We’ve said for weeks that the expectation is that the Atlanta Falcons will come out of the first round of the 2017 NFL Draft with either a guard or a pass rusher. Given that the Falcons didn’t add any high-upside players to address either need in free agency, that’s still the expectation.
Nearly every mock draft you’ll see carries the same expectation. The only deviation I could see at this point would be for a top-flight safety, but I certainly do not expect that.
Here’s a look at our own in-house mock drafts and what experts from SB Nation to ESPN are predicting at the moment.
Dan Kadar, SB Nation: Cam Robinson, OT, Alabama
Robinson’s talent, especially as a run blocker, is too great to let slide out of the first round. In Atlanta, he can push for a starting guard spot and potentially put some pressure on the team’s offensive tackles.
Kevin Knight, The Falcoholic: Dan Feeney, G, 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.
Eric Robinson, The Falcoholic: Takkarist McKinley, DE, UCLA
He has more than one deficiency in his game of course (just like every prospect) but at 6’2 265 lbs with an elite 10-yard split for his size (1.61), a notable 40-yard dash (4.59), and a relentless pursuit, McKinley can be the ‘yin’ to the pass rushing ‘yang’ provided by edge rusher Vic Beasley.