Atlanta Falcons Potential 1st Rd Draft Picks

Draft Less than Two Weeks Away

Fowler Likely to Be Gone


***Introducing Cage Member Just Little Ol’ Me — JLOM ((Mike Chastain)), Joining The Cage Writing Team***

With the NFL Draft coming soon excitement is growing for the possibilities of what the future holds.  What players will the Falcons draft?  Will the guy you REALLY want be a Falcon on Monday May 4th?  Let’s look at the First Round possibilities.

What the experts are saying.   “Pass Rusher Pass Rusher Pass Rusher”

Many of the experts have us drafting a Pass Rusher with the 8th pick.  The Falcons were sack poor last season ranking 30th in the league with 22 sacks.  The Buffalo Bills lead the league with 54 sacks.  To keep the sack stat in perspective the top five teams with the highest sack totals in order were the Bills, Ravens, Eagles, Giants, and Chiefs.  The only team from that list to make the playoffs was the Ravens.  The team with the lowest sack total was the Bengals with 20.  They made the playoffs.  The Super Bowls champion Patriots were tied for 13th with 40 sacks on the season.  Sacks are a very exciting part of the game, but the stats show that sack totals do not guarantee a playoff spot.

The Pass Rusher Prospects:

Dante Fowler Jr  6’ 3”  261lbs  He is considered by many to be the most versatile pass rusher in the draft.  He is very good at getting into the backfield quickly from any position on the field.  He lined up at DT, DE, as well as all the Linebacker positions during his time at Florida.  Coach Quinn was his Defensive Coordinator at Florida before moving on to the NFL.  The biggest knock on Fowler is that his tackling needs to be greatly improved.

Vic Beasley  6’ 3” 245lbs  He was the best looking Pass Rusher at the NFL combine posting a 4.53 40 time and pumping out 35 reps on the bench.  He would be best utilized in a role similar to what Clay Matthews plays as an OLB in Green Bay.  While Beasley is great as a pass rusher, 13 sacks and 23 TFLs in 2014, he needs to vastly improve his run defense.  According to the “experts” he does not have the size to set the edge as a Defensive End.

Bud Dupree a Popular Pick

Bud Dupree  6’ 4”  269lbs  He played with his hand in the dirt at DE and standing up as an OLB.  He played in coverage as well as a pass rusher while at Kentucky.  He has the speed to cover TEs and the size to set the edge and stop the run in the NFL.  Charles Davis listed Dupree as a player who will be a better pro than college player.  He needs to do a better job of disengaging from blockers as that was an aspect of his game that he struggled with at the college level.  There is much speculation of how many sacks he would have recorded if he was allowed to rush the Quarterback on every down.

Randy Gregory  6‘ 5”  235lbs  Many experts see him as the pass rusher with the most upside and the best pure pass rusher in the draft.  He is raw but has good length and agility when getting to the QB.  Projects to be more of a 3-4 OLB than the 4-3 DE he played at Nebraska.  Gregory struggled with a knee injury in 2014.  Randy also had a positive drug test at the NFL combine which would have gotten him removed from the Falcons draft board in the past.  He has the potential to become a fear pass rusher in the NFL, but needs to polish his game.

Would Falcons Go to Mizzou Well Again?

Shane Ray  6’ 3”  245lbs  The SEC’s Defensive Player of the Year is slowly falling behind the previously 4 mentioned Pass Rushers.  The one year starter has been dealing with a foot injury that kept him out of the NFL Combine.  When he did perform at Missouri Pro Day he did not test as well as Vic Beasley who is the same size.  The game tape shows that he has a quick first step, an effective swim move, and is fluid in changing direction when adjusting to the movement of the ball.  A major concern for Ray is that he has a thin lower body and lacks the ability to add weight.

Leonard Williams  6’ 5”  302lbs  He is not a true pass rusher, but a DT that is very adept at putting pressure on the QB.  Many experts think he is the best player in the draft.  He has been mocked by some as falling to the Falcons at 8.  He would be a welcome addition, but the probability of him falling that far in the draft is very unlikely.  He played in the DT and DE positions while at USC.  He is expected to be a player similar to JJ Watt in the NFL with his ability to move up and down the defensive line.

