We opened the floodgates last week with a mock draft, so it just makes sense that we remain up-to-date on who your local mock draft experts are giving them. The draft will be our primary preoccupation at some point in the next six months, after all.
Today’s pick from SB Nation’s Dan Kadar is deeply, deeply sensible. He has the Falcons picking 20th, where they would be in the current draft order after their 27-7 win over the Cowboys, and addressing one of their most persistent needs with a run-stoppnig force. The player in question is a ‘Bama boy, which will likely make some of you happy based on that fact alone, and fits the positional need to a T.
20. Atlanta Falcons: Da’Ron Payne, DT, Alabama
The Falcons need more talent in the middle of their defensive line, and Payne is one of the draft’s best run defenders. He’s a player who could slot immediately into the starting lineup.
We don’t know how the Falcons’ season is going to end just yet, but we do know that Ahtyba Rubin and Dontari Poe are free agents after the year, and the team will need someone to pair with dominant defensive tackle Grady Jarrett. Payne has a lot of technique work to do if he’s going to be an asset as a pass rusher, but his superior strength and quality hand usage should ensure he’ll be impactful against the run right off the bat. There’s upside here, too, though I’ll readily admit it’s not the sexiest pick even for a team without a lot of huge, glaring defensive needs.
What do you think of a Payne selection?