We are now less than a week from the Falcons adding more talent to the Brotherhood. The Falcons have a variety of directions they may possibly go in the draft. From defensive line, to running back to wide receiver to defensive back, the Falcons have a wide range of possibilities in this draft which makes it even more interesting. So let’s get started with my final mock draft for the Falcons.
Round 1, 26th Overall - Taven Bryan, DT , Florida
I have been back and forth over the past month between Bryan and Michigan defensive tackle Maurice Hurst late in the first round for the Falcons. Either player would be a great addition to the Falcons defensive line. Bryan may be the best option between the two based on his size advantage (6’4 295 lbs for Bryan, 6’2 282 for Hurst), his 3-cone advantage (7.12, 7.74), and his short shuttle advantage (4.48, 4.62) which shows he has more of an explosive edge.
Again, either selection would fit to what the Falcons could use along the defensive line. Bryan is powerful and his stout frame with noticeable length enhances the interior for the Falcons. Along with the occasional option as a strong-side defensive end on run downs.
Round 2, 58th Overall - Anthony Miller, WR , Memphis
Yes. I am back on the bandwagon for a couple of reasons. For one, outside of defensive line, there really is no must have or glaring need for the Falcons and they could have a ‘best player available’-like approach for the draft. Second, I truly think that Anthony Miller has superstar potential.
Miller was productive during his three seasons at Memphis with 238 catches and 40 total touchdowns in three full seasons. He possesses very excellent footwork and short-area quickness that will give cornerbacks and other defenders fits. His razor-sharp route running falls in line quite well with veterans Julio Jones and Mohamed Sanu. He may not necessarily have the game-breaking speed that former Falcon Taylor Gabriel has but with his skill set, getting open will not be an issue. Miller can truly help elevate an already talented offense.
Round 3, 90th Overall - Nathan Shepherd, NT , Fort Hays State
The Falcons will in all likelihood double-dip at the defensive tackle position, and here is their answer to the void at the nose tackle position. Shepherd is a raw prospect from the Division II level and at 6’5 315-lbs, has enough raw skills to warrant a pick at this point in the draft.
On film, Shepherd has more than enough athleticism and upside to fit right in next to Grady Jarrett and the drafted Bryan to form dangerous trio on the interior. Shepherd earned MIAA Defensive Player of the Year this past season with 38 tackles, 12.5 tackles for loss, and four sacks. His active hands, constant movement of his feet, and violent nature brings incredible potential to the Brotherhood.
Round 4, 126th Overall - DJ Reed, CB , Kansas State
An interesting and underrated talent, Reed is often overlooked because of his height/size not being ideal in many NFL circles. However, slap on the film, and you will see a corner that has the ball skills to make spectacular interceptions and timely pass deflections. He also possesses good speed and impressive athleticism. The height (5’9) may scare off some but the 2017 All-Big 12 selectee can be an upgrade over nickel corner Brian Poole. Did I mention that he brings special teams value with a 32.2 career punt return average?
Round 6, 200th Overall - Kylie Fitts, DE , Utah
Once again, the defensive line is addressed with the selection of Fitts here. A 6’4 prospect that checks off the boxes in terms of athleticism that the Falcons look for in their pass rushers. His 6.88 3-cone drill results is what stands out for Fitts. What also stands out is his lack of production thanks to a notable injury history. However, with better health and a pair of coaches such as Quinn and defensive line coach Bryant Young, Fitts could be molded into a key pass rusher for the Falcons.
Round 7, 244th Overall - Malik Williams, RB , Louisville
It is still up in the air as to whether or not the team will be able to re-sign running back Tevin Coleman in the offseason next year. Whether they do or not, the team has shown slight interest in upgrading the RB3 position on the depth chart. Williams is a tall ball carrier at 6’3 and brings a physical run style that makes defenders think twice about taking him on full steam. Williams could be a useful body on the roster at running back and possibly special teams.
Round 7, 256th Overall - Afolabi Laguda, S , Colorado
The Falcons choose to make a physical strong safety the last pick of the draft. Laguda will likely be looked upon as a special teams add thanks to his good NFL size and the fact that he does not bring a ton to the safety position at the present moment. However, that does not in any way take away from the fact that he can be a much needed chess piece on a special teams unit that was in need of athletes this past season.