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SB Nation NFL mock draft: The Falcons select Randy Gregory

In the annual Mocking The Draft extravaganza, the Falcons use the #8 pick on one of the draft's premier pass rushers.

Bruce Thorson-USA TODAY Sports

The Falcons are up in SB Nation's annual mock NFL draft, and this year I've tried to address the team's pass rushing woes with the selection of former Nebraska standout Randy Gregory.

The writer mock went in a different direction than I expected it to, with Beasley off the board at #3, Leonard Williams following one pick later and teams shying away from pass rushers, I had my pick of Gregory, Bud Dupree and Dante Fowler, not to mention Shane Ray. There was little question I'd be picking a pass rusher, and it largely came down to person preference, upside and fit in Quinn's defense. In the end, I went with Gregory.

You can see my reasoning at Mocking The Draft, but suffice to say with Vic Beasley gone I was most comfortable with a projectable talent like Gregory. He needs to add a little weight and he may not be an immediately impactful player, but I firmly believe Gregory has the potential to be great and can thrive in an attacking Dan Quinn defense. It was a tough call with Dante Fowler still on the board, in particular, but I really love Gregory's ability and think he could be truly special on this Falcons defense, so that made the pick easy.

Dan Kadar, the guru over at MTD, approves of the pick but questions whether Fowler would have been the better fit.

Dan Kadar, Indeed, this would be an easy choice to make for Atlanta. Gregory is a high-upside pass rusher and head coach Dan Quinn should be able to put him in a position to be successful. But even though Gregory is the more highly rated player, someone think Fowler might be a better fit. He could play the Michael Bennett role for the Falcons, and be moved around the line and used in a unique way. Neither choice would be wrong – and the Falcons need to improve their pass rush – but Fowler may be the better fit.

Not everyone here will love this pick (surprise!), but I'm hoping you can at least understand the rationale behind the selection. Please feel free to suggest candidates for my second round pick, which will land in the next couple of weeks, and read the whole story at Mocking The Draft.