2017 Atlanta Falcons Mock Draft
The Draft is only a few weeks away and excitement is at an all-time high for football fans everywhere. On April 27th, questions will begin to be answered for all 32 teams as new players are added to each team, respectively.
Of course, the only proper way to prepare for a draft is to try and predict who everyone will pick. Here’s a look at what the Atlanta Falcons draft could look like.
Round 1 – Pick 31: Trade to San Francisco
Kyle Shanahan has his work cut out for him taking over the 49ers. This will be his first draft as a head coach as well as John Lynch‘s first draft as a general manager. I expect some haisty decisions will be made.
Carolina will likely look to draft a receiver with the 32nd pick and San Francisco will trade up to 31 to pick Zay Jones, wide receiver out of ECU.
Round 2 – Pick 34 (From SF): T.J. Watt – OLB – Wisconsin
I know it’s a reach for T.J. Watt to fall this far but, stranger things have happened in previous drafts. Watt is the epitome of fast and physical. With Deion Jones and De’Vondre Campbell, T.J. Watt just seems like the perfect addition to that linebacker corps.
The younger brother of J.J. Watt made the switch from tight end to linebacker and has lived up to the name thus far.
Watt finished his senior season with 63 tackles (15.5 for loss), and 11.5 sacks for the Badgers. He put up some impressive numbers at the Combine as well.
T.J. Watt ran the 40 yard dash in 4.69 seconds and bench pressed 225 pounds 21 times. He also reached 37 inches in his vertical jump and 128 inches in his broad jump.
Round 2 – Pick 63: Ethan Pocic – Center – LSU
One of the biggest concerns heading into this draft is on the offensive line. Alex Mack, Ryan Schraeder, and Jake Matthews all sustained injuries late in the season and the lack of prodcutive depth became a glaring issue.
Ethan Pocic is a great pick for two reasons. Alex Mack is the best player on the offensive line for Atlanta but is already in his 30’s. Ethan Pocic could be the future for the Falcons at the center position.
Pocic also played a little bit at the guard position in his time in Baton Rouge. With the hole left at right guard, Pocic could compete for a starting position there or, at least, serve as a back up in his first few years.
At 6’7″ and 302 pounds, Pocic is already impressive but also impressed scouts with his Combine. Pocic ran the 40 yard dash in 5.15 seconds and bench pressed 225 pounds 26 times.
Pocic seems like just the kind of versatile player the Falcons need on the offensive line and woud be a steal at the 63rd pick.
Round 3 – Pick 95: Daeshon Hall – Defensive End – Texas A&M
While everyone is talking about Myles Garrett, people forget that he had a counterpart at Texas A&M that also made offensive coordinators lose sleep. Daeshon Hall may not have the numbers, or the attention, that Myles Garrett has, but he is an explosive defensive end that disrupts the passing game.
Hall played some outside linebacker in College Station but found success when he added some weight and transitioned to defensive end. In his four year career with Texas A&M, Hall racked up 158 tackles (35.5 for loss), 14 sacks, an interception, and four forced fumbles.
Hall has gotten bigger and stronger as time has passed and has shown potential to be a dominant force on the edge. Hall benched 225 pounds 18 times at the combine and ran the 40 yard dash in 4.76 seconds. He also recorded a 36 inch vertical jump and a 123 inch broad jump.
Daeshon Hall could be the partner Vic Beasley Jr. is looking for to help with the Falcons pass rush. Beasley led the league in sacks in 2016 and will definitely garner more double teams next season. The addition of Hall could help alleviate some of that pressure and boost the pass rush the Falcons have lacked for so long.
Round 4 – Pick 136: Damontae Kazee – Cornerback – San Diego State
Damontae Kazee started all four years at San Diego State and only got better with time. Kazee finished his junior year with 75 tackles (5.5 for loss), seven pass deflections, eight interceptions for 58 yards and a touchdown, and two forced fumbles.
Kazee lead the Mountain West Conference with his eight interceptions and was second in the NCAA. After earning the MWC Defensive Player of the Year award, Kazee contemplated entering the draft before deciding to return for his senior year. Plenty of athletes return after an explosive junior year only to have a mediocre senior year or an injury but that wasn’t the case for Kazee.
Damontae Kazee finished his senior year with 67 tackles (3 for loss), eight passes deflected, seven interceptions for 156 yards and a touchdown, and a forced fumble. Kazee lead the MWC in interceptions again his senior year and finished third in the NCAA.
Damontae Kazee also had a decent combine, running the 40 yard dash in 4.54 seconds and bench pressing 225 pounds 11 times. He also reached 34 inches on his vertical jump and 124 inches on his broad jump. What Kazee lacks in speed, he makes up for in playmaking ability. Kazee is a ball hawk and showed great ability to cutoff a route and make a play on the ball.
Atlanta does have some depth at the corner position but their star corner, Desmond Trufant, is coming off of pectoral surgery. The Falcons may have to rely a little more heavily on their younger corners this season if Trufant is limited in anyway. Damontae Kazee could be an explosive addition to the rotation at corner for Dan Quinn’s resurging defense.
Round 5 – Pick 174: Erik Magnuson – Offensive Tackle – Michigan
Erik Magnuson is one of those special offensive lineman that can rotate between guard and tackle. Magnuson started his career with Michigan as both a left and right guard before transitioning to right tackle. Magnuson earned a third team all conference selection in 2015 and first team all conference in 2016.
Standing 6’6″ tall and weighing 305 pounds, Magnuson would only be smaller than Ryan Schraeder; only by an inch. Magnuson would be a good addition to add depth at the tackle position. His ability to work the guard position as well makes him even more valuable to the Falcons.
With the only hole needing filled on the line being the right guard position, this will more than likely be simply a depth pick. Magnuson could have a shot at earning the right guard spot but it’s more likely for him to become a backup. Should an injury situation sideline one of the starters, the Falcons would benefit from having a versatile player like Magnuson to fill holes.
Round 7 – Pick 249: Johnathan “Rudy” Ford – Safety – Auburn
Keanu Neal took everyone by surprise with how well he played his rookie season with Atlanta. Opposite of Neal, Ricardo Allen looks to be improving as the starting free safety but it wouldn’t hurt to add some depth.
Johnathan “Rudy” Ford is a running back who found success transitioning into a safety. Ford instantly became a force for the Tiger defense and, in his junior year, finished with 118 tackles (three for loss), a sack, two pass deflections, two interceptions for 48 yards and a touchdown, and two forced fumbles.
In Ford’s senior year, he was used more in coverage and, while his tackles went down, his pass deflections went up. Ford finished 2016 with 64 tackles (5.5 for loss), seven pass deflections, and a fumble recovery.
While he only performed the bench press drill at the Combine, he did an impressive 20 reps which was the most by any safety at the Combine. At 5’11” and 205 pounds, Ford ran the 40 yard dash in 4.40 seconds at his pro day. Not only does Ford have the speed, he’s known for being a hard hitter as well.
Quinn’s ideal defense is one that is full of fast and physical players and, so far it seems to be working for him. The addition of a speedy, hard hitting safety like Johnathan Ford would be a great addition.