Look, it's known and understood at this point that Todd McShay and Mel Kiper Jr. get things right only slightly more often than the average fan. Given their nice hair and the huge salaries they command for their expertise, though, they're still very much fair game.
That's why I can't resist swinging some lumber at the duo for their latest mock drafts, which are awfully close to the draft to feature the Falcons sink first round picks into offensive linemen.
- McShay: Justin Pugh, G, Syracuse
- Kiper: Kyle Long, OT, Oregon
Now, I'm not suggesting that the Falcons couldn't use line help, but the off-season's moves have made it pretty clear how the Falcons are planning to fill their current holes. They're going to slide Peter Konz to center, play Joe Hawley or Garrett Reynolds and right guard and kick Lamar Holmes out to the right tackle spot vacated by Tyson Clabo's release. You don't cut Clabo unless you believe Holmes is good to go, I'd argue.
It's not that Pugh in particular isn't a solid player, just that he's unlikely to be the best player on the board at #30. Ditto Long. If the Falcons were serious about getting a major upgrade for the offensive line, they might try to move up a bit and get one. But simply deciding that, because Clabo left, the Falcons will invest a first round pick in a lineman is something that's only done by those who aren't familiar with the gaping hole at cornerback and the general weakness around linebacker and defensive end for this football team.
This should be reasonably obvious to anyone who follows this football team, but it's not obvious to Kiper and McShay because they don't. Their mock drafts take place in a vacuum, where teams can only fill needs through the draft and needs are identified based on....something.
Remember: As others have said today, the only people who know what the Falcons are going to do in the draft are in Flowery Branch. The rest is guesswork with a little reporting thrown in. Bring your grains of salt wherever you go.