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Mock draft: overhauling the front 8


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The Washington Football Team has generally been one of the worst run teams in the NFL. But this past season they hired a proven NFL head coach who wasn't passed his prime and he made the most of some really good building blocks in the front half of that defense. Washington had one of the worst offenses in the NFL with some of the worst QB play and a secondary with a bunch of nobodies but their front 7 just punished opponents and they won 7 games with a point differential of +6 (ie more like a 9-win team). 

In order to get the Falcons back to respectability, I think they need a similar overhaul on the front 7 (or front "8") and just make every opponent work for it win or lose. 

I did a couple draft simulators this morning and finally got one to hit the way I wanted. I did a bunch of wheeling and dealing ending up with 5 picks in the first 3 rounds. 

19. Christian Barmore, DT, Alabama: People will tell you he is a half-year wonder but if he played like he did in that half year for 2-3 years he'd be a top 5 pick, so no risk no reward. Barmore is only 3 years out of high school, does not come from the south and 12-month football, and was buried behind future pro after future pro. It took him a minute to figure out what he was doing once he started playing. But once he did, he was just unblockable with an extremely active set of hands that was ripping and swimming past all blockers. PFF recently compared him to Gerald McCoy and I agree. 

35. Zaven Collins, LB, Tulsa: Most of the best defenses in the NFL can be described as "multiple". They have the same players play multiple positions so the offense doesn't know who to block in a given situation. Collins can play 4-3 MLB, 4-3 OLB, 3-4 ILB, and 3-4 OLB in the right looks. Some people will tell you he's a pass rusher but I don't think so. He's more of a blitzer. 

51. Alim McNeil, DT, NC State: In my evaluation of McNeil, his biggest weakness is his stamina. He doesn't play that many snaps for the Wolfpack. I'm not expecting him to play a ton in the NFL, at least not early on. Few players this big can keep going like Dontari Poe. But when McNeil is in there, he's a load and plays with great pad level. He gets low. 

68. Hamsah Nasirildeen, S, Florida State: Here's another multiple player. Nasirildeen is a natural SS but has the size to play 4-3 WLB, too. He's great sideline to sideline. 

69. Patrick Jones, DE, Pittsburgh: Jones isn't a multiple position player but has pretty much everything you would expect from a good but not great 4-3 DE. He's got pretty good size and looks like he can get bigger, pretty good burst, some flexibility, and decent hands. He doesn't have one skill that's going to immediately help him as a rookie but has a well balanced tool kit that with some refinements to his technique could end up a nice player in year 2 or 3. 

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4 minutes ago, Lornoth said:

Honestly this approach would be worst case scenario. This is a weak draft for DLine, we'd have to reach hard to get anyone decent. This is the year to fix the secondary. Get some good FA's on the line if someone comes available. 

I respect your opinion. 

  1. I think when someone says so and so position group is a weak class, they're mostly talking about the top 15 picks or so. There is no Myles Garrett, Bosa brother type player, so some may feel it is weak because of that. I'm not picking any DL in the top 15 so I'm not worried. 
  2. After that, no one knows about 2nd and 3rd round picks, or else they wouldn't be 2nd or 3rd round picks. Did anyone think Danielle Hunter would be one of the best pass rushers in the NFL when he went #88 overall in 2015? Did anyone think Trey Flowers would sign a $90 million contract and win a Super Bowl when he went #101 that same year? 
  3. I enjoy watching d-line tape so if I mock a player there, it's because I feel they have legit talent. I'm not just going off names and scouting reports and I acknowledge two of these players probably won't be impact rookies. 
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speaking of FA, this is an article from the Falcoholic that speaks to a little of that.

 

Who from the NFL’s 101 free agents for 2021 make sense for the Falcons?

We’ve selected a few folks who might make sense.

By Cory Woodroof@CoryWoodroof47  Mar 2, 2021, 12:00pm EST 
 

Detroit Lions v Tennessee TitansPhoto by Frederick Breedon/Getty Images

It’s free agency month for the Atlanta Falcons, a first chance for the new guys on the block to show us what their vision is for the team. General manager Terry Fontenot spent years helping the cap-strapped New Orleans Saints make deal after deal in free agency, which makes you wonder if he’ll take the same approach in Atlanta.

