With that painful loss we sadly move into draft season. Heres a little mock offseason/draft.
- Gonzo - Retired :(
- McClure - Retired
- Grimes - Signs with a CB needy team with big bucks to spend( Tampa, Indy, Jax, Cleveland, etc.)
- Turner - Cut
- P. Jerry - Cut
- Willy Mo(Maybe on the tag so he can prove he can play a healthy season)
- Bobby Mac
- Swagger Vance
Now I don't expect much in free agency as we won't have much room to spend after resigning guys but I could see us making a play for some vets that want to come home to try chase a ring. Both these guys have Atlanta connections and I am sure would love the chance to play on a winner.
- Richard Seymour - Replaces Jerry. Versatile DL that does everything well. He is getting older and has had some recent injure trouble but still produces at a very high rate when healthy. Big upgrade from Jerry.
- Daryl Smith - Very good LB that Smitty is familiar with from their Jax days. Potential starter at worst very good depth.
This was mostly ment as a mock draft, I only included the other stuff as reasonable moves that would set up team needs for the draft. I think we should be able to make all these moves while staying under the cap.
Now onto the draft:
First Round(30th): Chase Thomas, OLB, Standford.
Probably my favorite non Jarvis Jones player in the draft. Highly under rated prospect that has very few flaws in his game. While he may not be the freak athlete of a Ziggy Ansah or a Barkevious Mingo he is a much better football player. He has great array of pass rush moves that he uses well, can drop and play coverage(though he needs some work on this) and plays the run very well. Not sure exactly where he fits but after seeing what Nolan did with Biermann this year I am sure he will find a way to get the most out of this guy. Could see him being used similar to the way Denver uses Von Miller.
Second Round(60th): Markus Wheaton, WR, Oregon State
Now I know Roddy and Julio are awesome and Harry is solid(mind boggling stumble notwithstanding) but we really have no depth at the position. Plus with Tony retiring I think we replace his targets with more slot receiver targets kinda how the Packers phased Finley out and Cobb in. Wheaton is a solid route runner with blazing speed who also catches with his hands, which seem to be quite reliable. My only worry with this pick is that he could blow up the 40 with his 4.3 speed and shoot up draft boards.
3rd round(92nd): Levine Toilolo, TE, Standford
Starting to get a little Pac 12 heavy but I love this guy. At 6'7 265 he reminds me of Jimmy Graham. I think he made a mistake coming out early as he would have been the man with Ertz and Fleener gone and could have worked his way into 1st/2nd round potential in next years draft but oh well, we get good value a year early. He isn't as polished as Ertz or Fleener but is a big guy that can move and probably has a higher ceiling. Really like this kids potential.
Round 4: Shamarko Thomas, SS, Syracuse
Moore and DeCoud are a fine pairing, again playoffs nowithstanding, but we have little depth and Willy Mo sadly isn't always ready as he is dinged up much more than you would like. Shamarko reminds me of Bob Sanders and has a ceiling that is Bob Sanders in his prime. Who wouldn't want that? He is 5'8" 212 with 4.3 speed and is a tackling machine. Biggest worry is that he blows up the combine and shoots up boards. As it stands right now I haven't seen him any higher than the 5th round on most internet ranking places.
Round 4(Lofton Comp): Quanterus Smith, DE/OLB, Western Kentucky
Pretty sure we will get a 4th for Lofton so I am gonna go with it. Smith is a guy who has 1st or 2nd round talent but tore his ACL late in the year. The back end of the 4th seems like good value and works out well for the Falcons because I think we are gonna have trouble finding roster spots for all our picks. This gives him a redshirt year to get healthy and frees up a roster spot for a guy like Matthews, Massaquoi or Travian to stick around.
5th Round: Michael Dyer, RB, Used to play for Auburn
I feel this is the year we can take a late round flyer on a guy with character question marks. This kid is one of the most talented RBs in the draft and at 5'9 210 reminds me a little of Ray Rice. I know some think the RB needs to be adressed sooner but I have a lot of faith that quizz can tote it 220-250 times with the other 100-150 carries being split with Snell and Dyer. I am putting a lot of faith in Quizz and a guy who hasn't played football since 2011 but I really don't like any of the FA RBs or the RBs in the draft.
6th round: Josh Johnson, CB, Purdue
We need some youth at the position and Johnson has solid size and has been a 3 year starter.
7th round: Jack Doyle, TE, Western Kentucky
Going back to Western Kentucky! Really don't know much about this guy but at this point it is a crap shoot. TE is a need , this guy has decent size and has caught over 100 balls the past two years.