2014 Atlanta Falcons Mock Draft: First One with Compensatory Selections
The Falcons will benefit greatly from having compensatory selections in 2014. Those picks are all about building depth for a team that needs it. Atlanta will have have 10 picks in the draft and the ability to build up their talent level beyond the first string.
While a trade up looks very possible, due to the surplus of picks and the fact that Dimitroff has traded up for his guy on three of his six first-round picks, this scenario will be based on not having any trades due to their completely volatile nature.
Round 1, No. 6 Overall: OT Greg Robinson, Auburn
Atlanta needs someone to come in and compete for a starting tackle spot. While Sam Baker, Lamar Holmes, Mike Johnson and Gabe Carimi all have potential to be starters who are at least average, none has the potential to be a future Hall of Fame talent.
Greg Robinson has that kind of potential. He's very raw as a pass protector but as a run-blocker is mauling, dominant and has one of the nastiest streaks of any player in college football. Robinson can sweep an entire defensive line out of the way with how strong he is in the run game.
Robinson is extremely athletic for his size and could be a wall in pass protection. He could give the Falcons a left side that's set for a long time, in Robinson and Blalock. The right side would then be one big competition for a year.
Height: 6'5" Weight: 332 pounds
Arm Length: 35" Hand Measurement: 10"
40-yard dash: 4.92 sec. 10-yard split: 1.68 sec.
20-yard shuttle: 4.86 sec. 3-cone Drill: 7.80 sec. Bench Reps: 32 reps
Vertical Jump: 28.5" Broad Jump: 9'5"
2013: 14 Games Started at Left Tackle
2012: 11 Games Started at Left Tackle
Round 2, No. 37 Overall: TE Jace Amaro, Texas Tech
How do you replace arguably the best tight end to ever play the game of football? With someone who has the potential to be better, in Jace Amaro. Amaro didn't play many snaps in-line at tight end in college and was used mainly as a slot receiver.
However, that's not really too different than how the Falcons used Tony Gonzalez in 2013. Amaro is at least a willing blocker and would be an improvement in-line over what Gonzalez was. He'd also be an improvement as someone to attack the seam.
His ability to create separation and win contested catches make him an instant starter in the NFL. Amaro has potential to be a Pro Bowler sooner rather than later. The Falcons should jump on what could be the ideal piece for their offensive scheme.
Height: 6'5-3/8" Weight: 265 pounds
Arm Length: 34" Hand Measurement: 9"
40-yard dash: 4.74 sec. 10-yard split: 1.64 sec.
20-yard shuttle: 4.30 sec. 3-cone Drill: 7.42 sec. Bench Reps: 28 reps
Vertical Jump: 33.0" Broad Jump: 9'10"
2013: 13 Games Played, 106 Catches, 1,352 Yards, 7 Touchdowns, 2 Tackles
2012: 7 Games Played, 25 Catches, 406 Yards, 4 Touchdowns
2011: 12 Games Played, 7 Catches, 57 Yards, 2 Touchdowns, 2 Tackles
Round 3, No. 68 Overall: DE/OLB Marcus Smith, Louisville
The Falcons need someone for their pass-rushing rotation. And yes, this is really late in the draft for where most expect the Falcons to get a pass-rushing edge player. However, the value in the other two rounds would be too good to pass up.
Marcus Smith is an ideal fit for Mike Nolan's defense, as he can play defensive end, outside linebacker and even some inside linebacker. He's shown in Charlie Strong's extremely similar defensive scheme that he can create pass rush from anywhere on the field.
As a run defender, he's mediocre at best. And in coverage, he has a ton of work to do. In a rotation with Jonathan Massaquoi, Malliciah Goodman, Osi Umenyiora and Kroy Biermann, the Falcons could have an underrated, yet talented, group of pass-rushers.
Height: 6'3" Weight: 251 pounds
Arm Length: 34" Hand Measurement: 10"
40-yard dash: 4.68 sec. 10-yard split: 1.57 sec.
