The Atlanta Falcons are about a week away from adding a new first rounder to the fold, and the mocks keep coming in with different ideas.
NFL.com’s draft expert Daniel Jeremiah is not one to send out too many mock drafts and is plugged-in, so he’s a voice you want to listen to when it comes to who your team might take.
The player he’s given to the Falcons in his most recent mock draft is, well, not probably who you were hoping to see.
He sends LSU CB Greedy Williams to Atlanta in this latest mock.
The Falcons need an upgrade in their secondary. Williams offers an intriguing mix of size and playmaking ability.
Okay, we’ll be honest. The doomsday scenario around Falcons Twitter (TM) seems to be the team using a first-round pick on a cornerback, particularly when reliable veteran and starter Desmond Trufant is in the middle of his extension with no easy escape this year (and only a slightly easier one next year) and second-round pick Isaiah Oliver flashed oodles of potential last season and is being slotted in to take over for Robert Alford.
The slot position has been said to be headed to Damontae Kazee, who showed great improvement and promise in coverage and was tied as a league-leading interception machine (7) at free safety.
With Blidi Wreh-Wilson back in the fold and versatile second-year man Ryan Neal in the fold, it’s fair to wonder exactly where Williams would fit for now.
Unless you’re drafting a developmental quarterback, you draft starters with your first rounder. If the team does indeed take a cornerback, it signals one of three things.
One, the future of Trufant is in flux. He’s entrenched for 2019, but could hypothetically be released in 2020 as a post-June 1 cut and release about $10 million in cap space (per OTC).
Two, the team is not confident in Oliver to take a starting spot for now, which would be deeply concerning, considering they were rumored to contemplate using their first-round pick on him last spring. This one doesn’t feel as likely, as Oliver has proven he’s got the possibility to be a sound starter in the NFL.
The third would be the team splurging on a slot corner with their first pick, which would be interesting. It’d relegate Kazee to either a premiere third safety role in depth or as a rotational cornerback, but his 2018 makes you really ponder why the team wouldn’t want to keep him on the field. You don’t bench a player who ties for the yearly interception record.
The most likely scenario for this pick would be door one. Door two is really not one we want to consider right now, and door three just doesn’t make a ton of sense.
We’ve not even talked about Williams as the pick since we’re still trying to grasp how this would be possible in the first place, especially considering the desperate need for more high-caliber talent in the trenches.
D. Orlando Ledbetter of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution recently drafted the LSU corner to Atlanta in his fourth mock, providing this reasoning.
He’s long and fast, but his tape doesn’t show that he’s a willing tackler. The Falcons will believe they can remedy his tackling issues. “Sometimes you can miss a tackle here or there, but he hasn’t been interested,” NFL Network analyst Daniel Jeremiah said. “Hanging on blocks and not really making an effort at times.”
Our head honcho Dave Choate just asked this question of drafting a corner, offering these thoughts on Williams as the pick.
The first name to know is Greedy Williams, who will fulfill his destiny as both a cornerback selection and an LSU pick, given that Dan Quinn has nabbed one of those in every draft class he’s been involved in. He has the length, coverage skills, and ball skills to be great, but he’s not the most physical cornerback, nor the most natural at tracking the ball in the air. If selected, Williams might work his way into a starter’s role, but he’d be expected to be the team’s #1 cornerback eventually.
Essentially, the consensus is he’s a project with a ton of potential that might not play a ton at first. It’s incredibly fair to outwardly suggest that the Falcons need surer bets right now and have taken on too many unfulfilled projects over the years, and that this is not the year to splurge on another skill player.
It’d not be a bad pick, per se, but it feels unnecessary, particularly when they could grab just about as good of a player in the second round, or maybe even more of a suitable developmental corner in the third.
If this be where we’re headed, consider this Falcoholic perplexed. But Williams would certainly be the guy to take if this is where they’re headed, considering his potential.
Is this really the year to take a corner first? We’ll find out soon enough.