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2018 mock draft: The Falcons land their defensive tackle

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Yes, it’s way too early, but here’s where Atlanta is headed.

NCAA Football: Jacksonville State at Auburn John Reed-USA TODAY Sports

If you are like most of us, you do not even want to think about next year’s draft until the calendar changes over to 2018, and perhaps even later. Nonetheless, this is the time when the first 2018 mock drafts trickle out, and we are duty bound to regard them curiously.

We begin with this one from SB Nation’s Dan Kadar, who is one of our favorite draft analysts. He took a look at the Falcons roster, figured out the likely 2018 weaknesses for the team, and gave them one of the better defensive tackles in the class.

27. Atlanta Falcons: Byron Cowart, DT, Auburn

The Falcons may have gotten pass rusher Takk McKinley in the first round, but Dontari Poe is on just a one-year deal and Ra’Shede Hageman is in the final year of his contract. After a difficult first two years at Auburn, Cowart is moving to tackle this season and coaches and teammates are saying he’s a greatly improved player.

There is inevitably some projection involved here, given that Cowart is moving to the position, but he’s a legitimate talent. Atlanta may find that defensive tackle is their single biggest need next season if Dontari Poe and Ra’Shede Hageman wind up elsewhere, so this is a solid choice so long as Cowart adapts well to his move.

Please do note that Kadar does not have the Falcons winning the Super Bowl, which is my only real gripe here. If you’re up for it, talk about the players you’d like to see in Atlanta in 2018.