Atlanta Falcons Potential 1st Rd Draft Picks (2)

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.

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209 thoughts on “Atlanta Falcons Potential 1st Rd Draft Picks (2)

  1. JJ

    JJ’s Golden Ticket Mock Draft:
    1. Fowler Jr-DE, Alvin Duptrr-DE
    2. Demarious Randall-FS, Eric Rowe-S/CB
    3. Ali Marpet-OG, D. Johnson-RB
    4. Jay Ajayi-RB, Adrian Amos-FS
    5. Jamil Douglas-OG, Tyler Davidson-DT
    6. Zach Zenner-RB, Darrell Roberts-CB
    7. Antoine Everett-OL, Chad Hamilton-C
    7b. Smelter-WR(GT), Rakeem Roches-DT

    FINALFINALFINALFINAL- wait, can I change before midnight? :}

    Reply
  2. Paddy O

    well, without D3’s draft table, I was left using fanspeak – and for whatever reason, that free site would NOT let me select a DE. As stupid as that is.

    2015 Falcons Mock FINAL DRAFT

    RD 1 Shelton, DT option 2 Scherff
    RD 2 Tomlinson OT option 2 Shaq Thompson LB (S)
    RD 3 Williams TE option 2 Perryman LB
    RD 4 Cobb RB option 2 Hull OLB
    RD 5 Conley WR option 2 O Leary TE
    RD 6 Grissom OLB option 2 Eulls DT
    RD 7 Hackett S option 2 Jarrett SS
    RD 7 Herrera ILB option 2 Riddick DE

    this was a crapshoot.

    Reply
    1. Paddy O

      this came from fanspeak using cbssports; I really don’t think Williams will drop to the 3rd round; but he was there in the mock I did that day. If you need first names for some of these later round guys, let me know.

      Reply
    1. Paddy O

      I’m semi comfortable on the first 3 rounds but, using a device like fanspeak, your draft intentions quickly get away from you.

      Reply
  3. medallion

    Twas the night before Christmas …
    All the Falcons children had sent letters to Santa: “all I want for Christmas is a shiny new pass rusher”. The Falcons children were hopeful at first because they had heard Santa had lots of shiny new pass rushers.
    Then news began to spread that the shine had worn off some because of involvement with someone named Mary Jane.
    On top of that, word circulated that Saints children also wanted a shiny new pass rusher and the New Orleans Grinch (armed with something called lots of good draft picks) was determined to steal Christmas from Falcons children.
    Falcons dad Dimitroff responded to the news by saying to the Falcons children: “Don’t worry. I am sure you will get a shiny new pass rusher”. He then privately told his wife: “We won’t be able to buy any other gifts for the Falcons children and I hope they will be okay with another year of dieting since they got a shiny new toy”.

    Reply
  4. medallion

    Alternate ending:
    Falcons dad’s wife responded: “I think they are tired of dieting and would eventually like more gifts than just one shiny toy. Let the New Orleans Grinch use its draft picks to get a shiny toy and see what happens.”
    Santa Cleveland Brown had read his childrens’ letters also: “All I want for Christmas is a shiny QB and please don’t tell me the rehab guy is shiny again”.
    A Christmas miracle happened: Mariotta fell to the 8th spot and Santa Cleveland Brown offered picks 19, 43, and 77 in this year’s draft for #8 so long as the Falcons threw in the Falcons’ appeal rights to get back a 5th next year.

    Reply
  5. Seminole Warrior

    We are about 25 hours away from the Falcons being on the clock or having made their selection in the first round.

    As the clock ticks closer and closer, I am getting very nervous. I’m mindful of the 2011 draft. Four picks were exchanged, including a first rounder in 2012, to move up to the sixth position. While most of the returns from the player selected have been solid/very good when he is healthy, one must still ask the question – was he really worth it all? Other than that player, the MOST consistent element from that draft class was a sixth round pick, a punter.

    You do not contend for titles with that kind of mindset.

    For me, the MOST LOGICAL selections for the Falcons in this draft come down to my two main guys; Danny Shelton who they WILL NOT take, and Alvin “Bud” Dupree, whom they MUST select.

    A dominating , physical interior presence on defense can not be underestimated. Couple that with the other facets of his game and Shelton has the ability to become a premier anchor for the Atlanta defensive effort. 340 pounds of eating double teams, collapsing pockets, and disrupting rushing lanes will take ANY defensive unit to another level.

    Personally, I pray that Scott Pioli is the voice of reason in the room. Pioli understands what I am suggesting here. He saw the same thing in the 2012 draft when he took a “dynamic workout performance” from a Conference USA defensive second team all confernce player and turned it into a first round selection. Pioli had the foresight to take a chance on Dontari Poe and what a degree of foresight it was. A three year starter and two time Pro Bowler in his first three years in the league.

