The initial round of free agency signings are behind us, and we have a much better idea of the Falcons positional needs heading into the 2020 NFL Draft. With the additions of Dante Fowler, Todd Gurley, and Hayden Hurst and the cut of Desmond Trufant, Atlanta’s top targets may have shifted somewhat. The team still needs pass rushing help, but CB may have overtaken EDGE as the biggest need on the roster. Will the team still prioritize RB with the addition of Gurley (and Brian Hill, who was given an RFA tender)?
I’ve also got another surprise in store for you: TRADES. We all know Dimitroff can’t resist the allure of moving around in the draft, and today’s mock draft will reflect a possible scenario. For this mock draft simulation, I used The Draft Network’s excellent Mock Draft Machine to pick for the other 31 teams. Check out my picks below, and if you’ve missed any of my previous mocks, you can find them here:
TRADE DOWN — Round 1, Pick 22: EDGE K’Lavon Chaisson, LSU
Falcons trade pick 16 to the Minnesota Vikings for picks 22, 89, and 105.
The Vikings, now armed with additional picks from the Stefon Diggs trade, pounce on the chance to add a falling Andrew Thomas—who would be OT1 in some classes—to bolster a struggling offensive line. Atlanta trades down to pick 22, and adds two additional third rounders in 89 and 105.
The Falcons still manage to add one of their top targets in LSU’s K’Lavon Chaisson despite the trade down. While the team was likely hoping for one of the top CB prospects to fall (C.J. Henderson went at 13, while Kristian Fulton, Jeff Gladney, and Noah Igbinoghene all went between 17-20), they have to be pretty happy with getting a high-upside EDGE prospect—who will get the chance to be the third EDGE and develop behind Dante Fowler and Takk McKinley—after gaining two Day 2 picks. Here’s how I’ve previously described Chaisson’s skillset:
Chaisson certainly looks the part of a prototypical NFL pass rusher at 6’4, 250. He’s an incredible athlete with explosive burst, excellent flexibility, and surprising ability to convert speed-to-power. While he’s been an elite speed rusher in college, Chaisson is also one of the most technically sound and consistent run defenders in the class—something that Vic Beasley was never able to add to his game. Like most college pass rushers, Chaisson still needs to add more moves to his arsenal. At just 20 years old and coming off a vastly improved 2019 season, all signs point to Chaisson’s best years coming in the NFL. Chaisson could be the player that Vic Beasley was supposed to be—and unlike Beasley, Chaisson can play effectively on all three downs.
Round 2, Pick 47: CB A.J. Terrell, Clemson
If the Falcons pass on a CB with their first pick, they absolutely must address the position in Round 2. Thankfully, there are a number of quality Day 2 prospects to choose from in this range. Atlanta gets lucky in this scenario, with Clemson’s A.J. Terrell still available at pick 47. While Terrell has some warts to his game—particularly in zone coverage—he’s got the build Dan Quinn looks for in his outside corners and can start from day 1. Here’s what I wrote about Terrell in a previous mock draft:
A.J. Terrell is an excellent man coverage prospect with ideal size (6’1, 190) for the position and exceptional athletic ability. He’s confident playing both press and off-coverage and is physical at the catch point. Terrell is a fluid, easy mover who can shut down a wide range of route combinations with his strong footwork. He doesn’t have as much experience in zone—though I don’t see any reason why he couldn’t develop there—and while he’s a willing tackler, his technique can be sloppy at times. Still, Terrell would be excellent value at this point in the draft and would provide competition for Oliver and long-term insurance for Trufant.
TRADE UP — Round 3, Pick 70: LB Jordyn Brooks, Texas Tech
Falcons trade picks 78 and 143 to the Miami Dolphins for pick 70.
You didn’t really think that Thomas Dimitroff could resist trading up at some point, did you? With the Falcons having a big need at LB and a quartet of LB-needy teams just ahead of them in the third round, Atlanta pulls off a small trade-up to get their favorite prospect. For me, that player is Texas Tech’s Jordyn Brooks. He’s an elite athlete at the position, as his 4.54-second 40-yard dash (89th %) can attest, and would be an ideal long-term partner for Deion Jones. Here’s how I described Brooks’ skillset in a prior mock draft:
Brooks is a tremendous athlete with good size for the LB position at 6’0, 240. His range is exceptional and he’s got a ton of experience in coverage. Strong leadership qualities and physicality coupled with a non-stop motor make him a blast to watch on tape. Brooks does have issues stacking and shedding blocks, but his ability to read plays generally helps him take advantageous angles to the ball. He’s a perfect fit in Dan Quinn’s defense next to Deion Jones and would give Atlanta a super athletic LB duo for years to come.
