Over the weekend, I represented the Falcons in a community mock draft.
This is probably the sixth time I have been the virtual GM for the Falcons, held this year at the Tennessee Titan's SBNation site, Music City Miracles.
This is a very time consuming mock, complete with trade (non-player). In all, it took about ten hours.
And without further adieu, I give you:
Prior to the draft starting, I had an agreement to trade down with the Buffalo Bills, they would trading # 9 and their third rounder for #6, but they traded all the way up to #2 for Robinson.
Round one, sixth pick:
With the first five being Clowney, Robinson, Watkins, Mack, and a surprise pick , Pitt DT Aaron Donald, and unable to trade down, I went with the player most would rank as the best player available, and someone who certainly fills a need, Jake Matthews, OT, Texas A&M. With NFL bloodlines, Matthews is considered perhaps the "safest" pick in the entire draft, even though he is not an equal athlete to most of the top ten prospects.
In 2013, we will likely keep both Baker and Holmes, but Holmes will make only $660,000 in 2015, making Baker a likely cap-casualty, after signing a six-year, 41 million dollar contract in March 3013.
Round two, 37th pick:
In hindsight I should have trade down, but with many feeling pass-rush was an even greater weakness than offensive line, and refusing to trade-up for either Clowney, or Mack, I didn't follow my big board.
I took Jeremiah Attaochu over DT Timmy Jernigan, Stephon Tuitt, the many TEs and WRs expected to go in round two.
After securing our franchise L in round one, I was 99% sure I would go with a pass rusher, and had them ranked Clowney, Mack, Barr, Ealy, Ford, Attaochu, Demarcus Lawrence, and Marcus Smith.
Lawrence was picked at #45, while Smith wasn't selected into the third round.
I prefer Attaochu over Lawrence primarily due to character concerns with Lawrence, questions about his level of competition, and the fact that Attaochu has played i both a 4-3 and a 3-4 while in college.
Round three, pick 72:
Again, having missed out on Clowney/Mack, I nearly "double-dipped" with Louisville edge-rusher Marcus Smith, who lead the nation in sacks per game, and reportedly looked the best of all the DE to LB converts dropping back in coverage at the Senior Bowl, but I knew I needed to address the safety position with one of my next two picks,
I picked Florida State's Terrence Brooks, and have him as my second-ranked FS prospect (I feel there are many more "in-the-box safety prospect than there are center-fielders).
Brooks is slightly undersized, but bigger and fasted than both Lamarcus Joyner and Jimmy Ward, and began his career as a corner.
I decided to accept a trade offer, allowing me to get back into round three, and with...
Round three, pick #91:
I took Charles Sims, RB, West Virginia. I have Sims as my #2 ranked RB, primarily due to his pass-catching skills, that have given him his Matt Forte comparisons. Perhaps not the pure runner of several chosen before him (Carlos Hyde, Bishop Sankey, Jeremy Hill, and Tre Mason) Sims was the most impressive RB at the Senior Bowl, and I expect many 1000 yard rushing, 500 receiving seasons in his future. Steven Jackson is near the end, and Quizz is better in a supportive role.
Although, I made out in the trade based on points, I may have surrendered too much in giving up #103, #147, and #220 to move up.
Of note, Tennessee's LT prospect Antonio Richardson was taken with the next pick. I have him as my fifth-ranked OT prospect, but rumors came out that he failed some teams physicals at the NFL combine, causing his slide. I still considered taking him. Thoughts?
Round four, pick #139:
Although several great prospects went in the five to ten picks before me, Ego Ferguson, DT, LSU was still there. Finding Ego this late made me feel less bad about not taking Timmy Jernigan, and Stephon Tuitt in the second round. Ferguson compares to former LSU, current Eagles defensive lineman Bennie Logan, who was the 67th pick in 2013.
NFL.com's Gil Brandt ranked him #45 overall, saying this " most likely would have been a first-round pick if he stayed in school for his final year. He's a very athletic lineman who is strong at the point of attack. He'll be a starter in his second year and play in the NFL for a long time."
Round six, pick #189: Xavier Grimble, TE, USC:
Grimble has been in my signature mock for most of the season, and I feel he has been severely overlooked, and may have performed better if not for a significant spring injury:
Up until now, USC has been running a pro-style offense, one dedicated to a power running attack, but with outstanding WR talent. Additionally, USC fired it's head coach, Lane Kiffin half-way through the season.
Grimble also had a poor showing at the NFL combine, but at 6'5/250, he has the potential to play in two-TE formations.
Good profile here: http://www.hogshaven.com/2014/3/6/5476422/washington-redskins-draft-profiles-xavier-grimble-te
Rounding out Atlanta's final two picks, 253 and 255.
With #253, I selected DE/DT George Uko, also from USC, where he played his final season under Trojans defensive coordinator Clancy Pendergast, a former NFL DC.
Nice write-up here: http://insider.espn.go.com/blog/colleges/usc/post/_/id/11267/uko-proving-his-worth-on-trojans-d
Finally, with #255, the second to the last pick provided me more opportunities than I expected:
Bryn Renner QB, UNC, Trey Millard FB/H-back, Oklahoma, Eric Ward, WR, Texas Tech, but in the end I couldn't pass up former Michigan WR Jeremy Gallon.
Projected as a slot-WR, with diminutive size, Gallon was supremely productive for the Wolverines.