Falcons 2013 Mock Draft: Predictions for Day 3
The Atlanta Falcons came out of the first two days of the draft with their cornerback situation resolved.
Between first-round pick Desmond Trufant and second-round pick Robert Alford, the Falcons have brought in a starting-caliber corner and a return specialist who will compete for time as a nickelback and reserve, respectively.
Now the fun truly begins with the talent that is left on the board.
While names like Jesse Williams, Alex Okafor and Khaseem Greene seem like they are the most likely picks if they make it to Atlanta, they should all be gone before the Falcons' make their first selections in the fourth round on Saturday.
When looking at what Atlanta will address with the next couple of picks, it makes sense to see where they have the biggest needs. Their secondary looks very deep with Alford and Trufant already in the mix to team with Asante Samuel, Thomas DeCoud, William Moore and Robert McClain.
The defensive front seven could use some talent though at linebacker, defensive end and defensive tackle. The Falcons could also use some more depth at tight end, running back and wide receiver. It wouldn't surprise anyone to see an offensive lineman added either.
Let's check out one of the many scenarios that Atlanta could have in the final day of the draft:
Round 4, Pick 127: OLB Jelani Jenkins, Florida
When it comes to the kind of player that the Falcons have been missing on their defense to stop a tight end, Jelani Jenkins fits as a potential hole-filler.
He's a highly athletic linebacker from the University of Florida who can come in and compete with Stephen Nicholas for playing time in the nickel defense.
He's a 6'0", 237-pound player with excellent speed and agility for his size who can play the weak or the strong side and is most effective in coverage. The Falcons could use him as a tight end-stopper with his coverage ability.
Jenkins' only real weaknesses come from his lack of size and his injury history. If he can get healthy and stay that way, the Falcons would be picking a second-round talent in the fourth round.
Round 4, Pick 133: DT Nick Williams, Samford
When it comes to a defensive need, the Falcons could definitely use someone who has some size, strength and quickness on the defensive line.
Nick Williams is a massive defensive tackle at 6'4", 309 pounds from Samford who can penetrate effectively.
The Samford product can push through double teams with his power and explosiveness off the snap. He's one of the more underrated prospects in the draft due to his inexperience at the position and his small school stature.
However, he's an excellent influence to other players off the field as a guy who would lead by example. Atlanta would love to have him and his ability to play at any of the defensive tackle spots.
Round 5, Pick 163: DE/OLB Trevardo Williams, Connecticut
Going into the draft, most thought that the Falcons' biggest need was a true pass-rusher.
While taking one in the fifth round seems like it's waiting too long, it fits into general manager Thomas Dimitroff's style as he hasn't taken a defensive end before the final day of the draft since he has been with the Falcons.
Trevardo Williams is closer to a Kroy Biermann, Jonathan Massaquoi or Osi Umenyiora type of pass-rusher in that he can play at either 3-4 outside linebacker or 4-3 defensive end. The Falcons would love having another piece to fit into head coach Mike Nolan's multiple-style defense.
The rotation of Umenyiora, Biermann, Massaquoi and Williams would be highly effective at getting after the quarterback. While there's only one big name sack master on the list, the Falcons could develop another one.
Round 7, Pick 236: TE Zach Sudfeld, Nevada
Atlanta needs someone who can learn from Tony Gonzalez and complement Chase Coffman once Gonzalez retires.
Ideally, they would find an underrated player with good size and strength who can use his body and has a basketball background.
Ideally, that player also has speed and willingness to block, so ideally, that player is Zach Sudfeld.
While he isn't known well by every analyst out there, his size at 6'6", 261 pounds, along with his basketball background and quickness make him someone who can learn how to be effective from Gonzalez.
Sudfeld has the ong-term potential be a story similar to what Antonio Gates went through as a low-round pick or even an undrafted free agent who made a roster and eventually became a Pro Bowl player.
Why not take a flyer here if you are Atlanta?
Round 7, Pick 243: LB Michael Clay, Oregon
Atlanta could use some depth at linebacker. They currently only have six starters under contract in Sean Weatherspoon, Akeem Dent and Stephen Nicholas and reserves Brian Banks, Robert James and Pat Schiller.
The Falcons would love an athletic linebacker who would play special teams as well.
Michael Clay is definitely the kind of guy that Atlanta is looking for on the last day of the draft. He would do anything for the benefit of the team as he fought for a long snapper job during his freshman season and Oregon and won it.
If Clay could end up winning the long snapper role and a reserve linebacker role in the NFL, he could end up saving the Falcons a roster spot. That roster spot could end up giving another linebacker, or even a running back, a spot on the Falcons.
Round 7, Pick 244: WR/H-Back Mark Harrison, Rutgers
Last preseason, the Falcons had a player named LaMark Brown that looked good with a ton of potential as an H-back and wide receiver. The Falcons, however, had to cut him as part of the 53-man cutdowns and were unable to retain him on the practice squad.
Looking ahead to the seventh round, the Falcons will be able to try and bring in someone who is a wide receiver and H-back and play in a role similar to what Brian Finneran played for years with Atlanta. Mark Harrison has great speed and size and is built very similarly to Julio Jones or Roddy White.
With the Falcons loving bigger, more physical wide receivers with under 4.45 speed, Harrison would fit in well and should be able to easily earn the roster spot over the likes of Kevin Cone, Drew Davis and Tim Toone while providing a good backup option on the team.
Round 7, Pick 249: RB Michael Ford, Louisiana State
With their final pick of the draft, the Falcons could go many ways, but adding a running back is not a bad idea.
Steven Jackson is nearing the end of his career and Antone Smith doesn't have a roster spot guaranteed in any way.
Michael Ford is a highly athletic running back with good speed who could be a serious competitor due to his special teams ability. His size-speed combination is prototypical at 5'9" and 209 pounds, and he runs a 4.5 in the 40-yard dash.
He's got good vision and strength, but the best value he could bring to Atlanta would be as a developmental running back. If he can show that he's a good player on all special teams units, Smith's days could be numbered.
All stats used are either from Pro Football Focus's Premium Stats, ESPN, CFBStats or the NFL. All contract information is courtesy Spotrac and Rotoworld. 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.