The draft has finally arrived. We're just a couple days away from finding out which players we'll be praising and berating this coming fall. Based on all the information we've been gathering over the past few months, I'm going to take a stab at one final mock draft, which will undoubtedly be one hundred percent correct.
(Note: Every player in this mock draft is a player the Falcons have been linked to in some capacity)
Round One (Pick 17): Leonard Floyd, LB, Georgia
Atlanta's infatuation with Leonard Floyd hasn't been the best kept secret in the world. Here's what Vaughn McClure reported back in the middle of March:
The Falcons view Floyd as potentially an inside linebacker with the ability to thrive as a blitzer, and he's a guy who has the length and range to cover tight ends, such as Carolina's Greg Olsen, from sideline to sideline. Teams around the league seem to be split on what position best suits Floyd, but he views himself as a pass-rusher first.
Floyd is fairly new to playing middle and weakside linebacker after starting his career at Georgia as an edge defender. However, he shows off tremendous fluidity in coverage, discipline on his reads at the second level, and flashes as a blitzer inside and off the edge.
History has shown that taking long, lanky pass rushers and placing huge expectations on them doesn't usually work. Seeing Atlanta think outside the box on their evaluation of Floyd is a promising sign.
Obviously taking Floyd and pushing him into the middle linebacker role is a huge gamble, but he already does things (especially in coverage) better as a pure linebacker than Reggie Ragland and Darron Lee. To get some more of my concrete thoughts Leonard Floyd, check out a film session that I put together with Matt Waldman over the weekend.
A darkhorse candidate that seems to be picking up steam as of late is UCLA linebacker Myles Jack. If he does fall due to concerns about his knee, it'd be hard to imagine him lasting to pick 18. The knee concerns may be legitimate, but he's that much better than his counterparts at the linebacker position.
Round Two (Pick 50): Keanu Neal, S, Florida
Kemal Ishmael has been a nice find for a seventh round draft pick, but counting on him to be the long term option at strong safety probably isn't the most sound idea moving forward. Keanu Neal is the prototypical strong safety for Dan Quinn's scheme. He's a playmaker in the box that brings the thunder every single time he gets near the ballcarrier.
Neal plays with the energy, passion, and #grit that Quinn would love to have on his defense. As a plug and play strong safety, this makes too much sense in the second round.
Round Three (Pick 81): Javon Hargrave, DT, South Carolina State
Javon Hargrave may be unknown to the average fan, but the small school defensive line product is a stud. He tested extremely well at the combine and played up to an increased level of competition at the Shrine Game and Senior Bowl. Hargrave would give the Falcons another athletic defensive tackle to rotate in with Ra'Shede Hageman, Grady Jarrett, Jonathan Babineaux, and Derrick Shelby.
Round Four (Pick 115): Tyrone Holmes, EDGE, Montana
The edge rusher class appears weak this year, but Montana's Tyrone Holmes looks like he could be a diamond in the rough. Holmes tested extremely well at his Pro Day, drawing comparisons to Vikings defensive end Everson Griffen. The edge rushing depth on the Falcons is thin behind Vic Beasley and Adrian Clayborn with Derrick Shelby slotted to spend a portion of his time at three technique. Grabbing an athletic defensive end with upside should be a priority for the Falcons, Holmes fits the bill.
Round Seven (Pick 238): Moritz Boehringer, WR/TE, Swåbisch Hall Unicorns, Germany
By the time the seventh round rolls around any draft pick can be justified simply because it's the seventh round. The Falcons have been interested in the German wideout with a vision of playing him at tight end. Why is this German receiver drawing so much praise?
Take a look at his workout numbers, courtesy of Mockdraftable.com:
His numbers still hold well when compared to tight end prospects, but he'll need to put on some weight for that position switch. Boehringer has the potential to be a fun gamble. If he flames out or doesn't make the team, it's not the end of the world.
This is my final guess what the Falcons will do over draft weekend. I'd be pleased with this draft, especially with the intriguing additions of Floyd and Boehringer.
What does your ideal draft class look like this year?