    I see similiar upside and similiar traits in Shelton. Have the guts to pull the trigger and change the character of the Atlanta defense from the inside out for the future. But it will not happen so my dreams will play out somewhere else with Shelton.

    LEO…LEO…LEO. Everyone is captivated with the LEO. I’m not among them. It will be a critical element of the defensive no doubt. But I do not think that for a “situational” pass rusher, you do not use the first pick in the draft to select him, especially in a class that is deep in such players.
    See, the LEO is often too small to be on the field continuously and in more cases than not, is not versatile enough to be an every down OLB. What the LEO does is give you an enhance pass rusher on the field at ALL times, not just in obvious pass rushing situations.

    In my humble opinion, Alvin Dupree is the premier “true” defensive end in this draft class. He can put that hand in the dirt and be a force. His only “mistake” if you want to call it that is he played for the University of Kentucky last season. Had he been at FSU, Notre Dame, Georgia, Alabama, Oklahoma, or the like, we would have been screaming his name LONG before the NFL combine.

    Simply put, I see Dupree as the second coming of the Predator, former Falcon John Abraham. A future defensive line of Dupree, Jarrett, Hageman, and Goodman would be a force for the second half of this decade. It could serve as the catalyst for a defensive revival in Atlanta the likes we have not seen in a VERY long time. Dupree is everything you want in a LEFT or RIGHT defensive end. He is the complete package at the DE position; a plug and play pass rusher as well as a force against the run.

    Dupree is not a gimmick or a “situational” solution. He is the REAL deal. The gimmick or “situation” can be filled later in the draft or with some of the compliments acquired in free agency (if you believe they can stay healthy…a hope I truly have). But if we want a TRUE pass rusher and a TRUE force against the run, central Georgia is ready to deliver for the Capital City in the form of Alvin “Bud” Dupree.

    Just a snip of the thoughts that are rolling through my head as the clock continue to tick away. This time tomorrow night, the Falcons will show us their hand finally. Are we ready?

    Reply
  6. Greg Mendel

    1. Bust
    2. Good
    3. Injured
    4. Good
    5. Diamond
    6. Bust
    7. Good
    8. Arrested
    9. Arrested
    10. Injured
    11. Diamond
    12. Montana resident

    Reply
  7. Buford Bob

    Buford Bob’s Final Mock 2015

    Primary Selections
    1st round: Vic Beasley (OLB/DE) Clemson
    2nd round: Marcus Peters (CB) Washington
    3rd round: Jay Ayaji (RB) BSU
    4th round: Tre McBride (WR) William & Mary
    5th round: Gabe Wright (DT) Auburn
    6th round: Mark Glowinski (OG) West Virginia
    7th round: Damien Wilson (ILB) Minnesota
    7th round: Tray Walker (CB) Texas Southern

    Secondary Selections
    1st round: Todd Gurley (RB) UGA
    2nd round: Henry Anderson (DE) Stanford
    3rd round: Ali Marpet (OG) Hobart
    4th round: Adrian Amos (S/CB) PSU
    5th round: Marcus Rush (DE/OLB) MSU
    6th round: Garry Peters (CB) Clemson
    7th round: Rory Anderson(TE) USC
    7th round: Darius Davis (WR) Henderson State

    Thanks Arno!

    Reply
  8. just "little ole" me

    After way to much over analyzing here is my (final mock) I will repost with more indepth info, just wanted to get the names in before the deadline!

    Primary/Secondary
    1st LB Dante Fowler Jr/ RB Todd Gurley
    2nd FS Damarious Randell/ DT Grady Jarrett
    3rd LB Paul Dawson/ WR Tyler Lockett
    4th CB D’Joun Smith/ LB Davis Tull
    5th OG Jamil Douglas/ OT Chaz Green
    6th WR Geremy Davis/ CB Tray Walker
    7th FB Aaron Ripkowski/ TE Rory Anderson
    7th CB Gary Peters/RB Terrell Watson

    4 defensive players selected

    Reply
  9. Flo-Ri-Duh

    Arno – Final is Final & I won’t be changing my mock. Only thing I was considering was Vic Beasley who I described as OLB when he would be a DE (Leo) in Falcons defense. Of course they could move him all over the place and at times he would be at LB. Some described him a (DE/OLB) & I thought we could only use one position? You opened a can of worms – I told you so. No big deal – the sun will still come up tomorrow.

    Dewey – Maxx Williams (TE) is the 81st best player on my board which would be round #3 based on talent. He will go earlier because 2015 is a bad year for TE’s but he is the best available. I would rather have the best MLB in this draft. TE can wait.

    Reply

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