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2020 NFL mock draft: Falcons focus on the DL and make Georgia fans happy in Dane Brugler’s 7 rounder

The Falcons don’t sweat cornerback in this one.

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NFL Combine - Day 3 Photo by Michael Hickey/Getty Images

It’s mock draft season for a little longer, so we may as well embrace it.

Today, I wanted to take a closer look at a 7 round mock from The Athletic’s Dane Brugler. He’s a savvy draft analyst who generally puts in the work to understand team needs, so I was looking forward to seeing who he gave the Falcons in his latest mock effort.

Here’s the haul Brugler came away with:

Round 1, #16: DE K’Lavon Chaisson, LSU

Round 2, #47: DT Jordan Elliott, Missouri

Round 3, #78: QB Jake Fromm, Georgia

Round 4, #119: RB/WR Antonio Gibson, Memphis

Round 4, #143: CB Darnay Holmes, UCLA

Round 7, #228: WR Quintez Cephus, Wisconsin

At first glance, this class hits all the right notes. The Falcons walk away with two potential difference makers on the defensive line in Chaisson and Elliott, a longterm developmental QB in Fromm, a pair of intriguing potential playmakers in Gibson and Cephus, and a promising reserve cornerback who could push to start down the line. There’s plenty of talent in that group, for certain, and there would be zero complaints from me if Chaisson was the pick at #16, so long as Kinlaw wasn’t on the board.

The problem is that it leaves the Falcons with some major, major holes that they’ll have to address through free agency bargain shopping. Holmes simply is not ready to step into a major role in the cornerback group, putting more pressure on Isaiah Oliver, Kendall Sheffield, and possibly Damontae Kazee to step up and play at a high level. In this scenario, the Falcons don’t address the backup center or guard picture at all, and they don’t touch linebacker, a position where they’re still quite thin. Their net additions on offense are two potential playmakers—always welcome but hardly necessary given their talent level—and a reserve quarterback who may or may not actually be more promising than Danny Etling and Kurt Benkert. I’m sure that last point is going to be pretty divisive, but I’d suggest it’s fair.

Given the team’s needs, both present and future, that doesn’t feel like the best use of their draft capital.

While there are plenty of intriguing players in this hypothetical class, I think I’d prefer the Falcons went in a different direction at the end of the day. If they do wind up hitting the defensive line hard early, I’d be more than fine with it so long as they prioritize their later additions differently.