With the Combine firmly behind us, the final picture of the draft class is beginning to become clearer. Several players separated themselves with impressive workouts, while others sent us back to the tape to evaluate their poor athletic performances. One thing is certain: the draft is steadily approaching, with less than six weeks to go until the first pick is made.
With all that in mind, it’s time to complete another 7-round mock draft for the Falcons. I once again used the Fanspeak mock draft simulator to put together a full draft class for Atlanta. For this particular mock, I used the Inside the Pylon big board with the Fanspeak team needs.
I’ll go on record saying that if the Falcons make this draft class a reality, I’ll be doing cartwheels in the streets. Let’s dive right in.
Round 1, Pick 31 - G Dan Feeney, Indiana
Feeney is a rock-solid G prospect that has ideal traits for a team that runs a zone-blocking scheme (like Atlanta). He’s a smart, technically proficient lineman that is a very good pass protector. Feeney is also a tough, hard-nosed blocker in the run game that possesses enough athleticism to make blocks at the second level and in the screen game.
Feeney is a team captain and four-year starter with a consistent track record. He’s a plug-and-play guy that already has extensive experience playing RG (where he spent the majority of his college career). Atlanta fills their only glaring weakness early on with a player that can be counted on to start immediately.
Round 2, Pick 63 - DE Derek Rivers, Youngstown State
Rivers has picked up quite a bit of steam after his impressive Combine performance, but if he’s still around at this point in the draft, the Falcons would get great value here. Rivers is a high-effort pass rusher that displayed impressive technique and hand usage for such a small-school player.
Rivers had incredible and consistent production against FCS competition. He’s a tad on the small side for an NFL DE, but that’s really the only knock on him. If you can get past the size and level-of-competition concerns, Rivers looks like a very capable NFL pass rusher.
Round 3, Pick 95 - TE Jake Butt, Michigan
Another player that is an excellent value at this point in the draft, Butt’s draft stock took a hit when he tore his ACL during his bowl game. Prior to that, he was viewed as one of the top TEs in an absolutely loaded class. Butt is a TE with ideal size (6’5, 246) that has proven himself as a dependable receiving threat throughout his career.
Butt is an expert at beating zone coverage and has made a career out of catching short-to-intermediate passes. He’s also experienced lining up all over the field, and has the traits to be a plus blocker at the NFL level. While he’ll need some refinement, and he’s merely an average athlete, Butt is a great option for a team like Atlanta that could use a short-yardage TE to pair with the more dynamic Austin Hooper.
Round 4, Pick 136 - S Josh Jones, NC State
Yet again, a great value falls to the Falcons. Jones is a size/speed prototype (6’1, 220, 4.41-forty) with the ability to play either safety position. He’s a supremely aggressive player that loves to hit, and he’s not afraid to gamble when going for the ball. Jones has a killer instinct and physical style of play that are impossible to teach.
His aggressiveness can also lead to problems, however, as Jones is undisciplined. Focus on going for the turnover or the big hit can lead to blown coverage assignments and missed tackles. Still, he’s an intriguing athlete that certainly checks the “fast and physical” boxes that Quinn covets. He’d be a fantastic pick-up at this point in the draft.
Round 5, Pick 174 - DT Tanzel Smart, Tulane
Even after the addition of Poe, the Falcons could use more depth at DT. Tanzel Smart is an intriguing player with impressive production that will likely fall in the draft due to lack of ideal size (6’1, 296). He’s a penetrating 3-tech DT that gives premium effort on every single snap.
Smart has the traits of an ideal back-up NFL DT—high motor, solid technique, great football character and IQ, and consistent production. Sure, he’s not the biggest or fastest guy, and his level of competition wasn’t terribly impressive, but Smart shows all the aspects of an above-average rotational 3-tech at the NFL level. As we’ve seen with players like Grady Jarrett, size isn’t everything.
Round 7, Pick 249 - LB Blair Brown, Ohio
At this point in the draft, you’re looking for depth pieces or special teams standouts. Blair Brown is both. With Worrilow gone and Weatherspoon’s status up in the air, the Falcons could certainly use depth at the LB position. Brown lacks ideal size (5’11, 238), but makes up for it with a hard-nosed, physical style of play and decent athleticism.
He’s an instinctive LB with a high football IQ that possesses enough lateral movement ability to cover RBs and TEs. Brown had excellent production in college and, although his ceiling is certainly limited, looks like the type of player that can make a difference as a depth player and special teams contributor at the NFL level.
There you have it, my post-Combine mock draft for the Falcons. It would be a tremendous haul, with 3-4 potential starters and a few promising depth players to round out the class. It’s ultimately unlikely that the draft board falls this way, but stranger things have certainly happened.
What do you think of this draft class for the Falcons? Who are some players that you have your eyes on for Atlanta?