Yesterday, both Mel Kiper and Todd McShay dropped their latest mock drafts. They didn't stray far from their recent picks for the Atlanta Falcons, which is to say they stuck to tackles.
We'll hit Kiper first. He's got the Falcons going with Taylor Lewan, Michigan tackle and man of controversy:
Analysis: There's been some buzz about Atlanta as a team capable of moving up to take Clowney, but the problem with that is while pass rush is a major need, it doesn't protect the single biggest asset this franchise has, which is Matt Ryan. Yeah, they need a pass-rusher, but tackle is also a major need for Atlanta. If you don't move up and opt to stay here, you still have a chance to take a player capable of going that high -- I really think Lewan could have challenged for No. 1 had he entered the draft last season. Match that level of value with obvious need and you could do a lot worse. Lewan can play.
Can I just say, for the record, how tired I am of the Falcons' very real pass rushing needs being waved away with "but Matt Ryan!" The line was miserable a year ago, but that was with Sam Baker out, revolving doors at center and right guard and the truly awful Jeremy Trueblood at right tackle. The line will be closer to average if Baker just stays healthy this season, and yes I know it's stupid to think that's going to happen. But it's not like the Falcons are better off with their pass rush.
But yes, Lewan appears to be rising up draft boards. If the Falcons stay at #6, Kiper may wind up looking smart here.
Let's go to McShay, now. He's about that Jake Matthews life:
Analysis: The Falcons need to improve at the tackle position, coming off a season in which franchise QB Matt Ryan was sacked a career-high 44 times (previous high: 28). Matthews would provide help as an experienced and effective blocker in the running and passing games. His versatility to play either tackle spot adds to his value because it would give Atlanta the option of keeping Sam Baker on the left side or moving him over to the right.
I'm pro-Matthews and it's no great secret. If the Falcons elect to stay at #6, I think he's the obvious pick, for his durability, his skill set and his fit for a team that definitely wouldn't mind adding a potentially elite tackle to the mix. He's my preference over Lewan.
Either way and despite my pass rushing grumpiness, either of these picks would fill a need for the Falcons. If they stand pat at #6, as I've said multiple times in recent weeks, a tackle is the obvious selection and the likely one. It's just a question of which one.