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2016 NFL Draft: Digging into Mel Kiper's Top 10 at positions the Falcons care about

There are some interesting players in what promises to be a mixed bag of a draft class.

Chris McGrath/Getty Images

Mel Kiper's mock drafts and positional rankings aren't gospel, of course, but they are typically indicative of how the larger NFL is feeling about particular players at the time he creates them. For the Falcons, then, these lists might give us an idea of who will be in play over the first few rounds of the draft, and Kiper just released his post-Combine top ten at each position.

Let's take a gander at receiver, center, pass rusher, and outside linebacker for now. I'm making some big assumptions about the Falcons chasing inside linebackers and guards in free agency, but I hope you can tolerate that.

Wide Receiver

1. *Laquon Treadwell, Mississippi
2. Josh Doctson, TCU
3. *Will Fuller, Notre Dame
4. *Corey Coleman, Baylor
5. Sterling Shepard, Oklahoma
6. *Michael Thomas, Ohio St.
7. Leonte Carroo, Rutgers
8. *Tyler Boyd, Pitt
9. *Pharoh Cooper, South Carolina
10. Charone Peake, Clemson

If the Falcons grab a free agent receiver, as I suspect they will, a player like Cooper or Peake could make sense for later. Swapping out Roddy White and Devin Hester for, say, Travis Benjamin and Cooper would be pretty nice for Atlanta, and would make them much younger and more dynamic at receiver. If they elect not to get a free agent, Doctson, Fuller, Coleman, and perhaps Shepard should be on the table.


1. Ryan Kelly, Alabama
2. Nick Martin, Notre Dame
3. Max Tuerk, USC
4. Graham Glasgow, Michigan
5. Jack Allen, Michigan St.
6. Matt Skura, Duke
7. Austin Blythe, Iowa
8. Evan Boehm, Missouri
9. Jake Brendel, UCLA
10. Kyle Friend, Temple

I'm a quiet fan of Jack Allen at center, but realistically, the Falcons will have to nab Kelly or Martin if they want a potential Day One starter at center. Because I don't expect them to chase a significant upgrade in free agency, I do think both will be in play, but if the Falcons miss out you should look for them to roll the dice on a project late.

Defensive end/pass rushers

1. *Joey Bosa, Ohio St.
2. DeForest Buckner, Oregon
3. Sheldon Rankins, Louisville
4. *Shaq Lawson, Clemson
5. Jonathan Bullard, Florida
6. *Emmanuel Ogbah, Oklahoma St.
7. Jihad Ward, Illinois
8. *Kevin Dodd, Clemson
9. Carl Nassib, Penn St.
10. Shilique Calhoun, Michigan St.

This is a nice list of players.I have to believe Lawson, Bullard and Ogbah will be in play for the Falcons early, with Dodd and Nassib looming as options in the second round. Any one of them could become an above average defensive end in the NFL, and the Falcons desperately need at least one of those. My money's on Lawson for the Falcons.

Outside linebackers

1. *Jaylon Smith, Notre Dame
2. *Noah Spence, Eastern Kentucky
3. **Darron Lee, Ohio St.
4. *Leonard Floyd, Georgia
5. Deion Jones, LSU
6. *Kamalei Correa, Boise St.
7. *Su'a Cravens, USC
8. Joshua Perry, Ohio St.
9. Jordan Jenkins, Georgia
10. Kyler Fackrell, Utah St.

I'm skeptical that Smith is going in the first, even though his talent warrants it. Everyone's hot on Lee to the Falcons in the first round, and his speed certainly makes him a possibility. Jenkins and Perry are potential sleeper picks for Atlanta a little later if they don't address this position immediately, and I suspect they will not.

My gut says you'll see the Falconcs walk away with at least two players from this list, with my best guesses being Lawson and Joshua Perry.

For more positions, read Kiper's full article. Who intrigues you on these lists?