Atlanta Falcons Mock Draft: Building the Perfect 7-Round Draft
The NFL draft is now a month away, which means the picture of what teams are going to do, and where, is becoming more clear.
That's especially true for the Atlanta Falcons, who, according to ESPN's Adam Schefter, agreed to terms with free-agent defensive end Osi Umenyiora on Wednesday night.
Atlanta had been projected to draft a defensive end, even with John Abraham on the roster, earlier in the offseason. Those projections shifted, however, after it became less and less likely that former cornerback Brent Grimes would re-sign with the team.
Chris Owens and Dunta Robinson are also no longer with the Falcons, which means the secondary is now a major concern.
A first-round concern.
Here's the latest Falcons mock draft, now that more dust has settled.
Mike is a Featured Columnist for B/R. Follow him on Twitter for Falcons news and analysis!
Round 1 (Pick 30): Desmond Trufant
Height/Weight: 6'0", 190 lbs.
Analysis: If the Falcons do in fact agree to terms with Umenyiora, the most immediate need will be cornerback. It's unlikely that Atlanta brings in the veteran defensive end while simultaneously agreeing to contract with Grimes.
Fortunately, the draft is full of defensive back talent this year. Dee Milliner and Xavier Rhodes will likely be off the boards by pick 30, but Desmond Trufant of Washington is no pushover.
While his numbers were not stellar in his senior year in Seattle, where his brother plays professionally with the Seahawks, teams usually elected to stay away from his side of the field. Trufant has left many scouts tremendously impressed in pre-draft workouts. He has good size, not great length, but 4.38 speed and fluid movement.
Round 2 (Pick 60): Margus Hunt
Position: Defensive End
School: Southern Methodist
Height/Weight: 6'8", 277 lbs.
Analysis: Atlanta needed to help build a solid pass-rushing corps before John Abraham was released, so there's no reason to think defensive end won't be a huge priority following an addition of a guy like Umenyiora.
Under Mike Nolan's 4-3/3-4 scheme, the more versatility and dynamically different players on the roster, the better. Going after a raw specimen like Margus Hunt would be right up the alley.
Hunt is a huge, athletic machine, which is a label given more credit after running an impressive 4.60 40-yard dash.
Round 3 (Pick 92): Corey Lemonier
Position: Rush End
Height/Weight: 6'4", 255 lbs.
Analysis: Opposite of the type of player Atlanta would get in Hunt, Corey Lemonier is a perfect fit for a team looking for a hybrid, rush-end linebacker.
Lemonier, in Nolan's system, could sneak onto the field in multiple ways and help platoon linebacker and line positions. That's exactly the type of player Nolan wants, and needs.
The current man on the roster best fit for the job is a project player in Jonathan Massaquoi, who will be entering his second year.
Round 4 (Pick 127): Jordan Reed
Position: Tight End
Height/Weight: 6'3", 236 lbs.
Analysis: While the Falcons do get Tony Gonzalez back for a year (or, for the sake of mentioning his contract, two), they'd still be advised to fight a tight end somewhere in the draft.
Going after Tyler Eifert or Zach Ertz in the first round seems like a long shot at this point, considering what needs to be done on the defensive side of the ball.
Reed is a versatile athlete who even was once in Florida's quarterback depth before moving to an H-back position and later to tight end.
Round 4 (Pick 133): T.J. Barnes
Position: Defensive tackle
School: Georgia Tech
Height/Weight: 6'6", 369 lbs.
Analysis: The Falcons have a staple at defensive tackle in the always underrated Jonathan Babineaux. Otherwise, the interior of the defensive line is pretty thin. Vance Walker took off to Oakland, leaving the Falcons with Corey Peters, Peria Jerry and Travian Robertson as options at the position.
Falcons fans probably aren't too enthusiastic about any of those names. While Peters received praise from head coach Mike Smith in the postseason, his production and big-play value is pretty low.