If Atlanta does not take a pass rusher with the 8th pick here is a list, in no particular order, of some other options later in the draft.

Mario Edwards  6’ 3” 279lbs  FSU (has athleticism, agility, and instincts to be successful in NFL)

Prestion Smith  6’ 5”  271lbs  Mississippi State (quick off the edge)

Nate Orchard  6’ 3”  252lbs  Utah (18.5 sacks in 2014)

Hau’oli Kikaha  6’ 3”  246lbs Washington State (19 sacks in 2014, uses his hands better than any pass rusher in the draft)

Owamagbe Odighizuwa  6’ 3”  270lbs  UCLA (expected to be drafted in the bottom of the 1st round)

Ray Drew  6’ 4”  284lbs  UGA (had 6 sacks in 2014, NFL size, considered a work in progress)

Davis Tull  6’ 2”  246lbs  UT-Chattanooga (10.5 sacks in 2014, intriguing prospect with great athleticism, played 2014 season with torn labrum, has a 42.5” vertical and 4.57 40)

Eli Harold  6’ 3”  247lbs Virginia (2 year starter with 17.5 career sacks)

Kyle Emanuel 6’ 3” 255lbs North Dakota State (41 career sacks, average a sack every 8.9 passing attempts his senior year)

If not a Pass Rusher then what position?  There are four other positions were the team has a need and could surprise some people by using the 8th pick to select.  Those positions are Cornerback, Receiver, Running Back, and Offensive Line.

The NFL has become a pass heavy league and increased the importance for teams to have more than two quality corners on their roster.  Currently Atlanta has Trufant and Alford.  Coach Quinn had long corners in Seattle and I expect that he will be looking for some long corners to man the field in Atlanta.

Trae Waynes from Michigan State is arguably the best corner to come out of the college ranks in the past two years.  Many fans remember Atlanta drafting DE J. Anderson in the 8th spot when Darrell Revis was still on the board in 2007.

Hard to Imagine Falcons Going with a WR

Why would Atlanta draft a Wide Receiver with the 8th selection when the team has other needs?  As previously stated the NFL is a passing league.  The Falcons currently have an aging Roddy White, an often injured Julio Jones, an unproven Leonard Hankerson, an aging Devon Hester who had decent production last year, and special teamer Eric Weems.  Atlanta could potentially take any of the following three wideouts at number 8 if they are still on the board.  Kevin White out of West Virginia is regarded as the receiver with the most upside and sits on the top of most draft boards at his position.  Amari Cooper from Alabama is considered to be the most polished pro ready receiver in the draft.  Devonte Parker, who is comparable to AJ Green because of his leaner than ideal frame, missed the first seven games of the 2014 season with a foot injury.  Parker came on strong in the second half of the season and put up great numbers.  It would be interesting to know where he would be in the receiver conversation if he would have been healthy all season long.  The Falcons already have a receiver with foot injury issues.

This year’s Running Back class is loaded with talent, but that might not stop Atlanta from taking a Running Back with the 8th pick in the draft.  Todd Gurley who many Atlanta fans know very well is considered by many experts as being the best Running Back to come out of college since Adrian Peterson.  He has been compared to Marshawn Lynch of the Seattle Seahawks.  The red flag on Gurley is his injury history, not being able to stay on the field for a full season the last two years, and the extent of his current knee injury that was sustained this past season.  Even not knowing how Gurley will perform after recovering from the knee injury experts still talk about him being worthy of a top ten pick.  Melvin Gordon is the other top Running Back in the draft.  Most experts compare him to Jamal Charles of the Kansas City Chiefs because he has a similar skill set.  He is only about 10lbs lighter than Gurley, but is not considered to be as good as an inside runner, pass blocker, or reciever as Gurley is.  Kyle Shannahan likes between the tackle runners and while Coach Quinn has stated that he believes Devonta Freeman can be the starting every down back it is yet to be proven.  If you do not have multiple horses in the stable, then one injury can ruin your running game!