20-yard shuttle: 4.47 sec. 3-cone Drill: 7.48 sec. Bench Reps: 23 reps
Vertical Jump: 35.0" Broad Jump: 10'1"
2013: 13 Games Played, 42 Tackles, 18.5 Tackles for Loss, 14.5 Sacks, 12 QB Hurries, 4 Fumbles Forced, 3 Pass Deflections, 1 Blocked Kick
2012: 13 Games Played, 29 Tackles, 7.0 Tackles for Loss, 4.0 Sacks, 2 QB Hurries, 1 Interception, 2 Fumbles Forced, 2 Pass Deflections
2011: 10 Games Played, 12 Tackles, 6.5 Tackles for Loss, 5.5 Sacks, 2 Fumbles Forced, 1 Pass Deflection
2010: 9 Games Played, 3 Tackles, 1.0 Tackles for Loss
Round 4, No. 103 Overall: S Dion Bailey, Southern California
Atlanta needs a starting-caliber free safety. While waiting this long in the draft to take one doesn't seem ideal, Dion Bailey has starting potential and could be a better fit for Mike Nolan's defense than Thomas DeCoud was in 2013.
Bailey is much more of a playmaker than DeCoud was, and with William Moore and Desmond Trufant being some of the best at their positions, the Falcons could have a secondary that is finally good at tackling and coverage.
Bailey isn't afraid to get his hands dirty in the run game and makes a ton of plays on the ball. He has jarring hits and isn't afraid to blitz and get after the quarterback. Bailey in the Falcons' defensive scheme could be very fun to watch.
Height: 5'11-3/4" Weight: 201 pounds
Arm Length: 32" Hand Measurement: 9-1/2"
40-yard dash: 4.66 sec. 10-yard split: 1.64 sec.
20-yard shuttle: 4.15 sec. 3-cone Drill: 6.97 sec.
Vertical Jump: 34.0" Broad Jump: 9'5"
2013: 14 Games Played, 62 Tackles, 6.5 Tackles for Loss, 0.5 Sack, 5 Interceptions, 1 Fumble Forced, 6 Pass Deflections
2012: 13 Games Played, 80 Tackles, 8.0 Tackles for Loss, 1.0 Sack, 4 Interceptions, 1 Fumble Forced, 5 Pass Deflections
2011: 11 Games Played, 81 Tackles, 2.0 Tackles for Loss, 2.0 Sacks, 2 Interceptions, 1 Fumble Forced, 2 Pass Deflections
Round 4, No. 139 Overall: DT Justin Ellis, Louisiana Tech
Sure, Atlanta brought in Paul Soliai and re-signed Corey Peters. However, the Falcons need to make sure they have a space-eating guy who can draw double-teams or make teams pay if they decide to not double-team him. Justin Ellis is a unique talent in this year's draft who fits that mold.
He's extremely quick for his side and understands how to take on double-teams, while still collapsing the pocket. He will make teams pay with inside moves, but also isn't afraid to be the clearing guy on a tackle-end stunt.
The Falcons would have a lot of fun with their 3-4 sets with him in it as well. And in some goal line sets, the idea of Ellis next to Soliai, Peters and Babineaux make the Falcons look extremely tough to run against in the red zone.
Height: 6'1-1/2" Weight: 334 pounds
Arm Length: 33" Hand Measurement: 10-1/8"
40-yard dash: 5.29 sec. 10-yard split: 1.88 sec.
20-yard shuttle: 4.75 sec. 3-cone Drill: 7.81 sec. Bench Reps: 25 reps
Vertical Jump: 28.0" Broad Jump: 7'8"
2013: 12 Games Played, 48 Tackles, 5.5 Tackles for Loss, 1.5 Sacks, 2 QB Hurries, 1 Pass Deflection
2012: 10 Games Played, 21 Tackles, 2 Fumbles Forced, 1 Pass Deflection
2011: 13 Games Played, 28 Tackles, 2.5 Tackles for Loss, 1.0 Sack, 1 QB Hurry, 1 Pass Deflection
2010: 4 Games Played, 4 Tackles, 0.5 Tackles for Loss
Round 5, No. 147 Overall: WR Bruce Ellington, South Carolina
Roddy White. Julio Jones. Harry Douglas. Devin Hester. Then, there's a bunch of undrafted free agents vying for the final spot on the roster at wide receiver. So, why not bring in someone to compete with them, in South Carolina's Bruce Ellington?
The former Gamecock is an ideal slot receiver in the NFL. He's got great short-area quickness and runs routes that can break defensive backs' ankles. As a former point guard for Carolina's basketball team, he understands how to manipulate a defense with head fakes and quick jukes.