While the team still is about $20 million over the cap, you should still expect the front office to get busy to help get this roster in competing shape sooner than later. Free agency, whether extensively pillaged or lightly threaded, is the start to that process.

NFL.com always has one of the best free agency lists where take the time to count out, in their opinion, the 101 most appealing candidates out there. While we don’t think the team will compete for the biggest fish on the list right now, there are names on there that make sense for the Falcons.

Let’s look at a few, shall we?

No. 27, TE Jonnu Smith

It’s entirely possible new Falcons head coach Arthur Smith might want to bring his Tennessee Titans touchdown machine Smith with him to Atlanta and field a formidable duo with Smith and Hayden Hurst. Smith will make a good salary on his next deal, and you can bet the Titans will do what they can to hold onto him.

The Falcons would be wise to invest at the position that plays such a huge role in what Smith does best, and signing Smith as its marquee free agent could free the team up in the draft to invest on the defense and at running back. The red zone production would skyrocket with a player like Smith for Matt Ryan to throw to on game day. It’s just a question of whether the contract would fit.

No. 31, DE Romeo Okwara

While there are some intriguing pass rushers on this list (Jadeveon Clowney, Bud Dupree, Carl Lawson, Matt Judon, Yannick Ngakoue), Okwara might be a nice blend of more affordable and even more potential. The list notes that he is coming off a breakout year in Detroit where he had 61 pressures, fifth-most in the league, per PFF.

Okwara is only 26 and won’t be the marquee name on this pass-rushing market. If the Falcons are willing to invest in his single-season production and his future, they could make him the lead option in their pass rush for 2021 and potentially beyond and part ways with Dante Fowler Jr. on a post-June 1 cut to help fit his deal under the cap going forward. Okwara could be a versatile piece for Dean Pees to unleash on opposing quarterbacks.

No. 33, S Marcus Maye

With Ricardo Allen officially released, the Falcons need a new free safety. Fontenot has struck gold in the past looking at New York Jets defenders like Saints linebacker Demario Davis; could he do it again with Maye?

Maye is a budding talent at the position who in a crowded safety market might not break the bank. The team could draft high to fill this vacancy on the roster just as easily as they could sign a stopgap veteran to a low deal. If they want veteran stability at the position, though, you could do much, much worse than signing Maye to a handsome deal.

No. 42, DE Justin Houston/No. 58 Denico Autry

If the Falcons want a defensive tonesetter who could also be a leader in the locker room, they could sign the former Georgia great Houston to help lead that internal change. He’s 32, but the Falcons need people who have proven experience trying to rush the passer.

If they could nab Houston on a two-year deal, maybe the Statesboro native would be interested in playing his later career years close to home? He’s still got enough juice to help.

Another Colt who might be more affordable would be Autry, who has been a gem for Indy since being signed away from then-Oakland. He could play either defensive end spot in Peas’ fronts.

No. 52, DE Melvin Ingram

The Falcons need to sign a veteran pass rusher in free agency, if that wasn’t obvious by the rest of the names on this list. Ingram, a South Carolina grad, could play in the 3-4 and 4-3 looks Peas wants to run and could be a steal at the right price if he wants to head back down South (he’s originally from North Carolina).

Versatility is going to be paramount for any pass rusher signed by the Falcons going ahead.

No. 65, NT DaQuan Jones

If there’s a player on this list that has a pretty darn good chance of landing in Atlanta, it’s Jones. The Titans nose tackle would give Atlanta exactly who it needs to anchor the 3-4 fronts that Peas is going to bring, having had two years of experience in his scheme in Tennessee. Jones seemed excited about Peas getting the Atlanta gig, so could we see a reunion? He and Arthur Smith go back, too, to note.

It’s a signing with obvious ties to the new regime and one we could very reasonably see happening at the right price. Jones would be a great addition who would have an impact immediately.

