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Falcoholic Roundtable: 2020 1st round mock draft

The Falcoholic staff make their first round draft selections.

Appalachian State v South Carolina Photo by Jacob Kupferman/Getty Images

We did it last year, and we’re back at it again this year ahead of the draft — welcome to the 2020 Falcoholic roundtable mock draft, where each writer will make his/her own personal selections for the Atlanta Falcons in the 2020 draft.

Here’s how this roundtable will work: each writer participating in this roundtable will put on their general manager hat to make their selection for the Falcons at pick 16, and they’ll provide a brief analysis as to why they selected that player. The selection has to be somebody whom the writer thinks will realistically be there at 16 — I’d love to select Chase Young but he’ll be long gone by the time Atlanta makes its pick.

We’ll assume that the team will stay at 16 with no trade-ups for the sake of not getting too convoluted (although knowing Thomas Dimitroff, a trade-up always seems to be in the cards).

We’ll do one of these roundtables for each of Atlanta’s first three selections. Expect to see our second round selections tomorrow.

Please note that this is not a prediction based exercise, we will not be predicting what the Falcons will do during the draft (that’s borderline impossible to do given just how unpredictable the selection is every year). We are instead going to pretend to take control of Atlanta’s front office and make the selections we want to see.

You’ll see the writer’s name in italics, followed by their selection in bold, and analysis in block quotes.

You can find last year’s first round mock here, second round mock here, and third round mock here.

Nobody’s selections matched what the Falcons did in the actual draft in 2019, although Cory did select Chris Lindstrom in the second round of his mock (he also successfully predicted that the Falcons would double dip on offensive line with their first two picks so great job Cory).

Adnan Ikic:

Round 1, Pick 16: C.J. Henderson (CB - Florida)

There’s been talk about C.J. Henderson climbing draft boards in the recent days, but I think he’ll end up being there for the taking at pick 16. Following the departure of Desmond Trufant, the Falcons have a desperate need for a cornerback who can start opposite Isaiah Oliver with Kendall Sheffield manning the slot CB role.

There seems to be a consensus that Henderson is the second best CB prospect in this draft after Ohio State’s Jeff Okudah, with a few scouts saying that he’s the best cover corner in the draft.

Henderson is blazing fast (he ran a 4.39 40-time) and plays with all of the instincts you would want in a CB. He also possesses the prototypical size and athleticism to succeed at the cornerback position at the next level.

My realistic dream scenario here is for Javon Kinlaw to be available and to get snatched up, but I don’t think he’ll make it to 16. The Falcons go with the next best option as a result - filling a premium need in the secondary and then looking to solidify the other parts of the defense in later days of the draft.

Dave Choate:

Round 1, Pick 16: C.J. Henderson (CB - Florida)

At the end of the day, the dizzying number of rumors this time of year make a final final pick daunting and embarrassingly likely to miss. Recognizing that, I’m going to stick with my pick in the SB Nation writers’ mock and snag C.J. Henderson from Florida.

The reasons are myriad. Henderson is from a program Dan Quinn is familiar with and still has a connection to; he’s got the size, speed, and athleticism to be an excellent fit in Quinn’s defense; and of course, the team has an absolutely massive need at cornerback that it has to address. Despite recent buzz about his draft stock, I still think it’s likely Henderson makes it to #16, and I think he’s too tempting a fit for this team to pass up.

It may not be my #1 choice, but it’d be tough to be disappointed in Henderson at #16.

Matt Chambers:

Round 1, Pick 16: Javon Kinlaw (DT - South Carolina)

We are flying blind a bit by not knowing who will be available at 16 but it seems likely that Kinlaw should be available. The Falcons failed to trade up in 2019 and missed out on presumed targets Ed Oliver and Christian Wilkins, leaving the interior defensive line again shortchanged outside of Grady Jarrett. Kinlaw is super talented and could become a critical piece of a great defensive line, and he can even take snaps on the edge. His versatility and the team’s weak tackle depth should put Kinlaw above other positions of need like corner.

Kevin Knight:

Round 1, Pick 16: Javon Kinlaw (DT - South Carolina)

Do I think Javon Kinlaw is particularly likely to be there at 16? No. I’d put the odds at around 50% at best. But there are enough moving parts in this draft class that it’s certainly possible, and if Kinlaw is on the board when the Falcons pick, he’ll always be my selection. Although I understand the thought process behind taking CB C.J. Henderson at this spot, I personally have Kinlaw higher on my board and think he’s the better value overall.

