2013 Atlanta Falcons Mock Draft: #MockTwo Brings Unique Results
Twitter features a group in the draftnik community who create the #MockOne every year. #MockTwo was the second iteration of #MockOne this year and it led to really unique results for the Falcons. Results can be found on the official #MockOne website.
I was tasked with the opportunity to be the Falcons general manager for #MockTwo. I went into the draft with a plan to get a couple of pass rushers, a third receiving option to replace Tony Gonzalez and a running back to replace Michael Turner.
I felt comfortable enough with the starting offensive line and secondary to hold off on selections there until we have a more complete picture of 2013 free agency. However, the draft went much differently than I expected.
I went in hoping to trade down and select Jamie Collins in the middle of the second, while also picking up a third-round pick. If executed, I would have held a pair of seconds and a pair of thirds to bring more talent to the Falcons in the top half of the draft.
Unfortunately, no one took the trade offer and I was forced to go with the original selections. Follow along as we review the unique situation that unfolded for me in #MockTwo.
Round 1, Pick 30: WR Keenan Allen (California) JR, 6'2-1/8", 206
Big Board Ranking: No. 15 overall on my personal board
The Atlanta Falcons need someone to take over the third receiving option role, with the seemingly imminent departure of Tony Gonzalez. Fortunately, it won't necessarily be another tight end who takes over for the great Gonzalez as the third receiver in the offense.
Here, I went with the best player available on my personal board. While this may look like a true luxury, it makes sense as someone who can line up in the slot or even outside. This move is more of a long-term move than a short-term pick that addresses a need, though, as Keenan Allen is just 20 years old, with two seasons of significant action at receiver for Cal.
In the short term, the Falcons could definitely use the speedy Allen, who also proved capable returning punts in 2012, as the slot man or an outside receiver in three-receiver sets. This may admittedly be more of luxury pick, but it's made with the thought that Roddy White is now 32 years old and perhaps past his prime.
White's contract ends after the 2014 season and with two years under White and Julio Jones, Allen would be the ideal fit for the Falcons No. 2 receiver role. Most first-round picks are expected to start right away, but Allen would be given a chance to develop without a huge amount of pressure placed on him early on.
Round 2, Pick 30: OLB Jamie Collins (Southern Miss) SR, 6'3-1/2", 250
Big Board Ranking: No. 43 overall on my personal board
The Falcons defense needs versatile playmakers who can play in either the 3-4 or 4-3. Jamie Collins can play anywhere in the front seven, outside of the defensive tackle positions. His speed, strength and size make him an athletic talent on the same level as Sean Weatherspoon.
Collins has been slowly rising up boards and, had he gone to any SEC school, he would lightly be mentioned in the same breath as Jarvis Jones. He should be an instant starter at strong-side linebacker and will be a versatile weapon in Mike Nolan's defense.
Round 3, Pick 30: DE/OLB Malliciah Goodman (Clemson), SR, 6'3-5/8", 276
Big Board Ranking: No. 71 overall on my personal board
The Falcons need pass-rushers. Especially with the release of John Abraham. Malliciah Goodman is an underrated rusher from Clemson who has surprising length, with 36-3/8" arms on a 6'3-5/8" frame. He can also play any technique from 3-to-9 as a defensive tackle to outside linebacker.
While he's got extra weight on his frame at 276 pounds, it would be better for him to get down to around 255 pounds as a end and outside linebacker. Goodman has the athleticism to play strong outside linebacker in the 3-4 defense and can also work well as a base 4-3 left end.
Round 4, Pick 30: RB Mike Gillislee (Florida) SR, 5'11-1/8", 208
Big Board Ranking: No. 83 overall on my personal board
This was the one player in the mock draft who I selected where he was initially on my board. Mike Gillislee is a great fit for the Falcons as the main back in the running game. He can run, pass block and catch the ball on screens, a role similar to that of Pierre Thomas of the Saints.
While he won't be the 1,300 yards on 350 carries back that Michael Turner was, he will be at least a 900-yard on 225-carry guy, which may be all the Falcons need in a lead back, given their style of offense.
Round 5, Pick 30: DT Akeem Spence (Illinois) JR, 6'0-5/8", 307
Big Board Ranking: No. 94 overall on my personal board
Someone who I had projected initially to be gone by the Falcons' third-round pick, Akeem Spence is a great fit for the 1-technique role in the Falcons defense. He's got a bit of extra bulk and is one of the quickest players in the draft at defensive tackle.
He can play nose tackle in 3-4 alignments and allow the Falcons the ability to continually play multiple fronts in 2013.
Round 6, Pick 30: TE Zach Sudfeld (Nevada) SR, 6'6", 261
Big Board Ranking: No. 103 overall on my personal board
As someone I projected for the Falcons fifth-round pick, I was shocked to find Zach Sudfeld available in the sixth round. He is a great fit as someone to eventually replace Tony Gonzalez, even if he doesn't do so immediately.
The combination of Sudfeld, Keenan Allen and the incumbent corps of Julio Jones, Harry Douglas, Chase Coffman and Michael Palmer will provide Atlanta enough weapons to keep the loss of Gonzalez from stinging in the near future.
Round 7, Pick 30: Braxston Cave (Notre Dame), SR, 6'3-1/4", 303
Big Board Ranking: No. 115 overall on my personal board
In another best-player-available pick, I selected center Braxston Cave, who has fourth-round value in a lackluster crop at center. To land him in the seventh round was a bit of a coup. He can add great depth at either center, left or right guard and would be a great addition to the Falcons offensive line.
Within a year, it wouldn't be shocking to see Cave challenge for the starting spot at center with Joe Hawley or another center, should Hawley leave the Falcons following 2013.
Scott Carasik is a Featured Columnist for Bleacher Report. He covers the Atlanta Falcons, NFL and NFL Draft. He is also the Falcons analyst at Drafttek, runs the NFL Draft Website ScarDraft.com and hosts Kvetching Draftniks Radio.