No. 75, DT Sheldon Rankins

Would Fontenot want to give the 2016 Saints first-round draft pick an opportunity for a fresh start? He’s had his ups and downs in New Orleans, but his pluses might be something to make the Falcons keep him in-division. If he’s healthy, he is an impact player.

He’d be an excellent running mate with Grady Jarrett in this defense on the inside if the team wants to add to a strength, with the pressure off Marlon Davidson to deliver huge production in his second year. He might come at a more affordable price, too, than some of his peers.

No. 77, TE Gerald Everett

If Jonnu Smith is too expensive for the Falcons, Everett would be a solid consolation prize. He might find more to do in Arthur Smith’s tight end-happy offense and return home to Atlanta — he went to high school in Decatur. He could find more of a role in the red zone with the Falcons than he was in Los Angeles and come at a better price than Jonnu Smith’s contract would.

 

Who would you take from this list

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1 minute ago, Summerhill said:

I respect your opinion. 

  1. I think when someone says so and so position group is a weak class, they're mostly talking about the top 15 picks or so. There is no Myles Garrett, Bosa brother type player, so some may feel it is weak because of that. I'm not picking any DL in the top 15 so I'm not worried. 
  2. After that, no one knows about 2nd and 3rd round picks, or else they wouldn't be 2nd or 3rd round picks. Did anyone think Danielle Hunter would be one of the best pass rushers in the NFL when he went #88 overall in 2015? Did anyone think Trey Flowers would sign a $90 million contract and win a Super Bowl when he went #101 that same year? 
  3. I enjoy watching d-line tape so if I mock a player there, it's because I feel they have legit talent. I'm not just going off names and scouting reports and I acknowledge two of these players probably won't be impact rookies. 

It is only my opinion, but I think a guy with 4'th round talent is going to require a 2'nd round pick in this year's draft, because there just aren't many impressive players in the class and it'll force reaches. I'd take Jones with the 69'th pick but I think he'll almost certainly be gone midway through the 2nd because there aren't that many guys ahead of him in my eyes. I'm not talking top 15 picks, I'm talking all the way down.

You never know, of course. I could be wrong. But I don't think zeroing in on a position, especially a somewhat shallow one like DLine, is a good idea in this draft. That being said there will certainly be a few players that prove me wrong from somewhere in this draft, so if we think we've found a few of them I'm all for it.

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6 minutes ago, Herr Doktor said:

speaking of FA, this is an article from the Falcoholic that speaks to a little of that.

 

Who from the NFL’s 101 free agents for 2021 make sense for the Falcons?

We’ve selected a few folks who might make sense.

By Cory Woodroof@CoryWoodroof47  Mar 2, 2021, 12:00pm EST 
 

Detroit Lions v Tennessee TitansPhoto by Frederick Breedon/Getty Images

It’s free agency month for the Atlanta Falcons, a first chance for the new guys on the block to show us what their vision is for the team. General manager Terry Fontenot spent years helping the cap-strapped New Orleans Saints make deal after deal in free agency, which makes you wonder if he’ll take the same approach in Atlanta.

While the team still is about $20 million over the cap, you should still expect the front office to get busy to help get this roster in competing shape sooner than later. Free agency, whether extensively pillaged or lightly threaded, is the start to that process.

NFL.com always has one of the best free agency lists where take the time to count out, in their opinion, the 101 most appealing candidates out there. While we don’t think the team will compete for the biggest fish on the list right now, there are names on there that make sense for the Falcons.

Let’s look at a few, shall we?

No. 27, TE Jonnu Smith

It’s entirely possible new Falcons head coach Arthur Smith might want to bring his Tennessee Titans touchdown machine Smith with him to Atlanta and field a formidable duo with Smith and Hayden Hurst. Smith will make a good salary on his next deal, and you can bet the Titans will do what they can to hold onto him.

The Falcons would be wise to invest at the position that plays such a huge role in what Smith does best, and signing Smith as its marquee free agent could free the team up in the draft to invest on the defense and at running back. The red zone production would skyrocket with a player like Smith for Matt Ryan to throw to on game day. It’s just a question of whether the contract would fit.

