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Falcons 2024 mock draft: Addressing needs after the Senior Bowl

The Senior Bowl has come and gone, and it’s time to take an updated look at the Falcons potential 2024 NFL Draft plans. We take you through a full 7-round mock draft for Atlanta.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: NOV 25 Florida State at Florida Photo by David Rosenblum/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The Atlanta Falcons are officially picking eighth in the 2024 NFL Draft, and it’s past time for another seven-round full mock draft for our favorite team. With a new coaching staff in town and the team’s needs coming into full focus, we’ve got a better idea of what to expect. Couple that with the Senior Bowl wrapping up, and we’ve got an opportune time for a mock on our hands.

Before we jump in to the mock, let’s take a look at the Falcons’ current haul of draft picks.

What are the Falcons current draft picks?

  • Round 1, Pick 8
  • Round 2, Pick 43
  • Round 3, Pick 74
  • Round 3, Pick 79 from Jaguars, Calvin Ridley trade
  • Round 4, Pick 109
  • Round 5, Pick 145
  • Round 6, Pick 198 from Browns

What did the Falcons do at quarterback?

As this is an essential question in predicting what Atlanta will do in the draft, I’ll be addressing this before we get to the picks. In this scenario, Atlanta has addressed quarterback with a veteran addition—someone like a Kirk Cousins or Russell Wilson.

This is the written version, but you can also find the mock draft in two alternate forms as well. On our YouTube channel:

The mock is also available on all your favorite podcast platforms! You can listen to it directly here:

Round 1, Pick 8: EDGE Jared Verse, Florida State

With Atlanta finding a quarterback solution in free agency, the eighth overall pick is now available to address other immediate needs. The biggest one by far is edge rusher, and with the way things are projected, the Falcons could have their pick of the top prospects. The top three EDGE players are, in some order, Alabama’s Dallas Turner, Florida State’s Jared Verse, and UCLA’s Laiatu Latu.

I think all three are worthy of pick 8, but my choice hasn’t changed from last year: I’m going with FSU’s Jared Verse. The reasons are simple: Verse is the most well-rounded of the top prospects—possessing a good mix of athleticism, size, and technical ability—and by far the most consistent producer. He’s not the elite technician that Latu is, or the elite athlete that Turner is—but he’s a better athlete than Latu, and is a lot more consistent (and has a better frame) than Turner.

It’s a tough call, and I think all three top EDGE rushers have their merits, but consistency is king and I trust production more than most other measures. Verse can work in any scheme and out of a two or three-point stance. He’d be a good physical complement to Arnold Ebiketie if Atlanta is returning to more of a 3-4 style front, and would bring a ton of physicality and pass rush prowess to Atlanta’s defense.

Round 2, Pick 43: S Tyler Nubin, Minnesota

Many will point to wide receiver here at pick 43—and I won’t disagree. If the right receiver is on the board here, I think Atlanta probably prefers that. In this scenario, I didn’t love the value on it and instead went with the highest player on my board: Minnesota safety Tyler Nubin. Nubin is arguably the top safety in the class and fills one of the biggest remaining needs in Atlanta’s secondary.

Nubin is a high-end safety prospect who possesses the requisite frame (6’2, 210), athleticism, physicality, and coverage chops to check all the boxes for a defense. He’s versatile and can play wherever needed. Nubin is a tenacious run defender and an instinctual playmaker on the back end. Atlanta can’t really afford to spend big on finding a partner for Jessie Bates given his contract, so their best bet is the draft. With Nubin next to Bates, the Falcons could have a claim on the best safety duo in the NFL for the next four seasons.

Round 3, Pick 74: WR Roman Wilson, Michigan

One of the biggest risers from the Senior Bowl, Michigan’s Roman Wilson has clearly elevated himself into the Day 2 conversation. While he doesn’t have high-end size at 6’0, 192, Wilson possess elite speed and agility that make him a dangerous deep threat and ideal separator. In Mobile, he also showed off his hands on some circus catches, along with better than expected run-after-catch ability.

