2013 NFL draft day is here!
The Atlanta Falcons will finally get a shot to supplement the roster with some excellent talent and depth, and this year's draft has a ton of talent that could end up contributing well past their first contract. Atlanta has a ton of depth needs but only one true starting need at corner, so it will be intriguing to see where they head.
I take my final shot at trying to predict what good ol' Comrade Dimitroff is going to do in the 2013 draft. Follow along for all of my thoughts and projections in this final scenario before the draft tonight.
The Falcons need a cornerback first and foremost. While Desmond Trufant may not last until 30, I have this sneaking suspicion that he winds up in the red and black in 2013. It just makes too much sense for the Falcons to bring in a talented cornerback.
Trufant would be able to come right in and start for the Falcons. He would play against the No. 2 wide receivers early on in the season and would be brought along slowly. With Robert McClain and Asante Samuel having great seasons in 2012, the Falcons just need someone to complement them.
After cornerback, the Falcons need a pass-rusher first and foremost. Corey Lemonier is a former team leader or the Auburn Tigers and would be an instant competitor for playing time within Mike Nolan's defense as a defensive end and linebacker.
Lemonier's quickness and strength despite smaller stature draws comparisons to guys like Charles Johnson and Osi Umenyiora. Once he puts it all together, he could be a dominant force in the NFC South as the Falcons' primary pass-rusher.
Tony Gonzalez isn't going to be playing forever, so the Falcons will need to bring in someone who can replace him in the best fashion. Gavin Escobar is someone that the Falcons would love to have as Gonzalez's eventual replacement.
While he's just a mediocre blocker, he has potential and willingness to improve there. He also has a ton of talent as a receiver in the passing game. He can find open holes in the zones and attack the seams. The Falcons would be able to bring him along slowly and team him with Chase Coffman in the long term.
The one name that has been sticking out for the past few weeks as a likely Falcons selection in the late rounds is Nick Williams. The Falcons have shown a need for a penetrating defensive tackle, and Williams is a raw but extremely athletic penetrator.
Williams would be the perfect fit for Atlanta's defense as both a 3-technique under tackle and a 1-technique nose tackle. Add in his ability to play defensive end in the 3-4 and the Falcons would be able to run even more of the multiple-front defense than they did in the 2012 season.
Jelani Jenkins is a great fit for a team like Atlanta who only wants hard working team leaders who can make the team better every play. Jenkins is also that unique guy who could actually cover a tight end in the passing game and would be useful versus the likes of Jimmy Graham and Vernon Davis.
In the short term, he would have to earn his spot through the nickel role and special teams. But long term, Jenkins could be a good starter who winds up as a fringe Pro Bowl player. Hopefully he ends up in a scheme that minimizes his weaknesses.
With the Falcons running more multiple-front defenses, the need for a massive body in the middle needs to be exacerbated. T.J. Barnes would definitely do that, as he's 6'6", 369 pounds and one of the most talented big bodies in the entire draft.
His strength would be more than enough to anchor in the middle of a defense. Add in that he's a local player and that the Falcons have always taken someone from a Georgia or Alabama school in every draft that Thomas Dimitroff has led, and it just makes sense to throw the Georgia Tech alum in here.
If there's one thing that the Falcons could truly improve upon for the 2013 season, it's their return game. While Josh Boyce doesn't have a ton of experience in it, he has the potential to fill an Eric Weems-style role as a reserve receiver and return specialist.
Boyce also has long-term potential as a dangerous slot receiver. He runs excellent routes and is an intelligent leader on and off the field. Bring him in as a reserve and the Falcons may just get their next special teams captain out of him too.
Courtesy Terren Jones
Round 7, No. 236 Overall: RB George Winn, Cincinnati
The Falcons need someone who can provide depth to a somewhat light running back corps. George Winn is arguably one of the most explosive players in the draft at running back, but could slip due to NFL teams de-valuing the position.
Round 7, No. 243 Overall: OLB Michael Clay, Oregon
Bringing in some depth at linebacker is definitely a huge deal for Atlanta. Michael Clay is an athletic, albeit undersized, linebacker who looks like he could play in both sub-packages and on special teams. He's a heart player who could also compete for a role as the team's long snapper.
Round 7, No. 244 Overall: CB Rod Sweeting, Georgia Tech
Atlanta taking another one of the local guys from Georgia Tech makes a ton of sense here with Rod Sweeting. He's a long-term solution as a special teams player and reserve cornerback. He should definitely be able to compete for the nickel or dime role when Asante Samuel retires.
Round 7, No. 249 Overall: OL Terren Jones, Alabama State
Terren Jones is a massive offensive lineman from Alabama State who can play either guard or right tackle in the NFL. If the Falcons did select him, it would make particular sense for goalline packages. The powerful Jones would be able to seal off an edge or create internal push better than most current Falcons.
All stats used are either from Pro Football Focus's Premium Stats, ESPN, CFBStats or the NFL. All contract information is courtesy Spotrac. All recruiting rankings come from 247Sports.com.
Scott Carasik is a Featured Columnist for Bleacher Report. He covers the Atlanta Falcons, NFL and NFL Draft. He also runs DraftFalcons.com.