It is that time again. As the Atlanta Falcons postseason run came to an end at the hands of the Philadelphia Eagles, and we've seen enough from the Atlanta Falcons to draw what needs to improve and where they need to shift their focus when it comes to the 2018 NFL Draft. The entire season was a roller coaster, so let's have a little fun with a full mock draft that will elevate an already talented team to potential heights.
Round 1, 26th Overall - Vita Vea, NT , Washington
How does a 6'5, 340 lbs brick wall next to underrated defensive tackle Grady Jarrett sound? That is exactly what the Falcons will get with the selection of Vea towards the end of the first round.
While some may feel that a true nose tackle at this point in the draft is somewhat of a reach, a prospect like Vea doesn’t come around often. Vea is massive and a much better athlete than many give him credit for. The loss of veteran Dontari Poe to free agency is a real possibility, and that void could be filled with the selection of the former Washington Husky.
Vea chases down an outside zone from the backside and swallows the USC running back for no gain.
Vea is obviously built like an 18-wheeler and with his natural strength, he is hard to move at the point of attack and can be the exact anchor the team needs to go along with the young nucleus on the Falcons defensive unit.
Round 2, 58th Overall - Anthony Miller, WR , Memphis
If you recall on my first mock draft a little over a month ago, I selected a wide receiver with the team's first round selection and that was met with mixed reviews. This season, starting slot receiver Taylor Gabriel has seen a notable drop-off in production from last season in what is a contract season. It is quite possible the team moves on from Gabriel and if they do, here is a talented fill-in.
Miller is extremely productive out of the University of Memphis with 234 receptions in three seasons including back-to-back 90+ catch seasons in 2016-17. During those two seasons, Miller also scored 31 receiving touchdowns. Again, the 5'11 receiver is a walking first down and while he is not known for his speed, he has plenty of quickness and elusiveness, his route-running is very sharp and his footwork would leave Mohamed Sanu highly impressed. He was one of my favorite players in college football and has garnered a few Antonio Brown comparisons for a reason.
Round 3, 91st Overall - Jayln Holmes, DL , Ohio State
The Falcons may be on the verge of losing a number of defensive linemen this offseason including veteran Adrian Clayborn, who is an upcoming free agent. So the Falcons will likely double dip in the draft at the position, and Atlanta may decide to snatch up a raw but highly intriguing prospect in Holmes. At 6'5 270 lbs, Holmes has the size that is similar to Clayborn and the skill set to be utilized in a similar fashion as well.
Holmes was part of a deep rotation the past four seasons for the Buckeyes and did not see a great abundance of playing time while in Columbus however, that does not deter from the fact that he is a versatile athlete that fits what Atlanta looks for in the defensive end role.
Round 4, 124th Overall - Will Clapp, G/C, LSU
The play of second-year guard Wes Schweitzer has seen a number of good moments and a few occasions where you're slapping your forehead in frustration. It is no given that the team will look for him to progress in 2018 and with 2017 fourth rounder Sean Harlow, a training camp battle is a possibility. So why the selection of Clapp? For starters, he's versatile (which should be your favorite word by now). Veteran center Alex Mack is one of the best in the business but he's not getting any younger. Neither is left guard Andy Levitre. At worst, Clapp provides more depth at two different positions along the offensive line and with his skill set, at 6'5 305 lbs, may be a key starter down the line. Offensive line depth is undervalued in today's game and you can never have too many reliable bodyguards for quarterback Matt Ryan.
Round 6, 200th Overall - Jamar Summers, CB , UConn
Yes, another corner. While some may oddly feel that the combination of Desmond Trufant and Robert Alford is not a reliable duo at corner, the Falcons are pretty stable at the corner position with those two along with slot corner Brian Poole. Add in Damontae Kazee seeing occasional time there and the Falcons have a skilled quartet. What the Falcons don't have at corner is size, which is what they had in Jalen Collins until the team decided he was no longer in the plans. With Summers, the Falcons get a 6-foot 200 pound corner with solid ball skills and a smooth ability in his technique. His overall technique needs development but he will have plenty of time to do so while also giving the team valuable special teams depth.
Round 7, 219th Overall - Steven Parker, S , Oklahoma
In the final round, the Falcons look to add more depth in the defensive secondary as well as add another possible reserve to the special teams. Parker is 6'1 safety out of the Oklahoma who was a four-year starter for the Sooners and was most often seen this past season as a reliable playmaker for them. Parker needs a nice amount of development but he can sit behind Keanu Neal and learn the game while also serve as a weapon on special teams.