Mocking the Draft has been predicting a pass rusher to the Falcons most of the off-season. For a long time, that player was Sam Montgomery, the LSU defensive end with the tarnished reputation and intriguing skillset.
Reading the tea leaves and figuring Montgomery is in for a draft day fall, Dan Kadar has selected a new rusher for the Falcons to pick. That man is Alex Okafor.
We've discussed Okafor only in passing here, but he checks a lot of boxes on the team's checklist. He's a powerful player, a guy who can rush the passer and play the run, and while the regular comparisons to Ray Edwards may terrify you, keep in mind that Edwards was well thought-of before his disastrous Atlanta stint.
If he's paired with an effective edge rusher like Abraham or a gifted free agent, Okafor could shine for the Falcons. But he's not without risk, because he's not the most explosive pass rusher in this draft, and the team didn't get a chance to see him at the Combine due to a bruised hip flexor. If he turns out to be another better-than-expected option against the run and a middling pass rusher, he does little to fill one of the team's biggest needs.
The Falcons will certainly look hard at every pass rusher available, and Okafor projects to be one of the best available. No one at the end of the first round comes without warts, however.
What do you think of the pick?