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USA Today mock draft sends Falcons the draft’s top safety

That’s one way to mock draft.

NFL: Tennessee Titans at Atlanta Falcons Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

It is mock draft season. I’m ready to read any and every single mock draft about what the Falcons could or should do in the draft. I need to cram every possible draft trade and prospect over the next 100 or so days until I just can’t take it anymore. It is basically required for the offseason.

How are we talking about the draft with so many unanswered questions about this team? Who stays? Who goes? Who do the Falcons sign? We don’t actually know if the Falcons will keep Matt Ryan, Calvin Ridley, Deion Jones, Grady Jarrett, or anyone else, and how much the team will have to spend going into free agency. We also don’t have measurables on any of the draft prospects (no 40 yard dashes, no height, no weight).

The above may change some of the analysis; however, Terry Fontenot says he plans to draft the best player available. Nearly everything above relates to Atlanta’s need. The best player available shouldn’t be impacted much between today and draft day, short of a surprisingly fast 40 time or a height three or four inches shorter than what’s listed by a player’s college team.

My favorite part of draft season is that the early mock drafts are always wild. By the time April rolls around, nearly every mock draft will look the same. January is early and wild is the very best way to describe this mock draft from our friend Charles McDonald at USA Today’s For the Win.

McDonald has the Falcons yet again eschewing historical positional value and taking...a safety. Kyle Hamilton of Notre Dame heads to Atlanta at 8th overall.

This Falcons regime has shown they don’t really care about traditional positional value so here’s a safety in the top-10 a year after taking a tight end in the top five. Kyle Hamilton is the best player on the board and would give the Falcons a young, extremely talented secondary duo with A.J. Terrell.


I’m not a huge fan. Of course, value is an interesting thing to weigh considering how desperately this team needs talent. There is an argument for every single position at 8, outside of tight end or players who purely offer value on special teams. Atlanta needs help everywhere. Early on and throughout the draft, I’m looking hard at both the offensive line and the front seven, which look primed for a major talent infusion, especially considering that will certainly be a multi-year project. It’s hard to argue against the idea that the trenches were a huge weaknesses last year, probably Atlanta’s biggest.

Hamilton is the draft’s top safety, and building strengths around the team’s best, young defender is not the worst idea I have ever heard. If Hamilton is as good as he’s billed to be, he and Terrell could be dominant. If he’s ready to play right away, a safety like Hamilton could offer a quicker impact on this defense than most. Expect Hamilton to be a popular pick for the Falcons in the months ahead, too.

How would you feel about the pick?