Mock drafts are coming out in full force at this point in the off-season, and today we will examine the latest Atlanta Falcons predictions from Drafttek, an NFL draft website with specific writers making selections for each team.
Current previews for the Falcons are all over the place, but everyone seems to agree on a few positions that need to be addressed right away. Coby Fleener was the early favorite for everyone in Round 2. Now there are new players emerging each day as the apparent front runner for Atlanta's No. 55 pick.
Thomas Dimitroff has made it clear that the offensive and defensive lines are going to be a main focus this off-season, so we will likely see a couple players drafted in these areas.
With only five picks this time around, Drafttek had an easier workload for the Falcons. Here are their current projections, and how likely/logical each pick really is.
Drafttek currently has Mitchell Schwartz going to Atlanta with pick No. 55 overall. While Schwartz played 35 games at left tackle for Cal, he seems to be better suited played right tackle in the NFL.
Strengths: His run blocking abilities are terrific. He has solid technique and takes the right angles on defenders most of the time. Schwartz is big (6'5", 318 lbs.) and can get into the second level to make an impact.
Weaknesses: Pass protection in general needs work. He has a difficult time cutting the edge off to oncoming rushers. He will change up his footwork and become unbalanced at times.
Overall Impression: The Falcons probably shouldn't call this guys name with their first selection. DraftTek even questions their own selection with this pick. In the explanation section it lists Orson Charles as a better selection at that point.
Schwartz would force Tyson Clabo to change positions, which doesn't seem like something Atlanta is interested in doing. If they want to address Matt Ryan's blindside, they need to draft someone who excels in pass protection first.
Brandon Brooks was not invited to the NFL Combine this year, but he is still sure to be taken somewhere between Rounds 3-4. He is a strong, physical lineman who is constantly listed as a kid with great upside.
Strengths: He has good speed to go with his size, as he ran a 4.99 40 at his pro day workout. It was also noted that one of his shuttle times was faster than any lineman at the Combine.
He makes a great impact with pass blocking. Brooks doesn't let defenders get away from him easily once he gets his arms extended. With run blocking he has no problem moving opponents out of the way with his size.
Brooks is athletic and has played all over the offensive line, which provides some versatility to whatever team he lands with.
Weaknesses: His footwork has to improve. Coaches will have to address this immediately when he gets to the next level. He doesn't have good range, which is a common issue most scouts point out. With that in mind, he will likely have to play on the interior.
Overall Impression: I like this pick a lot from Drafttek. Brooks is receiving more recognition each day it seems, and his draft stock continues to rise after his pro day. People constantly rave about his elite strength and his athleticism. He would be a nice addition to the Falcons if they decide to go with him.
At 6'1", 298 lbs. David Molk posted the second highest amount of reps (41) on the bench press in Indianapolis. He won the 2011 Rimington Trophy, given to the top center in college football, and looks like a fifth-round pick at this point.
Strengths: He gets a good jump off the ball and gets advantage on his man. His footwork and technique are sound and are his best attributes.
Molk has decent speed that helps him get out in front when pulling. He was a great leader for the Wolverines, and reports constantly show that his work ethic and character are off the charts.
Weaknesses: Despite that ridiculous stat from the Combine, his strength is not always impressive. He can be pushed aside by defenders and has trouble staying with his man throughout the entire play. He is consistently labeled as a player who is best suited for a zone blocking scheme.
Overall Impression: Drafttek made a decent selection with Molk, but a lot will depend on the direction the Falcons want to go in regards to the center position in the future. Todd McClure may come back, but if he doesn't there is an immediate pressing issue to replace him.
There will be centers later on that could be just as effective. William Vlachos is a late-round guy who Atlanta could wait for. Molk has work to do, but he would be a reasonable pick for the Falcons in Round 5.
As a defender for Nick Saban's Crimson Tide, DeQuan Menzie enters the NFL Draft with great experience under his belt. The biggest problem with this pick is that Atlanta likely won't even get the chance at it. Menzie is projected as a fourth or fifth-round pick, so he probably will be taken by this point.
Strengths: He's very physical, which Mike Nolan would love. Menzie has great instincts and seems to know where the ball is at all times. He is a strong athlete and can make big plays when needed to. He doesn't shy away from contact, constantly going at his target and stepping up to make tackles.
Weaknesses: He's not the fastest guy out there. NFL.com's official stats list his 40 time at 4.74. He stays with receivers, but doesn't have the best straight-line speed. Needs some work with his technique at the next level.
Overall Impression: Menzie was part of one of the best defenses in college football last season, and he had great coaching at Bama after transferring from junior college. The Falcons have missed on late round picks in the past, but if Menzie was on the board at this point it would be a steal.
The last tight end the Falcons drafted was Keith Zinger. He was taken in Round 7 of the 2008 NFL Draft, and today he has one kick return and no other stats for his career. Maybe Josh Chichester could make more of an impact for Atlanta.
Chichester is a huge target a 6'7", but this would clearly be a developmental pick. He had 97 receptions in four years at Louisville, and is more of a wide out/tight end tweener.
Strengths: His size makes him pretty hard to miss. He has decent hands and would be perfect for red zone situations.
Weaknesses: Where to begin? Any player projected this late has plenty of issues, so we'll spare you every little detail. Chichester needs to bulk up more and will require a lot of coaching to help his blocking. He doesn't do anything special once he has the ball, and his route running skills aren't anything special.
Overall Impression: He's not going to be the second coming of Tony Gonzalez, but he could be useful in select situations for Matt Ryan. There are a ton of tight ends in this year's draft with promising futures, and Atlanta is projected by many to select a tight end much earlier than Round 7. Chichester would be an ongoing project. There are other players with better potential for this pick.