AND we have Julio

Draft a 1st rd RB or a TE this year? ..... yeah, no. Not unless there is a generational guy and there is not.

You could make a case for a Safety (but we also spent a 1st there before too)

We are set at ILB with Deion.

So the only 3 positions on the board in rds 1+2 if you ask me are DT, Edge, and CB. And it just so happens this draft has plenty of those guys in our range.

Its not a knock against DQ, its just makes common sense.

Preach 

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16 hours ago, TheDirtyWordII said:

I’m certainly not a scout...but I do have a burgeoning sense of dread around the possibility that Chaisson winds up a Falcon.  To the extent that we’d use a 3rd first round pick (in 6 DQ drafts) to try and solve our pass rush problem which DQ has for the most part been unable to solve feels like an enormous missed opportunity to go in a different direction as it relates to the construct of the defense.

...and the idea of going CB @ #47...following the same trend, this would be the 3rd time in 6 DQ years that we went CB in the 2nd round (Collins, Oliver).

Even with the extra 2nd rounder, #16/#47 feels like the definition of insanity.

On yet another (the third) undersized Pass Rusher who we will try to shoehorn into a base down end...

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I think OLB/DE/pass rushing DT(even round 2 there some potential)...and even DB help are our needs on defense relative to draft position.

This mock draft could make a lot of sense if we paired it with a good FA period...which means we gotta hope the CBA is done soon...like before league year.

K’Lavon as a Vondre replacement and a other option rushing the passer could be a nice addition. I wouldn’t think year 1 it transforms the defense right away but with coaching, a solid FA etc it can fit in for years.

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7 hours ago, LightningDawg58 said:

Yeah but, what other positions would you realistically expect from us when QB, Pass Rushers, and DBs are the most important positions in a QB driven league.

 We have our franchise QB, so naturally you see us going after the other 2 more than others. 

What else is he supposed to do, draft an OL in the 1st? Oh wait, didnt we just do that 

Draft a WR? Well... no we did that too AND we have Julio

Draft a 1st rd RB or a TE this year? ..... yeah, no. Not unless there is a generational guy and there is not.

You could make a case for a Safety (but we also spent a 1st there before too)

We are set at ILB with Deion.

So the only 3 positions on the board in rds 1+2 if you ask me are DT, Edge, and CB. And it just so happens this draft has plenty of those guys in our range.

Its not a knock against DQ, its just makes common sense.

Who is playing DT next to Grady?  I’ll wait...

Also, this notion that because the league isn’t RB driven and therefore isn’t worth looking at in the first two rounds is just draftnik group think at its worst.  If Freeman is jettisoned, we have Ito Smith and assuming we place a tender on him, Brian Hill.  What team has the fewest rushing attempts in the NFL the last two seasons?  You guessed it...the RB position may not be  as important as other positions when you look at the market.  But that doesn’t make it unimportant.  And we have the worst depth chart in the NFL...so, from my POV, that could/should be on the table in R1 even but without a doubt R2.

You said S...absolutely that’s an option.  Neal can’t stay healthy and Allen has long been overvalued by this staff. Neal is signed thru 2020, Allen 2021 which is when he should be able to pick himself off the ground after that Kittle block.

If we’re losing Campbell...it even makes sense to look there.  While I like Oluokun, to the extent that you could bolster your depth there, or at least provide competition...that’s a viable option in R2.

And if an OL is only as good as its weakest link, the combo of Carpenter/Brown is still being counted on to man the LG position.  The only reason they’re not gone is because contract wise it doesn’t make sense to let them go.

So yeah...Falcons have lots of directions they could go.  They’re not backed into (sinewy)DE/CB.

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On 4.3.2020 at 2:18 PM, TheDirtyWordII said:

I’m certainly not a scout...but I do have a burgeoning sense of dread around the possibility that Chaisson winds up a Falcon.  To the extent that we’d use a 3rd first round pick (in 6 DQ drafts) to try and solve our pass rush problem which DQ has for the most part been unable to solve feels like an enormous missed opportunity to go in a different direction as it relates to the construct of the defense.

...and the idea of going CB @ #47...following the same trend, this would be the 3rd time in 6 DQ years that we went CB in the 2nd round (Collins, Oliver).

Even with the extra 2nd rounder, #16/#47 feels like the definition of insanity.

"The definition of insanity" is pretty harsh here. One pick didn't work out because he was an idiot, the other is still proving himself..

Just because it hasn't really worked out doesn't mean that we should stop trying to plug a hole in the ship. Not doing it would be insanity.

To me having a great secondary is very valuable, and it means pouring in some resources. Look at what GB did some years back, or TB last year, double dipping early on DBs. It can pay huge dividends both in the short and long run.

We have a lot of holes, but can you really tell me that we are good at CB with Tru about to leave and Kazee not working out as nickel CB? Should we really put all our trust in Oliver, Sheffield and maybe Blidi to cover the passing game for the next few years? Not in my opinion. I'd rather keep going back to the well, and sooner or later we will strike gold.

Being able to stop the opponents passing game is of utmost importance on D, and to me the secondary has just as much a role in that as DL and QB pressure. It cannot be neglected.

I'm not saying we're should use a first on a CB, but I'd be very happy with a good coverage talent in the second. Was hoping for Terrell, but he might be climbing up boards a bit again.

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