Atlanta Falcons Mock Draft: Fresh 7-Round Predictions Post Week 1 of Free Agency
Atlanta went out and became a big player in free agency with its signings of Jon Asamoah, Paul Soliai and Tyson Jackson. Those signings helped shore up the lines early on, but the team has more work to do in the draft.
Atlanta still needs to fix its pass-rushing situation and enhance its offensive line with much more talent. On top of that, depth needs to be added—especially in skill positions that will allow the Falcons to remain explosive on offense.
Round 1: OT Greg Robinson, Auburn
Protecting Matt Ryan’s blind side is the most important thing for the Falcons to do this offseason. While pass-rushers like Khalil Mack and Jadeveon Clowney are definite options, it’s very unlikely Atlanta will be forced to face a decision of Clowney or Mack versus Greg Robinson.
So they will take whoever slips of the trio. Auburn’s Robinson would be an excellent pickup for the Falcons, as they would acquire one of the more formidable offensive linemen to ever come out of the draft.
He has Walter Jones-level potential and a mean streak and is a dominant run-blocker. On top of that, his raw athleticism could never be taught. The combination of Robinson and Justin Blalock on the blind side should give Ryan a lot more protection than he was ever used to with Sam Baker.
Round 2: DE/OLB Marcus Smith, Louisville
The Falcons need a true pass-rusher. Marcus Smith is a linebacker and defensive end prospect that they have worked with in Mobile, Ala. during the Senior Bowl. He’s an ideal fit for the Falcons' multiple-front scheme and has experience in a similar scheme under Charlie Strong at Louisville.
Smith has the ability to put his hand in the dirt or stand up and rush. He also is highly athletic and could play a Kroy Biermann-type role where he does a little bit of everything. The combination of Smith, Osi Umenyiora, Biermann and Jonathan Massaquoi should give Atlanta a solid pass-rushing rotation.
The biggest question for Smith will come from his run defense. However, in most looks, he’ll play off the edge in a role that should put him against tight ends instead of offensive tackles. His coverage abilities will have to be developed throughout the years, though.
Round 3: S Deone Bucannon, Washington State
After cutting Thomas DeCoud, the Falcons need to bring in a safety who can start. Deone Bucannon from Washington State is one of the few options in this draft that would be a perfect fit for Mike Nolan’s coverage schemes.
Nolan saw firsthand how Bucannon fit the coverage schemes back in Mobile when the Falcons coached the North team in the Senior Bowl. His biggest strength is as a center-fielding safety who plays the ball well and tries to cause turnovers.
He is a big upgrade over DeCoud in tackling. He does get turned around sometimes, but he will make sure to be in proximity to at least take the guy down when he needs to.
Round 4: RB Bishop Sankey, Washington
Steven Jackson isn’t getting any younger, and Jason Snelling just retired this offseason. The Falcons need to bring in at least one running back in the draft to compete with Jacquizz Rodgers for the long-term starting role while sitting behind Jackson for a season to learn.
Bishop Sankey is a fun running back to watch, as he can break it for a touchdown at any point. He also has some power behind his frame and is seemingly durable. His overall style is similar to Doug Martin, and he has similar versatility.
As a long-term option, Sankey and Rodgers would be a combination that could gain a lot of yardage on the ground. They also understand how to run routes and catch the ball out of the backfield. The only real flaws to Sankey are his overuse in college and lack of pass-blocking skill.
Round 5: TE Arthur Lynch, Georgia
Atlanta needs to replace Tony Gonzalez in some way. This offseason makes it seem like the Falcons are confident in their current grouping enough that just a single draft pick will make the front office happy with the direction the tight end corps is going.
Levine Toilolo will likely be the No. 1 tight end, but he’ll need some help in the form of a true in-line talent. That talent should be Georgia tight end Arthur Lynch. He has prototypical size and blocking ability for the position.
He’s also a solid target with good hands. If the Falcons decide to commit to more two-tight end sets, he could be a tremendous asset, as he can both block and catch. This would allow Atlanta to stop telegraphing how the play is going to develop like it did with Gonzalez over the past two years.
Round 6: WR/RS Robert Herron, Wyoming
Atlanta didn’t have any explosive threats in its offense when Julio Jones went down with a foot injury after Monday Night Football game versus the New York Jets. So, the Falcons need to add someone who can at least be a deep threat and return option in 2014.
That’s where Robert Herron comes in. He’s not a polished football player by any means. However, he’s excellent as a return specialist and has the vision and speed to be a dynamic threat on both offense and special teams.
This will allow him to bide some time the way Steve Smith did in Carolina so that he can develop into a true offensive threat. Once he works the details out in his game with wide receivers coach Terry Robiskie, he could be a great secondary option to Julio Jones after Roddy White retires.
Round 7: CB Aaron Colvin, Oklahoma
Depth. Depth. Depth. That's what the seventh round is all about. Aaron Colvin wouldn't be here had he been 100 percent healthy and may not even be here when draft day rolls around. However, in this mock draft, he was continually passed up because of the ACL injury suffered at the Senior Bowl.
The Falcons would be OK with him sitting for a season as the fourth cornerback and a special teams talent. In 2015, he'd have to compete for the nickelback role. That or he'll have to show enough in 2014 that the Falcons can just let Robert McClain walk after his restricted tender year.
The value here for Colvin would be exceptional, though. The seventh round is about finding guys who can be true steals. He has the potential to be a starting cornerback in the NFL if a team gives him a chance to earn the job. Getting him for depth would be a coup for the Falcons.
Scott Carasik is a Featured Columnist for Bleacher Report. He covers the Atlanta Falcons, College Football, NFL and the NFL draft. He also runs DraftFalcons.com.