One obvious consequence of the 2014 NFL Draft being pushed back to May is that it's given fans and analysts alike the opportunity to spend more time on mock drafts. I've never done a mock draft, but I'm doing one now. You're welcome.
With the first overall pick in the 2014 NFL Draft, obtained from the Houston Texans, the Atlanta Falcons select Jadeveon Clowney from the University of South Carolina. I don't see Thomas Dimitroff wasting his time on shenanigans this close to the draft, and the fact that the Falcons had such a highly-publicized meeting with Clowney last week would suggest that moving up to acquire him is a serious consideration.
Atlanta's pass rush has been abysmal for several years. For all of the drama about Clowney's work ethic, it's undeniable that his talent is pretty much unparalleled in this draft. ESPN's Vaughn McClure spoke with Bill Polian about what such a move might cost the Falcons. It would likely require next year's first round pick at minimum. Our own FalconsM5 explored this possibility in more detail, also.
The Falcons select offensive tackle Morgan Moses, who Dave famously selected in the SB Nation writers' mock. Moses would potentially be a more viable candidate to start than Lamar Holmes, who developed some last year, or Mike Johnson, who will be coming back from a gruesome injury.
I'm projecting this pick will go to Houston in the deal to select Clowney, along with next year's first round pick. The sad news is that moving up to acquire Clowney will likely be pricy for Atlanta. He's nearly universally considered to be the best player in this year's draft, and teams obviously know that. This is my mock, however, and I can do whatever I want, and that means the Falcons are getting a pretty generous deal from Texas in this scenario
The Falcons select free safety Ed Reynolds out of Stanford with the 103rd pick in the NFL Draft. He's no HaHa Clinton Dix, but he is a serviceable option and potential starter at free safety. The Falcons have met with Reynolds in these weeks leading up to the draft. He's solid against the run and can be counted on to wrap up when tackling. He takes good angles. Sounds pretty good, right?
The Falcons also have a fourth round compensatory pick at their disposal, and as much as I'd like to see them use this one on Iowa tight end C.J. Fiedorowicz, I think he'll be gone by the late third round. Let's make a huge percentage of our readers happy and welcome Arthur Lynch, a tight end out of the University of Georgia, to the Falcons. Lynch is a good blocker and a reliable enough receiver. He'd be a good supplement to Levine Toilolo.
The Falcons need to think about the inside linebacker position, and Dave is going to be crushed if the Falcons don't select Yawin Smallwood. This pick is a win/win. Our own Alec Shirkey did a really solid scouting breakdown of Smallwood which you should definitely read.
The Falcons select Rajion Neal, a running back out of Tennessee. Neal is exactly the kind of versatile back the Falcons seem to like, and with the pass-catching abilities that impressed scouts at Tennessee's Pro Day, he would fit nicely in the role vacated by Jason Snelling upon his retirement.
The Falcons have three picks in the seventh--a normal pick and two compensatory picks. With the 220th pick in the 2014 NFL Draft, the Falcons select fullback Gator Hoskins because they need a fullback and his name is Gator. I mean, you're not going to not draft a fullback named Gator. Hoskins played tight end in college and had 13 touchdown receptions in his last season at Marshall. He certainly has the versatility Atlanta seems to look for in the position.
With the 253rd pick, Atlanta selects wide receiver Shaq Evans. Evans would be a nice, affordable complement to Atlanta's dynamic offense. He has good speed and is a physical receiver with a solid work ethic.
With their last pick of the 2014 NFL Draft, Atlanta selects quarterback Kenny Guiton out of The Ohio State University. Just let me have this, y'all.
How much do you love or hate my mock, because I'm pretty sure those are the only reactions you're allowed to have to a mock draft? And what would you like to see the Falcons do on draft day?