No. 31, DE Romeo Okwara

While there are some intriguing pass rushers on this list (Jadeveon Clowney, Bud Dupree, Carl Lawson, Matt Judon, Yannick Ngakoue), Okwara might be a nice blend of more affordable and even more potential. The list notes that he is coming off a breakout year in Detroit where he had 61 pressures, fifth-most in the league, per PFF.

Okwara is only 26 and won’t be the marquee name on this pass-rushing market. If the Falcons are willing to invest in his single-season production and his future, they could make him the lead option in their pass rush for 2021 and potentially beyond and part ways with Dante Fowler Jr. on a post-June 1 cut to help fit his deal under the cap going forward. Okwara could be a versatile piece for Dean Pees to unleash on opposing quarterbacks.

No. 33, S Marcus Maye

With Ricardo Allen officially released, the Falcons need a new free safety. Fontenot has struck gold in the past looking at New York Jets defenders like Saints linebacker Demario Davis; could he do it again with Maye?

Maye is a budding talent at the position who in a crowded safety market might not break the bank. The team could draft high to fill this vacancy on the roster just as easily as they could sign a stopgap veteran to a low deal. If they want veteran stability at the position, though, you could do much, much worse than signing Maye to a handsome deal.

No. 42, DE Justin Houston/No. 58 Denico Autry

If the Falcons want a defensive tonesetter who could also be a leader in the locker room, they could sign the former Georgia great Houston to help lead that internal change. He’s 32, but the Falcons need people who have proven experience trying to rush the passer.

If they could nab Houston on a two-year deal, maybe the Statesboro native would be interested in playing his later career years close to home? He’s still got enough juice to help.

Another Colt who might be more affordable would be Autry, who has been a gem for Indy since being signed away from then-Oakland. He could play either defensive end spot in Peas’ fronts.

No. 52, DE Melvin Ingram

The Falcons need to sign a veteran pass rusher in free agency, if that wasn’t obvious by the rest of the names on this list. Ingram, a South Carolina grad, could play in the 3-4 and 4-3 looks Peas wants to run and could be a steal at the right price if he wants to head back down South (he’s originally from North Carolina).

Versatility is going to be paramount for any pass rusher signed by the Falcons going ahead.

No. 65, NT DaQuan Jones

If there’s a player on this list that has a pretty darn good chance of landing in Atlanta, it’s Jones. The Titans nose tackle would give Atlanta exactly who it needs to anchor the 3-4 fronts that Peas is going to bring, having had two years of experience in his scheme in Tennessee. Jones seemed excited about Peas getting the Atlanta gig, so could we see a reunion? He and Arthur Smith go back, too, to note.

It’s a signing with obvious ties to the new regime and one we could very reasonably see happening at the right price. Jones would be a great addition who would have an impact immediately.

No. 75, DT Sheldon Rankins

Would Fontenot want to give the 2016 Saints first-round draft pick an opportunity for a fresh start? He’s had his ups and downs in New Orleans, but his pluses might be something to make the Falcons keep him in-division. If he’s healthy, he is an impact player.

He’d be an excellent running mate with Grady Jarrett in this defense on the inside if the team wants to add to a strength, with the pressure off Marlon Davidson to deliver huge production in his second year. He might come at a more affordable price, too, than some of his peers.

No. 77, TE Gerald Everett

If Jonnu Smith is too expensive for the Falcons, Everett would be a solid consolation prize. He might find more to do in Arthur Smith’s tight end-happy offense and return home to Atlanta — he went to high school in Decatur. He could find more of a role in the red zone with the Falcons than he was in Los Angeles and come at a better price than Jonnu Smith’s contract would.

 

Who would you take from this list

A lot of these make sense and one might already have his sights set on reuniting with Pees.

Gotta get to restructuring some folks. 😁

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27 minutes ago, Lornoth said:

You never know, of course. I could be wrong. But I don't think zeroing in on a position, especially a somewhat shallow one like DLine, is a good idea in this draft. That being said there will certainly be a few players that prove me wrong from somewhere in this draft, so if we think we've found a few of them I'm all for it.