Would Falcons Double-Dip @ OT 2 Years in a Row

Atlanta’s offensive line has lots of questions to answer before the start of the new season.  With the release of Justin Blalock there is a vacancy at Left Guard, Center needs to be addressed, and Right Tackle is still a question mark.  On the NFL network’s Path to the Draft show they listed Ryan Schraeder as our starting Right Tackle on their depth chart.  There has been talk about the possibility of Atlanta selecting Brandon Scherff with the 8th pick.  He played Tackle at Iowa, but he projects to be a better Guard in the NFL.  The experts compare him to Zack Martin who played Tackle for Notre Dame and was drafted by the Cowboys to play Guard, which he did well.  But, the experts are also quick to point out that they believe that Martin was a better player coming out of college than Scherff.  The main issue they have is that Martin did not miss blocks and that Scherff is known to have missed blocking assignments in games.  Another option would be to draft La’el Collins out of LSU to play Right Tackle or Guard.  He did spend some time at Left Guard at the Senior Bowl and looked good in that position.  He has long arms and quick feet.  He does a good job of staying square with the defender in pass protection.  Some consider him to be the best Tackle in the draft, but he does not seem to get as much talk as some of the other Tackles available.   The knock on Collins is that he can be over aggressive which leads to mistakes.  He did have 65 pancakes his sophomore year and then again this past season.  This pick might be a reach at number 8, but one never knows how the draft may fall out.

Any Chance for a DT in @ #8?

These are not the only options available to the Falcons at pick number 8th.  They could go Safety and take Landon Collins out of Alabama, but he is known more as a hitter than a cover guy and projects as a Strong Safety in the NFL.  They could choose to draft a big Defensive Tackle like Danny Shelton out of Washington.  He played every down for Washington this past year and has the ability to wear down Offensive linemen, but his stock dropped some after being handled by Ali Marpet and Laken Tomlinson during Senior Bowl practices.  Atlanta could choose to trade back and acquire more draft picks to help fill the various needs that the new coaching staff’s scheme requires.  This year’s draft has depth in a number of areas of need for the Falcons.  Who do you want them to draft at 8?  How far do you think Atlanta could trade back in the first and still get a day one starter that will fill a need.

281 thoughts on “Atlanta Falcons Potential 1st Rd Draft Picks

  1. The Time is NOW

    The Cage Annual Mock Competition – 2015 (Final)

    OK Cage, here are my blind-folded dart throws. (I based availability on the Draftek Big Board.)

    Round 1 – Primary: Vic Beasley (LB) Secondary: Bud DuPree (DE)

    Round 2 – Primary: Eric Rowe (CB/FS) Secondary: Benardick McKinney (LB)
    Thinking we can get a starting FS here. If Byron Jones were still available, he would be the choice. P. J. Williams is also a possibility. I would not complain if we took (OT) D. J. Humphries or (DT) Grady Jarrett here.

    Round 3 – Primary: Tre McBride (WR) Secondary: Cody Prewitt (FS)
    Had to pick my home boy and it doesn’t look like he’ll last past the 3rd. Tyler Lockett would also be a good WR choice here.

    Round 4 – Primary: Buck Allen (RB) Secondary: Austin Shepherd (OG/OT)

    Mike Davis is my back-up RB at this spot. (DT) Marcus Hardison could also fit here.

    Round 5 – Primary: Shaq Mason (OG) Secondary: Mitch Morse (OG/OT)
    Didn’t intend to wait this long to find a starting LG, but this seemed the obvious spot to me when I looked at the big picture. Jamil Douglas (OG) should also still be on the board here. I would not object to (DT) Xavier Williams here, either.