Wilson has the makings of a dynamic WR2/3 prospect who can immediately contribute to a passing game from an outside or slot alignment. That would pair very well with Drake London’s more physical game and Kyle Pitts’ unique size/speed combination, and give Atlanta three versatile options to attack opposing defenses. Wilson will be a bit of an older rookie (23) and has some medical questions that will be examined further at the Combine, but he’d be a great value at this point in the draft.

Round 3, Pick 79 from Jaguars, Ridley trade: DT McKinnley Jackson, Texas A&M

If the Falcons wind up with just a third from the Ridley trade, I’d focus on taking one of the best players available to bolster the talent on the roster. At this point, another riser from the Senior Bowl is still on the board in Texas A&M’s McKinnley Jackson. Here’s how I described him in my Senior Bowl preview:

With a good frame (6’2, 320) and elite athletic traits, Jackson has tremendous potential as a three-down starter in the NFL. Jackson plays the run with high energy and good technique. He’s experienced at taking on and defeating double-teams with his combination of power and explosiveness, and is rarely moved off the ball. As a pass rusher, Jackson’s first step quickness, length, and lateral mobility make him consistently disruptive.

Jackson has some impressive flashes, and his weaknesses are all coachable. He needs to refine his hand placement and technique and needs to develop further counters and a more sophisticated pass rush plan. Against the run, he simply needs to use his length more effectively and find ways to avoid getting stuck on blocks.

Round 4, Pick 109: CB Khyree Jackson, Oregon

Ideally, I’d like to address cornerback earlier in this mock draft—there are plenty of questions surrounding the spot opposite A.J. Terrell, and even Terrell’s long-term future in Atlanta. But you have to let the draft come to you, and not force things. The Falcons wait and their patience pays off, with Oregon’s Khyree Jackson falling just a bit into the fourth round.

Another Senior Bowl standout, Jackson immediately turned heads by measuring in at an impressive 6’3.5 and over 200 pounds. He played well on Day 1 before missing Day 2 with injury, and then returning for an impressive Day 3. Jackson is clearly in the mold of the modern NFL outside corner: he’s huge and athletic, and uses his outstanding length to break up passes and impact throwing lanes. Jackson is a talented corner in his own right and plays sticky coverage. At his size, his change-of-direction ability is limited and Jackson does have some bad habits in regards to grabbing and generating penalties. I think he’s a very coachable prospect with starting upside, and a great value if he falls this far.

Round 5, Pick 145: WR Luke McCaffrey, Rice

The Falcons added Roman Wilson earlier in this class to give the team a boost at receiver, but more work is needed to complete this group. I have no doubt Atlanta will add veteran options as well, but in this deep receiving class the team should strongly consider adding a slot specialist on Day 3. That’s exactly what Rice’s Luke McCaffrey brings to the table—and he’s got some potential outside versatility as well.

Yes, Luke McCaffrey is the brother of Christian McCaffrey. He’s a former college quarterback who converted to wide receiver, and you can tell he understands the finer points of the position and where he needs to be to help his QB. McCaffrey has excellent lateral mobility and good size at nearly 6’2, 202, along with outstanding hands and the physicality to survive contested catches and middle of the field work. He’s just not a super high-end prospect thanks to a lack of elite speed, and a relatively limited route tree owing to only a few years playing the position. I still think McCaffrey is WR3/4-level prospect and can easily outperform his draft stock, along with providing an immediate boost to Atlanta’s slot receiver rotation.

Round 6, Pick 198 from Browns: OT Ethan Driskell, Marshall

The Falcons once again got solid play out of Kaleb McGary, and when he got hurt, surprisingly solid play out of swing tackle Storm Norton. But long-term, the clock is ticking on both right tackle and left tackle with Jake Matthews entering his age 32 season. The time is now to invest in a developmental tackle prospect, and I love Marshall’s Ethan Driskell. Drawing athletic comps to Spencer Brown, Driskell is a big (6’8, 320) and super athletic ball of clay at the position.

Driskell is a pretty solid pass protector and very good run blocker at his level of competition, but a closer look reveals a lot of needed technical work—particularly with his hand usage and placement. His size and athleticism profile demands attention, and if the Falcons put as much trust in Dwayne Ledford as I think they do, I believe they’ll take a swing on a prospect like Driskell in this class.

What do you think about this potential draft class for the Falcons? Leave some of your own draft takes in the comments below.