I know you may not want to hear this, but it is mock draft season. We already have a full seven rounder to enjoy, courtesy of Bleacher Report’s Matt Miller, and is undoubtedly time to start thinking about who the Atlanta Falcons will come away with when they make their six selections in April.
And look, before we get into this, let’s acknowledge something: Matt Miller is not everyone’s favorite analyst. I’ve been less than thrilled with the way he’s pumped up certain players over the years, for example. But his mocks are no worse (and often better, actually) than Mel Kiper or Todd McShay’s, and I think you’ll particularly like this one.
Onward! This draft class addresses the trenches well, while adding an interesting talent at wide receiver along the way. I’d be pretty happy if things unfolded this way a few months from now.
Round 1: Isaiah Wynn, G, Georgia
Wynn was one of the most impressive offensive linemen at the Senior Bowl, and he looks like he’d be an awesome fit at guard for these Falcons with his quick feet, obvious strength, and technical ability. He’ll be kicking over from left tackle to guard in the pros, but he’d be an instant starter for Atlanta and a likely immediate upgrade over Wes Schweitzer. It’s not difficult to understand why the Falcons might be intrigued by adding him to the roster, and certainly Bulldog fans like it.
Round 2: Da’Shawn Hand, DT, Alabama
This is one of those scary but potentially productive picks that is based more on potential than results. Hand is big, strong, and surprisingly fast, and he has the mass to play defensive tackle and is quick enough to play end.
Hand was not as productive or as #elite at Alabama as his measurables and obvious talent would suggest, which means he’ll need a little coaching up at the NFL level. He could be an impact defensive lineman in relatively short order, though, so this feels like a worthwhile selection for Atlanta.
Round 3: Tyquan Lewis, DE, Ohio State
An intriguing pick, if Lewis is available in the third round. I’m a bit iffy on that.
Lewis is a good athlete who has been asset against the run for his entire college career, and has consistently gotten pressure on quarterbacks by utilizing his innate speed and power. For what it’s worth, he was also productive in each of his last three seasons, putting up at least seven sacks and 9.5 tackles for loss in each of those campaigns. He doesn’t have elite burst, however, and doesn’t always win with stellar technique. Some have talked up the possibility of him gaining weight to play defensive tackle, apparently, but to me his best fit will be end.
Round 4: Anthony Miller, WR, Memphis
There is very little chance that Miller is here, to be blunt. He was a hyper-productive college wideout who has pretty terrific awareness and hands and has frequently shown he can get open downfield. He doesn’t have tremendous size, but he does basically everything well, and it’s a little bit of a shock to see him sitting here in the fourth round.
If Miller was sitting there for the Falcons in the fourth round, though, I’d be thrilled to land him. View this with skepticism, however.
Round 6: D’Montre Wade, CB, Murray State
Wade has all the classic markers of a late round Dan Quinn/Thomas Dimitroff cornerback, which is probably why Miller has him going here. Wade’s a big guy at 6’0”, 200 pounds, he was an absolute ballhawk in his senior season, and yes, he’s a senior. Wade isn’t the fastest player and there will be some questions about his stiffness in coverage, but his size, instincts and physicality make him an interesting possibility for Atlanta late in this draft class. He’d be the team’s fifth cornerback but might be able to eventually climb.
Round 7: Zachary Crabtree, OT, Oklahoma State
This might be another situation where a player is being ranked too low by Miller. Crabtree has size at 6’6”, 318 pounds, but he also moves well for a man that size. Unsurprisingly, that’s about as robust a scouting report as you’ll get out of me in early February, but it would not be a surprise to see the Falcons pick up a developmental tackle late given that Ty Sambrailo’s a free agent after 2018.
What do you think of this haul?