We’re in the middle of mock draft season and SB Nation just dropped its latest one, 10 days out from the real thing.
I could go through and analyze the entire first-round mock draft but let’s be honest with ourselves; the main thing we all care about is what’s happening with the Falcons and that No. 14 pick. Clemson defensive tackle Christian Wilkins is selected by Atlanta in this particular mock:
14. Atlanta Falcons: Christian Wilkins, DT, Clemson
Offseason needs: Defensive tackle, cornerback, tight end, pass rusher
One of the high-end right tackles in this draft, like Jawaan Taylor of Florida or Cody Ford of Oklahoma, may be in play here. It’s just hard to argue passing on Wilkins. We’ve talked all offseason about the Falcons needing a defensive tackle. In the deepest tackle class in years, Wilkins is too good to pass up.
Montez Sweat is gone to the Giants at No. 6, Brian Burns is selected by Detroit at No. 8, and Ed Oliver is a Buffalo Bill at No. 9 (the three players at the top of my personal wish list in this draft). That leaves Atlanta to choose between Wilkins, fellow Clemson defensive lineman Clelin Ferrell, and every offensive lineman other than Jonah Williams (who went to Jacksonville at No. 7).
Wilkins is a very solid pick who can slot into the starting DT role next to Grady Jarrett immediately. He would give Atlanta a formidable collection of defensive tackles, especially after the recent signing of Tyeler Davison. He’s a good run stuffer and a proficient, albeit unspectacular, pass rusher who would have plenty of room to work, with Jarrett commanding most of the attention from the opposing offensive line.
Wilkins doesn’t deploy a diverse variety of counter-moves in the pass rush when his initial attack is stifled, but we’re used to seeing that after watching Vic Beasley in a Falcons uniform for four seasons. Unlike with Beasley, however, we wouldn’t be looking for anything more than adequacy in getting to the QB with Wilkins, since pass rushing wouldn’t be the only thing asked of him.
If the draft does shake out the way SB Nation is projecting it to, I wouldn’t be upset at all if the Falcons took Wilkins, although I’d personally rather take a right tackle in that scenario. Either way, both sides of the trenches must continue to be addressed.