The 2014 NFL season is officially over, which means the 2015 mock draft season is officially underway. Our friend Dan Kadar from Mocking The Draft wasted no time releasing his predictions for the first two rounds, and he has the Falcons addressing the side of the ball they struggle with the most (hint: it's defense).
Here's who Kadar sees the Falcons taking:
Round 1: Shane Ray, DE/OB, Missouri
Why Ray? I'm glad you asked.
"Some consider Ray more of a linebacker because he's not the tallest player, but he profiles better as an end. With his hand down, Ray can take advantage of his first step and hand use. In Dan Quinn's defense, Ray would be used the same way the Seahawks use Bruce Irvin."
The Falcons have not fixed the pass rush since John Abraham left. According to Pro Football Focus, Atlanta was the fourth-worst pass rushing team in the league for 2014. That's an improvement from 2013 (PFF gave the Falcons the worst pass rushing grade that season), but things are still in rough shape.
Everyone continues to pray the Falcons will select a pass rusher as each draft comes and goes. Will this finally be the year? Ray would instantly improve that area of the defense.
Round 2: Denzel Perryman, LB, Miami
It's a good bet the Falcons will target a pass rusher in Round 1, assuming they stay at No. 8. Round 2 is a bit murkier. They need a tight end, the secondary could use improvements and really let's just say the whole defense is eligible for an upgrade.
Kadar sees Atlanta going with Perryman, a stocky inside linebacker who could easily become a first-round pick if he shows well at the NFL Combine. Perryman is inconsistent in coverage and some scouts will knock his size, but he's a solid player who will be highly coveted towards the beginning of Round 2 if he's there.
Here are some highlights from Miami. He's a sound tackler, something we haven't always seen in Atlanta. Fast forward past to the 30-second mark.
We'll be covering a ton of mock drafts leading up to the end of April, but for now let's discuss these two guys. What are your thoughts on Ray and Perryman? Should the Falcons be addressing other positions early on?