I certainly could be missing good players at other positions but I feel good enough about my evaluations to hope I'm passing on one good player for another good player. 

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2 hours ago, Summerhill said:

The Washington Football Team has generally been one of the worst run teams in the NFL. But this past season they hired a proven NFL head coach who wasn't passed his prime and he made the most of some really good building blocks in the front half of that defense. Washington had one of the worst offenses in the NFL with some of the worst QB play and a secondary with a bunch of nobodies but their front 7 just punished opponents and they won 7 games with a point differential of +6 (ie more like a 9-win team). 

In order to get the Falcons back to respectability, I think they need a similar overhaul on the front 7 (or front "8") and just make every opponent work for it win or lose. 

I did a couple draft simulators this morning and finally got one to hit the way I wanted. I did a bunch of wheeling and dealing ending up with 5 picks in the first 3 rounds. 

19. Christian Barmore, DT, Alabama: People will tell you he is a half-year wonder but if he played like he did in that half year for 2-3 years he'd be a top 5 pick, so no risk no reward. Barmore is only 3 years out of high school, does not come from the south and 12-month football, and was buried behind future pro after future pro. It took him a minute to figure out what he was doing once he started playing. But once he did, he was just unblockable with an extremely active set of hands that was ripping and swimming past all blockers. PFF recently compared him to Gerald McCoy and I agree. 

35. Zaven Collins, LB, Tulsa: Most of the best defenses in the NFL can be described as "multiple". They have the same players play multiple positions so the offense doesn't know who to block in a given situation. Collins can play 4-3 MLB, 4-3 OLB, 3-4 ILB, and 3-4 OLB in the right looks. Some people will tell you he's a pass rusher but I don't think so. He's more of a blitzer. 

51. Alim McNeil, DT, NC State: In my evaluation of McNeil, his biggest weakness is his stamina. He doesn't play that many snaps for the Wolfpack. I'm not expecting him to play a ton in the NFL, at least not early on. Few players this big can keep going like Dontari Poe. But when McNeil is in there, he's a load and plays with great pad level. He gets low. 

68. Hamsah Nasirildeen, S, Florida State: Here's another multiple player. Nasirildeen is a natural SS but has the size to play 4-3 WLB, too. He's great sideline to sideline. 

69. Patrick Jones, DE, Pittsburgh: Jones isn't a multiple position player but has pretty much everything you would expect from a good but not great 4-3 DE. He's got pretty good size and looks like he can get bigger, pretty good burst, some flexibility, and decent hands. He doesn't have one skill that's going to immediately help him as a rookie but has a well balanced tool kit that with some refinements to his technique could end up a nice player in year 2 or 3. 

That draft would definitely provide a significant upgrade

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One thing about it, this draft is going to be hard. The missed seasons by some. The limited tape. Project type players not getting enough film to even get a look. A lot of gems are going to fall by the wayside I think, and it's extremely unfortunate. 

Is there a limit to undrafted players a team can sign? I assume there is, but the league needs to just open that up and let teams do their thing to find the talent that could be on the back end until things are back to normal at the collegiate level. There should be a way to address more opportunity, but I'm not sure the corporate side cares enough to find a way.

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I guess my issue is that we definitely have many weaknesses. Addressing DT with 2 of our first 3 picks seems odd with Grady and Davidson. You admit your pick 51 (McNeil) barely played in NC State and may not play much in the NFL. We literally have no RBs to speak of. I'm all about bolstering our D, but we need to address CB, EDGE, and saftieS with a cap S. Just my take

Edited by Mister pudding
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Really like it. Stouting up for sure. 

But... you said yourself you dont see Collins as a pass rusher more of a blitzer. I dont see him stepping over Jones or Foye for Alpha in the LB group.

Ive got to go one of the TCU safety at 36.

Im hearing alot about McNeil weakness of stamina including your eval? Im gonna pass.  Be prime time to take best RB at 51. 

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1 minute ago, autigerfan said:

I can't see us spending much in FA on a TE.  It is possible we bring back Stocker on a cheap deal. A cheap vet is the likely scenario.  

