Mocking The Draft gives the Falcons perhaps their likeliest scenario yet. Kiper does something else.
Today, I've decided to deliver two dueling mock drafts for your consideration. One is from our friends at Mocking The Draft, specifically Matthew Fairburn. The other is pomade enthusiast and draft legend Mel Kiper Jr.
In essence, what these two mocks share is a bedrock belief that the Falcons will look at a tackle at #6, either by choice or necessity. They also have the same second round pick. Let's find out who that is, shall we?
6. Atlanta Falcons - Jake Matthews, OT, Texas A&M
Jake Matthews isn't likely to be the first offensive tackle taken in the 2014 NFL Draft, but he may be the most ready to contribute right away. Matthews is as technically sound as he is athletic. With the issues Atlanta had along the offensive line in 2013, Matthews would be a welcome addition to the starting lineup.
37. Atlanta Falcons - Dee Ford, DE, Auburn
Defensive end will be Atlanta's focus after finding an offensive lineman in the first round. Luckily, Dee Ford is still on the board with pick No. 37 in the draft. Ford is a bit undersized, but he's more than just a speed rusher. He knows how to convert speed to power when rushing the passer.
Why do I consider this realistic? Increasingly, I believe the Falcons will be left choosing the best tackle available at #6. This is based on Jadeveon Clowney and Khalil Mack being gone in the first five picks and the quality pass rushing options likely to be available in round two, plus the likely availability of either Matthews or Greg Robinson. While I'm not a huge Dee Ford fan, I could see the organization liking his fit in Atlanta, so this feels quite realistic to me.
How'd Kiper do?
Atlanta Falcons (4-12)
Analysis: I consider tackle a big need for Atlanta, a team that last year balanced an inability to consistently protect Matt Ryan with a consistent inability to open holes for anybody Ryan handed the ball off to. While Robinson and Jake Matthews are both very good players and should be at the next level, there's a case to be made that Lewan is the most ready tackle for NFL competition, with four good years under his belt. I think he could start at right or left tackle in Week 1.
37. Atlanta Falcons | Dee Ford, DE/OLB, Auburn
The Falcons lack a pass-rusher defenses fear, and while Ford is merely adequate against the run, he's a major menace as a speed rusher, and gives Atlanta a needed new look there.
This is the scenario I don't want. Lewan may well be a quality pro, but I firmly believe Matthews is better than him, and to my knowledge he comes with any of the very real character flags that Lewan does. A Lewan/Ford pairing isn't appreciably worse than Matthews/Ford, but it seems both unlikely and more of a risk with the #6 and #37 picks.
What do you think of these mocks?