The Falcons could use him early on in four-and-five wide receiver sets. Worst case scenario, he's a massive upgrade over what the Falcons put out there in 2013 as starters. Darius Johnson and Drew Davis weren't ready for the spotlight, and it's questionable if they ever will be.
Height: 5'9-3/8" Weight: 197 pounds
Arm Length: 31" Hand Measurement: 9-5/8"
40-yard dash: 4.45 sec. 10-yard split: 1.63 sec.
20-yard shuttle: 3.95 sec. 3-cone Drill: 6.69 sec. Bench Reps: 15 reps
Vertical Jump: 39.5" Broad Jump: 10'0"
2013: 13 Games Played, 49 Catches, 775 Yards, 8 Touchdowns, 3 Carries, 14 Yards, 1-of-1 (100.0 percent) Passing, 9 Yards, 1 Touchdown, 3 Punt Returns, 16 Yards, 5 Kick Returns, 108 Yards, 2 Tackles
2012: 13 Games Played, 40 Catches, 600 Yards, 7 Touchdowns, 5 Carries, 28 Yards, 18 Kick Returns, 406 Yards, 2 Tackles
2011: 13 Games Played, 17 Catches, 211 Yards, 1 Touchdown, 17 Carries, 106 Yards, 1 Touchdown, 3-of-4 (75.0 Percent), 27 Yards, 20 Kick Returns, 463 Yards, 2 Tackles
2010: Redshirted and played basketball
Round 6, No. 182 Overall: RB Kapri Bibbs, Colorado State
Steven Jackson is nearing the end of his career, and the Falcons need to find a better replacement for him than the 27-year old Josh Vaughan or the 28-year old Antone Smith. Jacquizz Rodgers is a solid player, but he's a change of pace guy in the final year of his contract.
That's where a guy like Kapri Bibbs can come right in. He's just 21 years old and could be a two-contract running back for the Falcons. He's got great burst and one-cut ability. But the true strength for Bibbs is that he runs with power and vision to complement his speed.
Once he finally figures out what to do on the receiving side of things, Bibbs could be a dangerously good running back in the NFL. He's someone with a possible career path similar to that of Alfred Morris. He could bust on the scene as a top-five back in the right scheme with the right injury situation in front of him.
Height: 5'9-3/8" Weight: 212 pounds
Arm Length: 31-3/8" Hand Measurement: 8-1/2"
40-yard dash: 4.54 sec. 10-yard split: 1.53 sec.
20-yard shuttle: 4.61 sec. 3-cone Drill: 7.50 sec. Bench Reps: 24 reps
Vertical Jump: 29.0" Broad Jump: 8'10"
2013: 14 Games Played, 281 Carries, 1,741 Yards, 31 Touchdowns, 8 Catches, 59 Yards, 3 Tackles
2012: Played at Fort Range (CO) Community College
2011: Redshirted at Fort Range (CO) Community College
Round 7, No. 220 Overall: CB Ricardo Allen, Purdue
Atlanta can always use more depth at cornerback and on special teams. In the seventh round, you take who you like and who you think will make the roster their first two seasons. Ricardo Allen wouldn't be an instant starter for Atlanta.
Honestly, he likely would never be more than the fourth-best cornerback on the roster. However, he should provide cheap depth. He's a playmaking cornerback who has great ball skills. His biggest issue is his lack of top end speed.
One option for Allen could be moving to safety, but he's not overly physical. He does play faster than he timed, but the Falcons would likely view him as just a pure special teams guy early on. And those kinds of guys are who get drafted in the seventh round by Thomas Dimitroff.
Height: 5'9-1/8" Weight: 187 pounds
Arm Length: 30" Hand Measurement: 9-1/4"
40-yard dash: 4.61 sec. 10-yard split: 1.67 sec.
20-yard shuttle: 4.15 sec. Bench Reps: 13 reps
Vertical Jump: 35.5" Broad Jump: 9'9"
2013: 12 Games Played, 53 Tackles, 4.0 Tackles for Loss, 1.0 Sack, 6 Interceptions, 1 Fumble Forced, 3 Pass Deflections
2012: 13 Games Played, 45 Tackles, 4.0 Tackles for Loss, 1.0 Sack, 1 Interception, 4 Pass Deflections, 1 Defensive Touchdown, 1 Punt Return, 25 Yards
2011: 13 Games Played, 79 Tackles, 3.0 Tackles for Loss, 3 Interceptions, 1 Fumble Forced, 4 Pass Deflections, 1 Blocked Kick, 1 Defensive Touchdown, 1 Punt Return, 7 Yards
2010: 12 Games Played, 73 Tackles, 3.5 Tackles for Loss, 1.0 Sack, 3 Interceptions, 4 Pass Deflections, 2 Defensive Touchdowns
Round 7, No. 253 Overall: RB/ST Jerick McKinnon, Georgia Southern
Atlanta could use an upgrade on special teams and a versatile offensive weapon to add to the arsenal. Jerick McKinnon has played quarterback, receiver, running back and even will get looks at safety for some teams in this year's draft.
