We’re waiting to see who the Falcons will be playing next weekend in the Divisional Round, and while we wait, there’s plenty of other things to talk about. Including...
/puts on suit of armor
/hides behind brick wall
...the NFL Draft! We’re only a few months away from it, and regardless of how the Falcons wind up finishing this year, this next draft class will be a crucial one. Thomas Dimitroff, Dan Quinn, and the rest of the players in the front office and on the coaching staff have done a tremendous job of acquiring and coaching up talent on both sides of the ball, but there are still major holes on the roster that need to be patched over with fresh blood. That’s an unfortunate metaphor.
Thankfully, in this first, extremely early two round mock draft from SB Nation’s Dan Kadar, the Falcons nail one of their biggest needs with one of the most well-regarded players at a key position. Here’s who they got:
29. Atlanta Falcons: Caleb Brantley, DT, Florida
Jonathan Babineaux and Tyson Jackson could could be gone in Atlanta after this season, and if they are the Falcons will look to draft a player early to fit up front. Brantley is a disruptive tackle who can do many of the things Babineaux did in his prime.
It’s way too early to deliver any kind of definitive judgement on Brantley as a player—I’ve only seen him play a handful of times over his career, candidly—but I like Kadar’s decision to go after one of the draft’s top defensive tackles. It’s no great secret that the Falcons are thin at the position and could desperately use a dynamic player to pair with Grady Jarrett, who is already pretty great. We’ll be brushing up on Brantley once we get through the postseason, because I’m sure this isn’t going to be the last time his name is linked to Atlanta, especially with former Gators Keanu Neal and Brian Poole arriving in the last draft class, and former Florida defensive coordinator Dan Quinn leading the Falcons.
How about the second round?
61. Atlanta Falcons: Chidobe Awuzie, CB, Colorado
This I’m less fond of, which I don’t intend as a slight to Awuzie. The Falcons are about as strong and deep at cornerback as they’ve been in years, with elite corner Desmond Trufant figuring to return, Robert Alford newly locked up on an extension, and Jalen Collins and Brian Poole looking very promising. Throw in C.J. Goodwin and Deji Olatoye, plus the return of interesting 2015 seventh rounder Akeem King, and cornerback just doesn’t seem like a big enough need to invest yet another second rounder in.
I know it’s thinking ahead quite a bit, but who are you hoping the Falcons come away with in the first two rounds?