    Round 6 – Primary: Chaz Green (OT) Secondary: Zach Zenner (RB)

    Round 7a – Primary: Darius Philon (DT) Secondary: Malcolm Brown (RB)

    Round 7b – Primary: Mario Alford (WR) Secondary: Tyeler Davison (DT)

    Tie-breaker: 5 defense, 3 offense

    Priority UDFA’s:
    Mark Glowinski (OG), Tyrus Thompson (OT), Tayo Fabuluje (OG/OG), Jarvis Harrison (OG), J. J. Nelson (WR), Quayshawnee Buckley (DT)

  2. Grits Blitz

    For those who are hoping TD will NOT trade up this year and since defense is the major priority, they haven’t interviewed/had visit the top consensus defensive player in the draft – Big Cat Williams! (Disclaimer: If they DID interview/had him visit, I musta been on the phone with Roger that day.)
    (It would almost be a sacrilege to even consider trading up for any other player. Surely, by now, DQ has already made his mind up about trading up, down, or staying put so, IMO, only a very advantageous trade offer can intervene to drastically change the landscape.)

  3. Dewey

    According to falcfans, we met with Williams on USC campus on 4/17. Haven’t had him in for a private session though.

  4. marko

    With the 8th pick of the 2015 draft, the Atlanta Falcons select Alvin “Bud” Dupree. There are three edge rushers I’d find acceptable at eight . Fowler, Beasley and Dupree. If all are gone, trade back, or take the consolation prize.

    Second choice. Todd Gurley. It looks as though he’ll be good to go when the season starts. Anyway I’d rather take the best running back of the past decade, than the 4th or 5th rated edge rusher. Randy Gregory would’ve been a nice option. Damned shame that he forgot to ask the wizard for a brain.

    With the 42nd pick, we scoop up Wisconsin’s Max Williams. He was slower than most people expected, and he supposedly rubbed a few people the wrong way in his interviews. So what? He plays faster than he runs, and there’s a new sheriff out at the Branch. We’re going to celebrate the individual. Cocky ain’t a crime. Just back it up.

    Second choice, DT Grady Jarret. If Grady was a little bigger, He’d be long gone by now. He has a real knack for creating havoc in the backfield.

    Pick 73, Cedric Ogbuehi. Jake reunites with his former teammate. He’s listed as An OT, But he has extensive experience playing guard. He was considered a likely 1st rounder before tearing up his ACL. Like Gurley, he has a clean bill of health. He’ll be good to go when the bell rings.

    2nd choice, Not really A second choice. Ali Marpet. The only reason I’m going with Ogbuehi is that ,of the two, he’s the more versatile. He can play both guard and tackle. Marpet’s strictly an interior guy.

    Is it day three already? The Falcons use the 107th pick the select Tennessee Chattanooga OLB Davis Tull. The Falcons worked him out at the Branch. He’s a little short, small school, but he could be a steal coming off the edge. He ran a 4.57 forty on his pro day, with a tight hamstring no less. He’s been laser timed In the low 4.4’s Never ever takes a play off. Definitely strikes me as a DQ kinda guy.

    2nd choice Josh Shaw CB Southern Cal. I’d read early on that the Falcons were interested in Shaw. Since then, I’ve not been able to confirm the report. Confirmed interest or no, he’d be a steal in the 4th round.

    Pick 146, assuming we didn’t draft Gurley at 8, we’re still in the market for a running back. I still like Zach Zenner. Strong , fast and super team guy. In a perfect world, we land our edge rusher with our 1st pick, and look for a guy to complement Freeman later in the draft. I consider Zach a hell of a complement.

    2nd choice, Anthony Chickillo, DE Miami. Dimitroff always picks a player from the U. which one? Damned if I know. Chickillo’s a member of the underrated club. Seems as good a guess as any.

    185, Nick Marshall, CB/FS Auburn. The cow college QB has a bright future as a DB. Getting drafted by Quinn’s the best thing that ever happened to him.

    225 Mario Alford WR west Virginia. The Falcons have worked out several quick under sized receivers. Honestly I don’t get it. But with that much smoke there must be a fire somewhere.

    2nd choice, Ellis McCarthy DT UCLA. No known links to the Falcons, but he looks too good to pass on this late in the draft.

    Pick 249, Aaron Ripkowski, FB Oklahoma. I strongly suspect Aaron can exceed any Pumped or jacked standards DQ request. If you want to get serious with the running game, consider getting a serious full back.