The Falcons are a team that would allow McKinnon to sit behind four or five guys at running back and wide receiver, so that he can develop. He'd play special teams early on and would show his extensive talents there.
McKinnon has shown a lot of ability to play running back in the Senior Bowl and during the combine. However, as a former quarterback, he understands how offenses work and could end up as a gadget-type player once he finally gets to a full-time role.
Height: 5'8-7/8" Weight: 209 pounds
Arm Length: 30-1/4" Hand Measurement: 8-5/8"
40-yard dash: 4.41 sec. 10-yard split: 1.46 sec.
20-yard shuttle: 4.12 sec. 3-cone Drill: 6.83 sec. Bench Reps: 32 reps
Vertical Jump: 40.5" Broad Jump: 11'0"
2013: 10 Games Played, 8-of-17 (47.1 percent), 171 Yards, 4 Touchdowns, 1 Interception, 161 Carries, 1,050 Yards, 12 Touchdowns, 3 Catches, 23 Yards, 3 Kick Returns, 33 Yards
2012: 14 Games Played, 20-of-49 (40.9 percent), 597 Yards, 7 Touchdowns, 3 Interceptions, 269 Carries, 1,817 Yards, 20 Touchdowns, 1 Catch, 15 Yards
2011: 13 Games Played, 3-of-6 (50.0 percent), 37 Yards, 1 Touchdown, 0 Interceptions, 80 Carries, 537 Yards, 7 Touchdowns, 6 Catches, 127 Yards, 1 Touchdowns, 1 Kick Return, 41 Yards
2010: 10 Games Played, 3-of-9 (33.3 percent), 24 Yards, 0 Touchdowns, 1 Interception, 109 Carries, 495 Yards, 3 Touchdowns
Round 7, No. 255 Overall: FB/DL/LB Nikita Whitlock, Wake Forest
The Falcons just cut their starting fullback Bradie Ewing and will need to bring in some competition for Patrick DiMarco. On top of that, depth at edge-rusher and on special teams is definitely needed. That's where taking Nikita Whitlock will come in handy.
Some guys come around who are just pure football players. They aren't overwhelmingly big. They aren't overwhelmingly fast. They just have amazing instincts and understand how to play football the right way. Whitlock is that kind of guy.
While he played nose tackle in college, Atlanta could use him at fullback. If he doesn't do well there, they can try him at inside linebacker for depth. If he doesn't work there, they can use him at outside linebacker for depth. If that doesn't work, have him put his hand in the dirt on pass plays at end.
However, if he works at all four spots, the Falcons can have cheap, intelligent depth on their roster. They can have someone who's a good special teams player. And most of all, they can have a guy who makes a seventh-round pick look like a brilliant investment.
Height: 5'9-3/4" Weight: 251 pounds
Arm Length: 31-1/8" 40-yard dash: 4.74 sec.
3-cone Drill: 6.90 sec. Bench Reps: 43 reps
Vertical Jump: 33.0"
2013: 12 Games Played, 82 Tackles, 18.0 Tackles for Loss, 9.0 Sacks, 7 QB Hurries, 2 Fumbles Forced, 3 Pass Deflections, 2 Blocked Kicks, 1 Punt Return, 25 Yards
2012: 10 Games Played, 51 Tackles, 5.5 Tackles for Loss, 3.0 Sacks, 2 QB Hurries
2011: 13 Games Played, 64 Tackles, 14.0 Tackles for Loss, 3.5 Sacks, 3 QB Hurries, 1 Fumble Forced, 1 Pass Deflection
2010: 12 Games Played, 44 Tackles, 10.5 Tackles for Loss, 3.0 Sacks, 2 QB Hurries, 2 Fumbles Forced, 3 Pass Deflections
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.