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Atlanta Falcons 2020 Mock Draft 6.0

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Eric’s final swing at how the Falcons 2020 draft may play out.

Penn State v Minnesota Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images

NFL free agency has shaped the Atlanta Falcons depth chart considerably. The Falcons have improved their pass rush a bit with the signing of former Ram Dante Fowler Jr. An interesting trade with the Baltimore Ravens adds an athletic tight end that has untapped potential. A former Georgia Bulldog is now bringing his talents to the Falcons with hopes of taking the offense to dominating heights.

One thing is for sure about the Falcons and their draft history: The decision makers quite often go against the popular vote from the fanbase and select who they feel fits their roster. Regardless of round, regardless of perceived value.

From Keanu Neal to Calvin Ridley to even the drafting of Chris Lindstrom and Kaleb McGary. With that being said, this latest attempt at a mock draft is based on my beliefs that the team is leaning thanks to rumors and draft tidbits here and there. In other words, buckle up. After a busy free agency period, let’s dive into my final mock draft before the real thing kicks off in a few weeks.

Round 1, 19th Overall (Falcons trades 2020 1st rounder/16th overall to Las Vegas for 2020 1st rounder/19th overall and 2020 3rd rounder/81st overall) - Antoine Winfield Jr., S , Minnesota

Yep. History says that the Falcons will go against the grain and select who they believe to be difference makers with a blind eye towards the perception of “reaching.” This pick is very reminiscent of the 2016 NFL Draft, when the Falcons selected safety Keanu Neal at 17th overall despite the majority proclaiming that Neal was a second rounder based on his skill set.

Is free safety a huge need? No. But neither was the selection of Ridley back in 2018. When the Falcons have their sights set on a player, they pounce. Winfield will undoubtedly add arguably the biggest trait for a free safety: range.

Winfield showed during his collegiate career to be a playmaker on defense with a nose for making a game-changing turnover. The Falcons have not had a free safety with legitimate range and instincts and his ability mirrors a certain former Seahawk safety that Dan Quinn is very familiar with. Adding Winfield will alleviate the pass rushing woes a little and help solve the lack of turnovers the unit has produced as of late. A move such as this is also the result of my belief that their top choices (K’Lavon Chaisson, Javon Kinlaw) won’t be available by 16th overall.

Round 2, 47th Overall - Curtis Weaver, DE , Boise State

In my earlier set of mock drafts, I projected Weaver to be taken off the board in the second round and now I’m resorting back to it. The signing of Fowler was just one step in improving the pass rushing issues for the Falcons but thanks to the departure of Adrian Clayborn and Jack Crawford, the team is lacking reliable talent across the defensive line.

Weaver is a very productive prospect with 34 sacks and 47.5 tackles for loss during his three seasons with Boise State. He also had a scheduled pre-draft workout with the Falcons but thanks to COVID-19, that opportunity was a wash. Nonetheless, Weaver shows solid movement skills and very active hands. He also provides the flexibility that the Falcons mainly look for in their lineman.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: SEP 06 Marshall at Boise State Photo by Tyler Ingham/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Round 3, 78th Overall - Bryce Hall, CB , Virginia

The need for another corner to round out the entire group is still prevalent for the Falcons. The departure of veteran corner Desmond Trufant left a void on the roster. Despite the improved play from Isaiah Oliver and Kendall Sheffield as the season progressed. The selection of Winfield earlier in the draft allows for the nickel defense to insert Ricardo Allen or Damontae Kazee in the slot.

But in the long term, it will be best for the team to form a young trio going forward with size and speed. Hall had an ugly ankle injury during the 2019 season but he is on track to be ready to go by training camp. The mixing and matching in the secondary along with Winfield will allow for Hall to gradually progress and develop. Over the last two seasons, Hall played 29% of his snaps in Cover-3, which is the most out of every coverage Virginia deployed. Hall was considered a first-round pick prior to last season and this would be tremendous value.

Round 3, 81st Overall (from LVR) - Matt Hennessy, C/G, Temple

Last offseason for the Falcons was a busy one in terms of attempting to upgrade the offensive line. They handed out free agency money to veterans Jaron Brown and James Carpenter and were met with mixed results at best. So it’s no secret that the interior offensive line is in need of a little reinforcement.

With the second of two 3rd-round picks, another luxury pick is made. The Falcons met with Hennessy at the Senior Bowl and had a formal meeting at the NFL Combine so they are quite familiar with him. Hennessy is a refined blocker at the center position and can provide spot duty a little in case the Falcons need to insert him at the left guard spot. Veteran center Alex Mack is on the last year of his 5-year deal and will turn 34 during the season. This is a draft-and-stash move for the Falcons that will allow Hennessy to be reserve in year one and get handed the mantle in 2021.

Round 4, 119th Overall - Mykal Walker, LB , Fresno State

This is the stage of the draft where most teams look to add developmental pieces and shore up depth. For the Falcons, the linebacker position is looking a little limited outside of projected staters Deion Jones and Foye Oluokun.

Adding a prospect such as Walker here shores up depth at both middle linebacker and the strong-side linebacker position, depending on how the Falcons choose to line up. Walker was a versatile defender for the Bulldogs with 138 tackles, 22.5 tackles for loss and 6.5 sacks in two seasons as a starter for Fresno State. At worst, Walker can be a special teams cog. Best case scenario is Walker getting developed by linebackers coach Jeff Ulbrich and possibly vie for a starters role besides Jones in 2021.

New Mexico State v Arkansas Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images

Round 4, 134th Overall - McTelvin Agim, DT , Arkansas

Productivity across the defensive line is the focal point here. While the Falcons have the luxury of seeing defensive tackle Grady Jarrett every Sunday, adding another athletic interior lineman beside him can be a definite boost. Agim is a shade under 310 pounds and is equipped with short area quickness and explosiveness out of his stance that rivals Jarrett. Agim even offers a bit of ability to possibly man the 5-Tech spot on early run downs. The Falcons defensive scheme is all about mixing and matching and placing defenders in various areas throughout a contest. Agim allows the Falcons to have more athleticism on the interior, which is a legitimate nuisance to opposing quarterbacks.

Round 7, 228th Overall - Quez Watkins, WR , Southern Mississippi

To close out their draft, the addition of a speedy Conference USA receiver is the selection here. Watkins posted a blazing 4.35 40-yard dash at the NFL Combine and it is quite visible on film. In the open field, Watkins is dangerous and a potential house call as a deep threat. His thin frame and route running skills require work but the potential that Watkins has is enough to take a swing at him with possible hopes of adding to the offense and the return game on special teams.