Yeah I don't see anyone like Smith from the Titans, but they have 2 others also free agents. I'm sure we'll see one or two guys come in that have already been in AS's system (someone like Swaim). I think the Titans have 3 UFA TEs and a RFA TE (who I want if he doesn’t get a decent match).

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5 minutes ago, celtiksage said:

Yeah I don't see anyone like Smith from the Titans, but they have 2 others also free agents. I'm sure we'll see one or two guys come in that have already been in AS's system (someone like Swaim). I think the Titans have 3 UFA TEs and a RFA TE (who I want if he doesn’t get a decent match).

Swaim would be a good pickup.

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Posted (edited)
2 hours ago, Fleurieu falcon said:

Like you said Zaven Collins has good versatility ,which would be an obvious asset. What i don't understand is why he is not rated in the same region as JOK. Is it just the school he attended?.

Fixing both lines needs to be a priority.

If you don’t know Collins and JOK are pretty different players. Collins is thought to be about 50 lbs bigger. JOK is closer to Hamsah. 

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2 hours ago, Mister pudding said:

I guess my issue is that we definitely have many weaknesses. Addressing DT with the 1st 3 picks seems odd with Grady and Davidson. You admit your pick 51 (McNeil) barely played in NC State and may not play much in the NFL. We literally have no RBs to speak of. I'm all about bolstering our D, but we need to address CB, EDGE, and saftieS with a cap S. Just my take

I’m not assuming anything productive with Davidson. If he turns it around, great, but I’m not ignoring any other players because he might redeem himself.

However you might have convinced me McNeill just isn’t going to play enough snaps on a good day to justify this pick. I guess I would prefer that type of player more in the 4th. 

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1 hour ago, OrthoPTSD said:

Really like it. Stouting up for sure. 

But... you said yourself you dont see Collins as a pass rusher more of a blitzer. I dont see him stepping over Jones or Foye for Alpha in the LB group.

Ive got to go one of the TCU safety at 36.

1. Collins profiles to be better in coverage than Foye. 
2. I’m assuming Pees runs some 4-LB sets. 
3. Foye may not be retained after 2021. I can only assume he can command a Devondre Campbell type deal in FA. 

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4 hours ago, Summerhill said:

If you don’t know Collins and JOK are pretty different players. Collins is thought to be about 50 lbs bigger. JOK is closer to Hamsah. 

I understand Collins is a DE/OLB type and JOK is a LB/S build. I just don't see why JOK is ranked around the 15-25 area and Collins is in the 25-35 region ,when he has been just as good a playmaker. My personal opinion. 

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5 hours ago, Fleurieu falcon said:

I understand Collins is a DE/OLB type and JOK is a LB/S build. I just don't see why JOK is ranked around the 15-25 area and Collins is in the 25-35 region ,when he has been just as good a playmaker. My personal opinion. 

I don’t know. People could think JOK is better, they could think it is more valuable to have a hybrid playmaker in the secondary than around the line of scrimmage, or as you say it could be Notre Dame bias. 

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16 hours ago, Exp said:

I would rather focus on the secondary more than the front 7. I think that's our biggest weakness. 

I couldn't agree more. It's our biggest weakness and kept getting worse each season. Time to address it!

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22 hours ago, Summerhill said:

The Washington Football Team has generally been one of the worst run teams in the NFL. But this past season they hired a proven NFL head coach who wasn't passed his prime and he made the most of some really good building blocks in the front half of that defense. Washington had one of the worst offenses in the NFL with some of the worst QB play and a secondary with a bunch of nobodies but their front 7 just punished opponents and they won 7 games with a point differential of +6 (ie more like a 9-win team). 

In order to get the Falcons back to respectability, I think they need a similar overhaul on the front 7 (or front "8") and just make every opponent work for it win or lose. 

I did a couple draft simulators this morning and finally got one to hit the way I wanted. I did a bunch of wheeling and dealing ending up with 5 picks in the first 3 rounds. 

