We can post as many mock drafts as we want, but the truth is we really don't know who the Falcons are going to select with their picks this year. We can, however, take a closer look at some recent drafts to enlighten us a bit on what to expect this time around. Here's what I (along with the help of some other guys) have come up with:
1) The Falcons will draft stand-up guys. As well all should know by now, The Comrade doesn't like to dabble with the less reputable athletes coming out of college. The Falcons have consistently selected hardworking individuals with solid leadership skills, something Scott Carasik has researched thoroughly.
2) No Big Ten players allowed.
Here's a fun stat. TD has made 32 picks. Of those picks, he's dipped into 10 conferences, yet he's never drafted a player from the Big 10.— Jay Adams (@FalconsJAdams) April 18, 2012
Jay pointed this out recently, a fact I hadn't realized yet honestly. 2007 was the last time Atlanta took a player from the Big 10, when they drafted Doug Datish out of Ohio State. You can never rule anything out, but don't get your hopes up if you're a fan from this conference.
3) They will take a player from the SEC, bank on it. TD has drafted nine players from the SEC in four years, with at least one in each draft class. Last season the Falcons added three rookies from the best conference in college football (I think most are in agreement with that statement).
2009 was the only draft class that didn't include multiple players from the SEC, as Peria Jerry stood alone. I think it's safe to say we'll see this trend continue in 2012.
4) We will likely see a player from the ACC, Big 12, or Pac 12 land in Atlanta. These conferences have sent five players each to the Falcons since 2008. The ACC and Big 12 have made appearances in three out of four draft classes, and the Pac 12 finishes right behind with two.
This is a rather broad prediction since it's easy to say, "Hey, the Falcons will take players from big conferences." Just figured I'd throw it out there, though.
5) FCS schools are typically in the mix. Our Comrade has picked a player from an FCS school in three of the last four drafts, with 2011 being the missing link. Biermann and Schillinger were taken out of Montana in 2008 and 2010 respectively, so maybe he likes to draft Grizzlies on even-numbered years.
The Falcons keep their draft board a secret, but at least we're aware of a few recurring trends we can likely expect to continue next week.