It doesn't seem all that long ago that our beloved Falcons mortgaged an entire draft to move up for the sixth overall selection. Five picks. FIVE. And while Julio Jones has been everything we could have hoped for, the depth we gave up came roaring to our attention last season - and has certainly been a trending topic of late on the Falcoholic.
So I'm asking you, for the sake of my sanity, why people insist on moving up from a pick we coveted so highly just a few years ago. I understand it was a positional need. And I understand that pass-rush is a pressing need now. But there are currently four players - FOUR - out of the top six, that would make an immediate impact: Clowney, Mack, Robinson, and Matthews. And call me an optimist, but I'd like to think one of them might be floating around after one of the QB-hungry teams binges on a signal caller and Sammy Watkins lands in Cleveland.
In short, I'm a firm believer that this is a year that we should stand pat. We should address the many glaring holes that crippled us last season and leave the wheeling and dealing for teams that are a player away. Because we, my fellow fans, are not. At least for now.
#6 - Jake Matthews, OT, Texas A&M
Hall of Fame NFL bloodlines. Tough, durable, polished - and God-willing a pro-bowl tackle who can lead by example for the next decade.
#37 - Trent Murphy, DE, Stanford
So this is a harder sell than Matthews, but there's a reason at least four Stanford defensive prospects are projected to go in the first four rounds - and I'm willing to bet it's because of this guy (and Stanford's stout front is one of the main reasons I'm not nearly as keen on Ed Reynolds as some). Team captain. Led country in sacks. High character, intensity and motor. This guy has versatility and double-digit sacks written all over him.
#68 - Christian Jones, ILB, Florida St.
I shouldn't have to tell you who this guy is. And I'm probably being a little optimistic in thinking that he'll be around in the third - even if that is around where he's projected. Nevertheless, this guy can and will do a little bit of everything in the pros.
#103 - Terrance West, RB, Towson
Small school + BIG production = Dimitroff-gasm. Workhorse + solid hands = SmithKoetter-gasm. Honestly though, if he's there early in the fourth (and there's actually a decent chance of that), the Falcons couldn't ask for more.
#139 - Brock Vereen, FS, Minnesota
Intangibles are off the charts. NFL pedigree (You may have heard of his brother, Shane). Built like a freight train, even if he needs to learn to hit like one. Much better in coverage than against the run. Has the capacity to be a vocal leader in time. Could easily be a mid-season starter.
#147 - Preston Brown, ILB, Louisville
Willy Mo 2.0. Primarily a run-stopper, but smart and versatile enough for Nolan's defense.
#182 - Richard Rodgers, TE, California
We're not going to replace Tony Gonzalez in this draft no matter where we take one. But RR is just as good a prospect as any. Son of Carolina Panthers special-teams coordinator. A willing blocker and decent check-down option, albeit a pretty unpolished one.
#220 - Cassius Marsh, LOLB, UCLA
The only player in this mock who has not met with the Falcons. NFL Pedigree (Father and brother). Great work ethic. Vocal leader, brings out the best in others. A serviceable TE in a pinch.
#253 - Connor Shaw, QB, South Carolina
Clowney who? The most exciting man to watch at South Carolina last year was none other than Connor Shaw. Do we need him? No. Are most of you going to like this pick? No. But just let me have this one guys, please.
#255 - Shaq Evans, WR, UCLA
Following suit with every other Falcons mock ever made. Move the chains young man, move 'em.
So that's that. Feel free to tell me why you love it or why you hate it, opinions, your own mocks. Whatever. Can the draft just hurry up and get here. Honestly though.