19. Christian Barmore, DT, Alabama: People will tell you he is a half-year wonder but if he played like he did in that half year for 2-3 years he'd be a top 5 pick, so no risk no reward. Barmore is only 3 years out of high school, does not come from the south and 12-month football, and was buried behind future pro after future pro. It took him a minute to figure out what he was doing once he started playing. But once he did, he was just unblockable with an extremely active set of hands that was ripping and swimming past all blockers. PFF recently compared him to Gerald McCoy and I agree. 

35. Zaven Collins, LB, Tulsa: Most of the best defenses in the NFL can be described as "multiple". They have the same players play multiple positions so the offense doesn't know who to block in a given situation. Collins can play 4-3 MLB, 4-3 OLB, 3-4 ILB, and 3-4 OLB in the right looks. Some people will tell you he's a pass rusher but I don't think so. He's more of a blitzer. 

51. Alim McNeil, DT, NC State: In my evaluation of McNeil, his biggest weakness is his stamina. He doesn't play that many snaps for the Wolfpack. I'm not expecting him to play a ton in the NFL, at least not early on. Few players this big can keep going like Dontari Poe. But when McNeil is in there, he's a load and plays with great pad level. He gets low. 

68. Hamsah Nasirildeen, S, Florida State: Here's another multiple player. Nasirildeen is a natural SS but has the size to play 4-3 WLB, too. He's great sideline to sideline. 

69. Patrick Jones, DE, Pittsburgh: Jones isn't a multiple position player but has pretty much everything you would expect from a good but not great 4-3 DE. He's got pretty good size and looks like he can get bigger, pretty good burst, some flexibility, and decent hands. He doesn't have one skill that's going to immediately help him as a rookie but has a well balanced tool kit that with some refinements to his technique could end up a nice player in year 2 or 3. 

I don’t know if i would do all of this, but I definitely jive with that mindset. Especially like the Collins, McNeil, and Jones picks.
 

Naj Harris at 19 and I’m all in. 

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Here's what I went with:

Traded back with Det (picked up 7, 41, 154)

Traded back with WFT (19, 2022 1st/3rd)

Traded with NE to jump back into the 2nd (pick 46) with WFT's 1st/3rd

Atlanta Falcons

  • ATL
    19.
    Najee Harris
    RB Alabama
    trade icon
  • ATL
    35.
    Jaelan Phillips
    EDGE Miami (FL)
     
  • ATL
    41.
    Asante Samuel Jr.
    CB Florida State
    trade icon
  • ATL
    46.
    Alim McNeill
    DT North Carolina State
    trade icon
  • ATL
    68.
    Quinn Meinerz
    OC Wisconsin-Whitewater
     
  • ATL
    108.
    Kyle Trask
    QB Florida
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16 hours ago, Herr Doktor said:

speaking of FA, this is an article from the Falcoholic that speaks to a little of that.

 

Who from the NFL’s 101 free agents for 2021 make sense for the Falcons?

We’ve selected a few folks who might make sense.

By Cory Woodroof@CoryWoodroof47  Mar 2, 2021, 12:00pm EST 
 

Detroit Lions v Tennessee TitansPhoto by Frederick Breedon/Getty Images

It’s free agency month for the Atlanta Falcons, a first chance for the new guys on the block to show us what their vision is for the team. General manager Terry Fontenot spent years helping the cap-strapped New Orleans Saints make deal after deal in free agency, which makes you wonder if he’ll take the same approach in Atlanta.

While the team still is about $20 million over the cap, you should still expect the front office to get busy to help get this roster in competing shape sooner than later. Free agency, whether extensively pillaged or lightly threaded, is the start to that process.

NFL.com always has one of the best free agency lists where take the time to count out, in their opinion, the 101 most appealing candidates out there. While we don’t think the team will compete for the biggest fish on the list right now, there are names on there that make sense for the Falcons.

Let’s look at a few, shall we?

No. 27, TE Jonnu Smith

It’s entirely possible new Falcons head coach Arthur Smith might want to bring his Tennessee Titans touchdown machine Smith with him to Atlanta and field a formidable duo with Smith and Hayden Hurst. Smith will make a good salary on his next deal, and you can bet the Titans will do what they can to hold onto him.