What Atlanta could use in this year's draft is a plug at defensive tackle. Size is something this team lacks on the line, and a guy like T.J. Barnes would immediately fix that issue. Nolan wants a 3-4 style nose tackle to help build the versatile defense he would prefer.
Round 5 (Pick 163): Sanders Commings
Height/Weight: 6'0", 216 lbs.
Analysis: Atlanta is on the verge of being three cornerbacks shorter than it was a year ago. Chris Owens is in Cleveland, Dunta Robinson is in Kansas City, and it's looking less likely Grimes will settle with a deal in Atlanta.
Sanders Commings has great value in the later rounds. While his specs and highlight tape may not make him a first-, second- or third-round value, there's no doubt he can play against the best competition. That's all he did at Georgia, and very well at that.
While he could eventually become a starting-caliber corner (Asante Samuel will one day reitre, just like the rest of them), Commings also has experience at safety. Yes, Atlanta has Pro Bowlers at both safety positions, but some Falcons fans might not be too bashful to complain about Thomas DeCoud's tackling woes in past seasons.
Commings brings a safe option that can play multiple positions.
Round 6 (Pick 198): Ace Sanders
School: South Carolina
Height/Weight: 5'7", 173 lbs.
Analysis: Sanders was an electric return man and slot receiver at South Carolina. While he's undersized and ran just a 4.58 40-yard dash, his quickness and agility make him valuable to the Falcons.
Kick returner is essentially an extinct position in the NFL, but the Falcons could still use a return specialist to cover punts. Atlanta has not had a player make a major impact at that position since Harry Douglas in 2008.
Sanders also has a skill set that could add some extra topping to Dirk Koetter's screen game and gadget plays. Atlanta has the top receiving duo in the league with Roddy White and Julio Jones, but depth falls off greatly after that.
Round 7 (Pick 236): Marquess Wilson
School: Washington State
Height/Weight: 6'3", 194 lbs.
Analysis: Marquess Wilson is not on top of draft boards, but he was considered one of the best receivers in college football during his tenure at Washington State.
Wilson has 4.5 speed, good hands and some pretty good body control. He's a project player, but he could become a nice target as a flanker or even a slot receiver.
Wilson would not be a major option for the Falcons in the early going, but Roddy White enters the final year of his contract in 2014. Atlanta might want a project behind him to ensure depth for later years. So far, the depth at that position is weak.
Round 7 (Pick 243): John Boyett
Height/Weight: 5'10", 204 lbs.
Analysis: Undersized and undervalued, John Boyett would perfectly fit the blue-collar, hard-working mentality that Thomas Dimitroff likes.
He would have been a higher draft pick if it were not for knee injuries that swiped his 2012 season at Oregon from under his feet.
Atlanta does not necessarily need any immediate depth help at safety, but at this point getting a guy like Boyett adds to the options.
Round 7 (Pick 244): John Youboty
Position: Defensive End
Height/Weight: 6'4", 250 lbs.
Analysis: Youboty played as an interior defensive lineman for Temple, but could and should evolve into a defensive end if he wants to play at the next level. He's considered a workhorse player, which makes him a valuable late-round option.
He was named to the 2012 All-Big East second team.
Round 7 (Pick 249): Patrick Ward
Position: Offensive Tackle
Height/Weight: 6'7", 305 lbs.
Analysis: Patrick Ward would give Atlanta a large offensive tackle. Sam Baker is locked up as the future to protect Matt Ryan's blind side, while Tyson Clabo is still a staple starter at right tackle.
Ward is considered a very intelligent player, but is also raw when it comes to fundamentals. He was a 2012 All-Big Ten honorable mention.
The Falcons have a load of guards/centers on their roster, but they don't have designated talent at tackle behind Baker, Clabo and Lamar Holmes. This would be worth a look.
Mike is an Atlanta Falcons Featured Columnist for B/R. Follow him on Twitter for news and analysis!