Javon Kinlaw would represent the first significant draft investment of the TD/Quinn regime at DT. Prior to this selection, the Falcons have selected just two DTs since 2015—Grady Jarrett in 2015 (5th) and Deadrin Senat in 2018 (3rd). However, we were told that Atlanta was after DT Christian Wilkins in 2019 and may have taken him over Chris Lindstrom had he not gone to the Dolphins. I believe the team is still interested in adding an impact DT in the 2020 draft—their lack of free agency moves at the position also suggest that—and the one with the best fit is Javon Kinlaw.

Kinlaw is an elite prospect with prototypical size, phenomenal strength, and impressive quickness. As a pass rusher, he has an extremely high ceiling, and with some work on his leverage he should have no problem dominating as a run-stuffer too. Technically, he’s still very raw and doesn’t have many pass rush moves in his arsenal. But Kinlaw is just scratching the surface of his potential. Pairing him long-term with Grady Jarrett could give the Falcons one of the most imposing interior duos in the NFL.

Evan Birchfield:

Round 1, Pick 16: Javon Kinlaw (DT - South Carolina)

There are three certainties in life: death, taxes and the Falcons drafting someone that most of us don’t expect. With that being said, I conducted a mock draft and made the selections based on what I want them to do and obviously who was available. There’s a real chance that the team could ultimately move up in the draft, which would mess up all of our mocks anyways, but here it goes.

Like a couple of my colleagues, I would prefer the Falcons sit tight at pick 16 and take defensive tackle Javon Kinlaw. He’s a powerful force that I would love to see lined up next to Grady Jarrett. Whether this actually happens or not is anybody’s guess right now.

Everett Glaze:

Round 1, Pick 16: Javon Kinlaw (DT - South Carolina)

I’ve gone back and forth about this pick. I know the Falcons can be madly unpredictable, but something tells me they go with strengthening the middle of the trenches. Also, given the connection between Coach Muschamp and Coach Quinn, I just think Quinn has been sold on the ability of Kinlaw to give this defense the difference maker it needs on the defensive line along with Grady Jarrett and Dante Fowler.

I, like many here, would prefer that the Falcons stand pat and 16 and get the defensive best player available. I actually believe Kinlaw could fall to 16 given there are runs at positions such as OT, WR, and QB early.

Cory Woodroof:

Round 1, Pick 16: K’Lavon Chaisson (LB - LSU)

I’ve started to wonder recently if Chaisson, the once and future king of 2020 Falcons mock drafts, really might be the obvious pick staring at us all along.

Chaisson is the prototypical Falcons defender; he’s fast, athletic, has a high motor, was known for his character and work ethic and played for a Power 5 school (last season, the Power 5 school). The team could pair him with Dante Fowler and have a pass rush laden with potential for the next few seasons, a stark difference from what Falcons fans are used to having, really ever.

Javon Kinlaw is in my heart, but the Falcons have only drafted the player in my heart for them, like, twice (Jake Matthews, Vic Beasley; it was good couple of years). Chaisson feels like the kind of player they historically love and might’ve been the obvious answer in disguise all along, and he’s not atop my board of hoped-for prospects. In my scenario and likely in life, Kinlaw is long gone by now, and Chaisson is the best option ahead.

I think Henderson buzz might be a bit of a rouse, if only because I’m not sure the Falcons can spend a top pick on a player folks feel may have tackling issues. The team has had their fare share of those in recent years, and they haven’t seemed to always be able to shake them off the players who struggle with them.

Round 1, Pick TBD: Player to be named at a later date (Position - Whatever School University)

It’s best to approach these things when it comes to the Falcons with an open mind and no expectations whatsoever. As a draft nerd, that makes the draft so much more intriguing. Over time, we’ve seen rumors of the Falcons trading up in top-10, staying in place at 16, and even trading back in the latter half of the first round.

I feel quite confident that the Falcons will walk away with a player in the first round that many may not have expected. Just take a look at the Falcons blueprint of drafting during the Dimitroff era and you will see that the team has very rarely grabbed a prospect that many expected them to. So my pick for round one for the Falcons will be any defensive prospect not named Javon Kinlaw, K’Lavon Chaisson, C.J. Henderson, or Kristian Fulton. Not saying I would not appreciate any of those prospects, I just expect the Falcons to do their own thing.