From the moment we learned that the Falcons had shown real interest in Youngstown State pass rusher Derek Rivers, I’ve thought there was a strong chance he’d wind up being an option for the Falcons. Originally I thought it would be the second round, but seeing his draft stock rising in the run-up to the draft and the fact that the Falcons are never afraid to go early for players they love, I now think he could be in play at #31.
Enter the annual SB Nation NFL mock draft, where representatives from all 32 team sites select players for their favorite teams. As you might guess, I landed Rivers. The short version of why is that Rivers offers one of the better blends of athleticism, character, and upside out of what was available here, and I personally put the need for a pass rusher higher than a guard. That’s why I passed on Forrest Lamp, which I suspect will be a little bit controversial. Here’s everyone who has been drafted thus far.
For the full writeup and more analysis, check out Dan Kadar at Mocking The Draft. Here’s a reminder about who I’ve wound up with in years past. You’ll notice a heavy bias toward ends and pass rushers over the years, but if the Falcons make the Rivers pick (or land another capable pass rusher), it’ll probably be the last time I do so for a while.
2016: DE Shaq Lawson | S Keanu Neal
2015: DE Randy Gregory | CB/S Eric Rowe
2014: LB Khalil Mack | T Morgan Moses
2013: DE Tank Carradine | CB David Amerson
2012: RB David Wilson
2011: DE/LB Justin Houston | T Marcus Gilbert
2010: LB Sean Weatherspoon
2009: ILB James Laurinitis | S Michael Hamlin
2008: T Jake Long | QB Joe Flacco | DT Kentwan Balmer | CB Tracy Porter | RB Tony Hunt