Pre-Free Agency Mock Draft 1

I will preface this by saying I expect the team to address offensive line issues in free agency, and I will not do a mock with a draft trade in place until much later in the offseason. Also, we need more than just the trenches. We are depleted across the board, so there is no use honing in too hard on any position. Naturally the other factor to keep in mind is I can only draft what is available too me. I can't simply say I want a guy and he be there. I have done over 50 mocks at this point and landed on a good set of picks that would address multiple issues, both on offense and defense. My goal is to bring in as many starting caliber players as possible, considering position to some extent. This is what I came up with:

Round 1, Pick 8: David Ojabo (OLB, U of Michigan)- I considered this too high for him until a couple of days ago and then realized if Ojabo was in last years draft with this exact same skillset he would have been a top 10 pick. He is not just a pass rush specialist, he is a strip sack specialist. Maybe the best I have seen coming out of college since....Beasley. Good thing he is prototypical size for a 3-4 OLB at 250lbs and not a 225lb OLB like Beasley was. I think you put him on our team with Pees calling some plays and he instantly becomes a viable pass rush threat, which opens up a lot for our defense.

Round 2, Pick 43: Jordan Battle (S, Alabama)- He is a big, mean safety that protects the back end of the defense. He is adept at both run and pass defense. Can play single high or down in the box. Instant starter for us. He gives us what we lost when Keanu Neal went down and never came back. He is another piece that Pees could have a field day with.

Round 2, Pick 63: Justyn Ross (WR, Clemson)- He is a big tall receiver with an insane wingspan. Has really good hands, and with our depleted WR corps becomes an instant WR2 on our team, assuming Ridley comes back. If he doesn't he might be forced into a WR1 role, and with Pitts here to take the heat off of him a bit, he might just pull it off. The duo of Pitts and Ross becomes a towering duo in the red zone that MR2 can high point the ball to reliably, and help change our redzone play calling a little.

Round 3, Pick 74: Zach Charbonnet (RB, UCLA)- We need a better run game. Charbonnet gives us what Mike Davis failed to do. He is a mid-second round talent, so getting him in the beginning of the third is good value. His addition to the backfield means a reliable third down, short yardage, goal line back is on the roster. Plus, with Patterson to take some heat off of him, he can grow into a future feature back. If nothing else, his value is good here and he instantly has a role in the offense.

Round 4, Pick 111: John Ridgeway (NT, Arkansas)- This is my favorite pick of the draft in terms of value for the pick and what we get out of it. He is a true nose tackle, much like Jordan Davis. He will be a strictly running situation player, but man is he good at it. There is another NT named Siaki Ika a round later that is an absolute beast also. If we don't take one of these guys to clear up the run defense and give the LB's some lanes to work with we did ourselves a disservice. Ridgeway is surprisingly light on his feet for a man his size, and has a knack for pushing double teams back into QB's. That would be a sore sight to see for our d-line.

Round 5, Pick 150: Edefuan Ulofoshio (ILB, U of Washington)- This is the only guy on here I targeted. His story is incredible. Watch this video and tell me you don't want him on our team. He will probably be depth but he would instantly push Walker for reps, considering Jones is probably on the way out of Atlanta. If anything he is a straight up hard worker that will give 110% every day. We could use that on the defense. Someone young and hungry to push some of the other guys.

Round 6, Pick 190: Kyle Phillips (WR, UCLA)- Now I could have gone a few ways here because I didn't see anybody necessarily jump out to me. There wasn't a player who fell that was worth me grabbing. I usually target a TE who could be worked into a future TE2, but another WR is fine as well. With the previous second round WR pick this might end up being only the 4th WR we have on the roster at this point. His big upside is not that he has incredible hands, which he does, its that he is a really good punt returner too. This could take some work off of Pattersons plate. Phillips is a smaller shiftier WR who would be more of a true slot WR, but he could work his way into some reps right off the bat. He would definitly have high special teams upside, with the skillset to push some veterans for game time.

Like it shows, this is a rough first run. With that in mind we instantly have a pass rush, a better secondary, and a NT to help with the run game. Plus we have a good WR2, a decent RB to work with, and some solid depth to push the starters. Its not perfect and I'm sure its going to upset some guys, but to me, its not totally what I want, but its what the team needs.

<em>This FanPost was written by one of The Falcoholic's talented readers. It does not necessarily reflect the views of The Falcoholic.</em>