    2nd choice Corey Grant RB Auburn. No serious college production, but the guy runs 4.2’s. I have to believe Quinn could figure out what’s special about Corey.

  5. Mike In Minnesota


    1st Vic Beasley from Oakland 4th overall pick 1st Brandon Scheff
    2nd Denzel Perryman 2nd Maxx Williams
    3rd to Oakland + 2016 round 3 value OAK 1800 ATL 1815 3rd Preston Smith
    4th Henry Anderson 4th Ramik Wilson
    5th Chris Conley 5th Jalston Flower
    6th Akeem King 6th Akeem King
    7th Blake Sims 7th Blake Sims
    8th ? 8th ?

    Heading to London and the Cornish coast…will watch with anticipation from afar.

  6. Flo-Ri-Duh

    Thursday 30th – 7:00 PM-1st Round
    Friday May 1st – 6 PM – 2nd-3rd Round
    Saturday May 2nd – 11:00 AM – 4th-7th Round

      1. Arno

        MiM– Sorry, not sure what you’re after. I shifted some over to secondary, but please tell me again how to post your primary picks.

  7. marko

    8, 1st. Alvin Dupree, 2nd Todd Gurley

    42, 1st Max Williams, 2nd Grady Jarrett

    73, 1st Cedric Ogbuehi, 2nd Ali Marpet

    107, 1st Davis Tull, 2nd Josh Shaw

    145, 1st, Zach Zenner, 2nd Anthony Chickillo

    185, 1st Austin Shepardard, 2nd Mario Alford

    225, 1st Nick Marshall, 2nd Ellis McCarthy

    249, 1st Aaron Ripkowski, 2nd Corey Grant

  8. Greg Mendel

    I’m dazed and confused. Pretty much as normal. I’ll feel better when “some guy from Montana” shows up in the mocks.

    JB and I are holding out for Cha-Cha Shirley Muldowney for something.

      1. ajarnbangkapi

        Hey, Time – another Zack!! I had two in one of my official mocks, if I saw it I would have tossed in a 3rd. My Zacktastic mock.

        Hope this posts, my last big one didn’t

  9. JB FalconGary

    I was moving right along last night trying to help everyone who was having the old posts show up because my computer/wordpress was working fine. I usually leave my computer on for days at a time but had to restart it today. Guess what? I’m getting the posts from two days ago.
    I agree with D3. It’s gotta be something within wordpress. I went to the wordpress help site and found out that they do seem to have a lot of issues overall but, I understand it is free so I’ll carry on.
    Makes me wonder where this post will end up, if at all!

  10. JB Falcon

    Okay Ya’ll, maybe this will help. As per my last post, I was getting the old posts. When I posted it, right under my post, wordpress was requesting my e-mail address and name, again. Up to this point, wordpress has kept me logged in. Anyway, I re-logged in and when my post came up the old posts were not there. So, look up in the top right corner of your screen and see if you see your avatar. If not, you need to log in. My login e-mail and name are still showing up below this post as I type but they are already filled in. Hope this helps!

      1. JB Falcon

        Did three lines appear under your post when you answered? They appeared on mine just as I clicked reply. That’s where I had to re-log in from.
        When I filled them our and I hit post, it took me to a login screen where I had to re-enter my e-mail address and password and then back to the cage with the old posts gone.
        The three lines are still down there as I type and they didn’t used to be, or I ignored them. Anyway they are pre-filled in so I’m fixing to hit post comment. Maybe wordpress had to re-boot or something or had added this as “new and improved.”

  11. just "little ole" me

    I have been working on finishing up my draft prospect list and came across a WR from South Carolina. I had a hard time finding much information on him, probably because of his size 5’7″ 165lbs. I am going to say that I love this kids hands! He did not have a dropped pass all season long. And when he got trashed by a UGA Safety after catching the ball he held on to it. Check out the video below. Did I mention that he ran a 4.38 40 time?

