College football is very nearly done for the season, with just one more bowl game on the horizon. If you're a fan of the NFL, you've likely been enjoying bowl season with one eye on potential draft picks who could have a positive impact on the Falcons' weaknesses on both sides of the ball. Our own Alec Shirkey had a great two-part breakdown of draft prospects to keep an eye on, and fans surely kept an eye on players like Jadeveon Clowney, Anthony Barr and Khalil Mack--players who could be drafted sixth overall with the Falcons' first round pick, and could be immediate impact players for Atlanta.
What about the rest of the draft, though? There are seven rounds, and the Falcons have significant needs on both sides of the ball. Which college players have stood out to you throughout the 2013 season, as well as bowl games, as potential draft targets for the Falcons? Here are a handful that stood out to me.
OT Jack Mewhort - The Ohio State University
In the spirit of full disclosure, I should tell you that I have been an Ohio State fan my entire life, and I'm a homer. That said, I sincerely believe Jack Mewhort is a very solid offensive tackle prospect.
Mewhort has the flexibility Mike Smith tends to look for in offensive linemen, having played both guard positions, as well as left tackle. Mewhort has one arrest on his record for "obstructing official business," a misdemeanor, but he also is a team captain and a respected leader for the Buckeyes. His size--6'6", 308 pounds--is prototypical for a tackle in the NFL.
SB Nation's Mocking the Draft has Mewhort ranked11th among his peers at the tackle position. CBS Sports ranks Mewhort ninth among offensive tackles, and projects him to go in the second round. Mike Smith will have an opportunity to evaluate Mewhort at this year's Senior Bowl.
TE Arthur Lynch - University of Georgia
Now, you might be left with a bad taste in your mouth after Arthur Lynch dropped a crucial pass against Nebraska last week. Lynch, however, had a nice senior season at UGA, with 459 yards and five touchdowns on 30 receptions. He's also a decent blocker.
SB Nation's Mocking the Draft had Lynch ranked fourth at the position back in mid-November, and CBS Sports currently has him ranked fifth among tight ends. CBS is projecting Lynch to go in the third round.
OLB Denicos Allen - Michigan State University
The Falcons have significant need of depth at linebacker, and Denicos Allen is smaller than the average outside linebacker, which won't help his draft stock. Mike Nolan, however, likes quick, versatile defensive players, and Allen--who recorded 5.5 sacks this season--fits the bill, and should be a bargain on draft day.
FS Terrence Brooks - Florida State University
Brooks is one to keep an eye on in tomorrow's National Championship game. After Mike Nolan mentioned Thomas DeCoud by name in terms of defensive decline this season, it's reasonable to expect that DeCoud may not remain with the team for 2014. The Falcons did use two seventh-round picks on safeties last season, Zeke Motta, who is technically a strong safety but did see some playing time in DeCoud's stead, and Kemal Ishmael, a free safety who saw very limited playing time in 2013.
The Falcons probably won't want to invest a first or second round pick for Alabama safety Ha Ha Clinton Dix with so many other needs on both sides of the ball. Brooks is ranked 12th among all safeties by Mocking the Draft, and third among free safeties by CBS Sports. CBS projects Brooks to go in the third round.
What potential later round draft prospects have you been keeping an eye on this bowl season?