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Falcons select a pass rusher in latest round of hot mock draft action

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If the Falcons follow this prescription, they'll be using back-to-back first rounders on coveted pass rushers.

Scott Olmos-USA TODAY Sports

SB Nation's own Dan Kadar, wise draft guru at Mocking the Draft, has come down from Draft Mountain to deliver his December mock. His pick will likely be a divisive one.

19. Atlanta Falcons: DeForest Buckner, DE, Oregon

If Buckner is out there this late in the draft, he'd be too good to pass up. Buckner is a good pass rusher, even when coming out of a three-man front. He's a better player than former teammate Arik Armstead and would give Atlanta another rusher to pair with Vic Beasley.

I don't necessarily expect the Falcons to stay around #19, but if they did, this would be an interesting pick. Buckner probably projects best as a pass rusher in a 3-4 front, but he's pretty nimble for a 290 pound man, he has genuine pass rushing chops, and Atlanta still badly needs complements to a healthy Vic Beasley for 2016 and beyond. If he can stop the run effectively, you could certainly see Dan Quinn and Richard Smith taking a long look at him as they try to add talented players to a middling front seven.

On the other hand, the Falcons have a desperate need at linebacker and need to rebuild the interior of their offensive line, and highly-coveted linebacker Myles Jack goes eight picks later in Kadar's mock. I'm on record preferring Jack both from a best player available standpoint and from a needs-based one, but Buckner is one of the better choices available if the team passes on Jack.

This is a defensible pick, in other words, and I look forward to hearing your take on it.