  12. Dewey

    2015 mock-FINAL
    Would just like to state, before I post, that this is not who I’d like the Falcons to draft. I picked these players off the most recent known visits list from falcfans. I’m not trying to win the contest, just trying to not have as much of a let down when the Falcons actually choose their players. The projected round was taken from ourlads, and all players chosen were known to have had some type of contact with the Falcons.

    Round#1-Bud DuPree, DE, alternate-Vic Beasley, OLB
    Round#2-Sammie Coates, WR, alternate-TJ Clemmings, OT
    Round#3-Stephone Anthony, MLB, alternate-Eric Rowe, S
    Round#4-Duke Johnson, RB, alternate-Anthony Chickillo, DE
    Round#5-BJ Finney, C, alternate-Devin Gardner, WR
    Round#6-Nick Marshal, CB, alternate-Devin Tull, DE
    Round#7-Wes Saxton, TE, alternate-John Crockett, RB
    Round#7-Aaron Ripkowski, FB, alternate-Amarlo Herrera LB

    # of defensive players-5

  13. Flo-Ri-Duh

    Arno (4/25 @ 6:52 pm) – I need clarification to explain your clarification. What does interchangeably mean? Example please. Thank you.
    7a primary
    7a secondary

    7b primary
    7b secondary

    1. Arno

      Couple of examples. If you pick a guy 7a primary, and they select him at 7b primary, you still get 10 points. If you pick a guy 7b secondary, and they select him 7a secondary, you still get 5 points.

  14. marko

    If the Falcons were to draft Todd Gurley, Shane Ray, or Randy Gregory, I’d prefer they not do it with the 8th overall pick. It would look like a good time to trade back a little. One Possible partner could be Cleveland at 12. They’re said to be in the market for a wide receiver. Amari Cooper, or Kevin White could be on the board at eight. However, neither is likely to last 12 picks. Our pick is worth 1400 points. Cleveland’s 1200, or a difference of 200 points. Cleveland’s third round pick’s worth 205 points. Damned near a perfect trade. We could do a lot with that pick.

    Of course I’d prefer Fowler, Dupree, or Beasley falling to us, but if that’s not in the cards, I’m looking for a willing trade partner. Another nice thing about the 12th pick, it’s one pick ahead of the pond scum at 13.

  15. marko

    Arno, it seems that I over looked the tie breaker. Let’ say even split 4/4. I think the Birds consider improving the pass rush, and establishing the running game, more or less equally important. I suspect their picks to reflect that. By the way, thank you very much.

    1. Arno

      Got it. I think they’ll spend their top picks on D, but weigh the later rounds toward O. Looking forward to the big reveal.

  16. just "little ole" me

    I know a number of you would like to have TE Clive Walford out of Mia and this may just be smoke and mirrors, but a sports talk show host out of Houston has been quoted saying that Walford turned just about everybody off w/ his attitude at the combine and in individual meetings. I take it with a grain of salt, but if it is true he is not a guy I want in my locker room.

  17. Grits Blitz

    Dewey – Thanks for the update on our scouts/whoever meeting with Big Cat near his digs. (Did not get that memo so much obliged!)
    As for your final mock, my man, you rock. Believe we could all pop the bubbly on that one! Super job!!!
    That one should even make TD look over his shoulder and consider job insecurity!

  18. medallion

    Some mocks now have Dupree and, of course, Fowler gone before #8, but Beasley or Cooper or White and all the top OL still available at #8. I have previously written I would take Beasley at #8 if he fell to #8 because I think he will be a great OLB (barring injury), but am having second thoughts since he is too light to play LEO (except on obvious passing downs) and we do have lots of LBs (including 3 free agent signees, developmental Starr, and hopefully a still speedy Spruill coming off his injury adding to returning group).
    Some mocks now also have arguably the best 3 FS in the draft (Jones, Randall, and Rowe) gone before our pick #42.
    Options for drafting a LEO at #42 aren’t real appealing to me, but Preston Smith (MS State) might be available at #42 and would almost certainly beat out Maponga for a roster spot as a rotational LEO.
    Without draft trades, rounds 1 and 2 could be offensive players (in 1st, OL or WR and, in 2nd, RB, OL, or WR – without duplicating position of 1st round pick).


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