The Falcons would be wise to invest at the position that plays such a huge role in what Smith does best, and signing Smith as its marquee free agent could free the team up in the draft to invest on the defense and at running back. The red zone production would skyrocket with a player like Smith for Matt Ryan to throw to on game day. It’s just a question of whether the contract would fit.

No. 31, DE Romeo Okwara

While there are some intriguing pass rushers on this list (Jadeveon Clowney, Bud Dupree, Carl Lawson, Matt Judon, Yannick Ngakoue), Okwara might be a nice blend of more affordable and even more potential. The list notes that he is coming off a breakout year in Detroit where he had 61 pressures, fifth-most in the league, per PFF.

Okwara is only 26 and won’t be the marquee name on this pass-rushing market. If the Falcons are willing to invest in his single-season production and his future, they could make him the lead option in their pass rush for 2021 and potentially beyond and part ways with Dante Fowler Jr. on a post-June 1 cut to help fit his deal under the cap going forward. Okwara could be a versatile piece for Dean Pees to unleash on opposing quarterbacks.

No. 33, S Marcus Maye

With Ricardo Allen officially released, the Falcons need a new free safety. Fontenot has struck gold in the past looking at New York Jets defenders like Saints linebacker Demario Davis; could he do it again with Maye?

Maye is a budding talent at the position who in a crowded safety market might not break the bank. The team could draft high to fill this vacancy on the roster just as easily as they could sign a stopgap veteran to a low deal. If they want veteran stability at the position, though, you could do much, much worse than signing Maye to a handsome deal.

No. 42, DE Justin Houston/No. 58 Denico Autry

If the Falcons want a defensive tonesetter who could also be a leader in the locker room, they could sign the former Georgia great Houston to help lead that internal change. He’s 32, but the Falcons need people who have proven experience trying to rush the passer.

If they could nab Houston on a two-year deal, maybe the Statesboro native would be interested in playing his later career years close to home? He’s still got enough juice to help.

Another Colt who might be more affordable would be Autry, who has been a gem for Indy since being signed away from then-Oakland. He could play either defensive end spot in Peas’ fronts.

No. 52, DE Melvin Ingram

The Falcons need to sign a veteran pass rusher in free agency, if that wasn’t obvious by the rest of the names on this list. Ingram, a South Carolina grad, could play in the 3-4 and 4-3 looks Peas wants to run and could be a steal at the right price if he wants to head back down South (he’s originally from North Carolina).

Versatility is going to be paramount for any pass rusher signed by the Falcons going ahead.

No. 65, NT DaQuan Jones

If there’s a player on this list that has a pretty darn good chance of landing in Atlanta, it’s Jones. The Titans nose tackle would give Atlanta exactly who it needs to anchor the 3-4 fronts that Peas is going to bring, having had two years of experience in his scheme in Tennessee. Jones seemed excited about Peas getting the Atlanta gig, so could we see a reunion? He and Arthur Smith go back, too, to note.

It’s a signing with obvious ties to the new regime and one we could very reasonably see happening at the right price. Jones would be a great addition who would have an impact immediately.

No. 75, DT Sheldon Rankins

Would Fontenot want to give the 2016 Saints first-round draft pick an opportunity for a fresh start? He’s had his ups and downs in New Orleans, but his pluses might be something to make the Falcons keep him in-division. If he’s healthy, he is an impact player.

He’d be an excellent running mate with Grady Jarrett in this defense on the inside if the team wants to add to a strength, with the pressure off Marlon Davidson to deliver huge production in his second year. He might come at a more affordable price, too, than some of his peers.

No. 77, TE Gerald Everett

If Jonnu Smith is too expensive for the Falcons, Everett would be a solid consolation prize. He might find more to do in Arthur Smith’s tight end-happy offense and return home to Atlanta — he went to high school in Decatur. He could find more of a role in the red zone with the Falcons than he was in Los Angeles and come at a better price than Jonnu Smith’s contract would.

 

Who would you take from this list

I would take NT DaQuan Jones and DE Justin Houston. I would also add to list NB/FS Desmond King. I’ve coveted all 3 of these players ever since they came out of college.

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