It's Week 11 of the 2013 season. The Falcons are 2-7, and the talk around town is already directing itself towards the 2014 NFL Draft. No one expected this scenario to come about prior to the season, but, well, here we are.
It's nice to hope for better and brighter things from the remaining schedule. It's just not practical at the current juncture. The Falcons can beat the Buccaneers this Sunday. After that, who knows what we'll be forced to endure.
With that in mind, we might as well start talking about next year's draft, right? D. Orlando Ledbetter is already a step ahead of us. Yesterday he discussed the possibility of Atlanta being in the mix for the No. 1 overall pick in 2014, and it no way is that extremely depressing.
In what seems a bit like trolling, D Led says, "The Falcons have a .00129 percent chance of winning the NFC South and .00957 percent chance of reaching the playoffs." We get it, it's bad. Barring a remarkable turnaround, the Falcons are getting one of the top picks. Here's who D Led names as his players to keep an eye on for Atlanta.
Jadaveon Clowney, DE, South Carolina: Queue the complaining about his effort. Clowney would instantly improve the pass rush. He's widely considered as the No. 3 overall prospect in the upcoming class.
C.J. Mosley, OLB, Alabama: Some injury concerns with his history, Mosley is one of the top players at his position.
Sammy Watkins, WR (ha), Clemson: The best receiver in the draft, but the Falcons don't need to address receiver in Round 1. Sorry.
Anthony Barr, OLB, UCLA: He finished with 13.5 sacks as a junior. Barr is arguably the best senior prospect.
Jake Matthews, OT, Texas A&M: Matthews comes with the prestige of having an NFL father. He's the best tackle entering the draft, but keep in mind he would come with a lofty price tag.
Stephon Tuitt, DE, Notre Dame: Probably not the ideal pick for Atlanta, Tuitt told his school paper he plans to return for his senior year, so he might not even be an option.
SB Nation's Dan Kadar put together the draft order as it stands today. The Falcons would have pick No. 4. Clowney could certainly be there, assuming quarterback is the focus for at least two of the top three teams.
Looking at the class of 2014, Clowney or Barr would seem like the best bets for the Falcons. I think most of us are in agreement that the offensive line is another key area to address. Sure, Roddy White is getting old and Tony Gonzalez will need to be replaced. But until Matt Ryan has time to throw, skill positions can wait. Another thought, the Falcons could trade down to gain another pick or two. There is enough depth, at least from first-round prospects, to consider that move.
Maybe you're not ready to talk about draft picks. It's OK, we'll give you some time to cope. If you are ready, though, what are your thoughts on the Falcons first pick in 2014? Are we hoping for Clowney?