Round 3, Pick 89: S Jeremy Chinn, Southern Illinois
With the first of their two additional picks from the Vikings, the Falcons elect to target the best defensive player available. Southern Illinois safety Jeremy Chinn checks all the boxes for a Dan Quinn prospect: ridiculous athletic ability, versatility, and high character. At 6’3, 221, Chinn has the potential to take on a “moneybacker” role: a kind of hybrid LB/S, “big nickel” player for the Falcons. He’d also provide strong depth behind Keanu Neal for 2020 and beyond. Here’s what I wrote about Chinn in a past mock draft:
Chinn is an absolute playmaker in both run defense and the passing game. He’s a physical presence against the run who can make plays from a variety of spots, and is very comfortable when lined up in the box. Chinn’s ball production in coverage is impressive: he’s piled up 13 interceptions and 31 pass deflections during his four-year career. He’s currently much more comfortable in zone than in man, however, and there are questions about where his long-term NFL fit is.
Round 3, Pick 105: C/G Tyler Biadasz, Wisconsin
The second of the picks the Falcons got via trade from the Vikings goes towards bolstering the offensive line. It seems like Tyler Biadasz’s stock is dropping more and more by the day. Teams have concerns about his most recent injuries, and measuring in at the Combine with just 32 1/4” arms certainly isn’t going to help things. Biadasz is a risky addition, but has the upside of a high-end starter at center if he can return to full health. He’ll have the opportunity to do that behind Alex Mack in 2020. Here’s how I described Biadasz’s game:
Biadasz has good size for a center at 6’4, 321, and has showed off some impressive athleticism in the past. As a three-year starter at Wisconsin, Biadasz has extensive experience and has shown well-developed technique in both pass protection and run blocking. However, his play suffered considerably this season—he just didn’t look like himself for much of the year. It seems pretty clear to me that this is a consequence of his injury and not a drop-off in actual talent. Drafting him is a gamble, as he may never return to his previously dominant self, but I think it’s a gamble worth taking for the Falcons in the third round.
Round 4, Pick 119: DT Larrell Murchison, NC State
With the Falcons re-signing Tyeler Davison, the team is fairly set in terms of run defending DTs with Deadrin Senat also on the roster—and the versatile Allen Bailey apparently returning as well. What the Falcons are missing is another interior pass rushing specialist, which is exactly what they can get from NC State DT Larrell Murchison. At 6’2, 294, Murchison is a little on the small side for DT but has a lot of upside as a high-motor penetrating 3T in the Falcons scheme. I covered Murchison in my DT prospect preview, and here’s how I described his game:
Murchison has a strong first step and impressive lateral mobility skills for a player of his size. He’s got strong hands and generally uses them well. Overall power and ability to hold up at the point-of-attack, particularly against NFL size, is a concern. However, Murchison’s motor and attitude as a player give me confidence in his ability to add weight and improve his technique. There’s a lot of development that needs to happen before Murchison can carve out a starting role, but he’s also got a fair amount of upside for an early-Day 3 DT candidate.
Round 7, Pick 228: WR Binjimen Victor, Ohio State
With the Falcons trading away their fifth-round pick to the Ravens for Hayden Hurst and their sixth-round pick to the Eagles for a dumb reason, over 100 picks will take place before Atlanta makes their final selection. The team uses it to secure their top pick of the likely UDFA WRs in Ohio State’s Binjimen Victor, a high-upside developmental player who could end up being a steal this late in the draft. I covered Victor in my WR prospect preview—here’s a description of his skillset:
Victor is a smooth route runner with solid overall athletic ability and an impressive frame to build on (6’4, 199). He’s a developmental option at this point, but he’s got a lot of the ingredients to be a long-term WR4 for a team who can play well both from the slot and on the outside. I love his hands and his ability to make plays in traffic, and he tracks the ball very well downfield. Victor is surprisingly good after the catch, as well, and has the attitude and length to develop into a strong blocker in time. At only 199 pounds, Victor clearly needs to bulk up and add to his frame. With some added physicality, I think Victor has a good chance to develop into a quality contributor and special teams player in the NFL.
What are your thoughts on this mock draft scenario for the Falcons? Would you like to see the team trade up or down in the 2020 NFL Draft? Who are some players you’d like to see Atlanta target throughout the draft?