Assigning Odds to Every Potential Atlanta Falcons 1st-Round Pick
The Atlanta Falcons could go many different ways with their first-round pick in the 2014 NFL draft. Setting the odds on each selection is proving to be a tough task because of how unpredictable this year’s draft has been already despite no selections being made.
With the Falcons being interested in these seven guys in the first round, the randomness for this year’s selection makes predictions tougher than normal. Atlanta could shock us all and take Sammy Watkins, but we’ll be looking at more realistic selections here.
S Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, Alabama
The Falcons need a good starting-caliber safety in this year’s draft. And while Ha Ha Clinton-Dix is arguably the best safety in the draft, Atlanta is unlikely to take him at No. 6 overall since the value isn’t exactly great there.
Now, if the Falcons trade down to around 10 or 11, it would make a ton of sense for them to take Clinton-Dix and pick up an extra third-round pick. But at No. 6, the odds don’t look good for Clinton-Dix to be a Falcon.
OT Taylor Lewan, Michigan
Sometimes, a pick will make sense as a last-resort situation. Taylor Lewan at No. 6 overall is that kind of situation. The only way this pick makes sense is if the Falcons are willing to move Sam Baker over to the right side for a season or two and if their top four or five options are taken.
Now if the Falcons trade down to 10 or 11, it would make a lot more sense for them to go after the Michigan product. However, the likelihood of this is still very slim. It’s looking more and more like Lewan will not be a Falcon, barring a trade down or a dramatic slide for the Michigan tackle.
DE/OLB Anthony Barr, UCLA
The Falcons do need an aggressive, active pass-rusher to line up on either side of the field. However, they shouldn’t settle for the fourth best one in the draft in Anthony Barr. While he could be understandable after a massive trade back, Barr at No. 6 would be ludicrous.
He is just way too raw for the Falcons to take a chance on him that high in the draft. He could be the best pass-rusher in the class if he figured it all out, but Atlanta needs an instant impact that he just won’t provide in 2014.
OT Jake Matthews, Texas A&M
This is easily the most likely selection of all. Jake Matthews would be an instant starter at left tackle for the Falcons and would be in the Falcons Ring of Honor after his 15-year, eight- or nine-time Pro Bowl career as the blindside protector for quarterback Matt Ryan.
However, there are more talented options available. Sadly, those options are Greg Robinson, Jadeveon Clowney and Khalil Mack—three men who are likely to be selected within the top five picks of this year’s NFL draft.
OT Greg Robinson, Auburn
Greg Robinson would be a tremendous pick for the Falcons if he somehow fell to Atlanta at No. 6. He’d be the instant upgrade at left tackle that Atlanta has needed since Bob Whitfield retired. More than that, he’d be someone with potential to lock down Matt Ryan’s blind side until the quarterback retired.
The Falcons need that and won’t likely have another opportunity anytime soon to get a guy as good as Robinson. However, if Khalil Mack or Jadeveon Clowney is available when the Falcons pick, they would be much more likely selections.
DE/OLB Khalil Mack, Buffalo
If Khalil Mack is available at No. 6, it would be a no-brainer for the Falcons to select him. However, he’s a great fit for the "Leo" spot in Jacksonville’s defense, the WOLB spot in Houston, Oakland and Cleveland’s defense, and the SLB spot in St. Louis’ defense.
If he were to fall out of the top five, it would be a miracle for the Falcons. It would also be something that Atlanta could use to its advantage by taking its next sack artist for a 3-4 conversion that looks increasing likely within the next few years.
DE/OLB Jadeveon Clowney, South Carolina
As much as the Falcons probably want to get Jadeveon Clowney, it’s not going to happen unless they trade up to the top two picks in the draft. That is also very unlikely unless they don’t have to give up a ton of compensation for the top pass-rusher.
It's a long shot that they trade up and get Clowney. However, his acquisition could easily shape the Falcons defense into one of the best in the NFL. He could play a pass-rushing edge-player role that would allow Atlanta to finally create pressure on quarterbacks.
All stats used are either from Pro Football Focus' Premium Stats (subscription required), ESPN, CFBStats or the NFL. All combine and pro-day info is courtesy NFL Draft Scout. All contract information is courtesy of Spotrac and Rotoworld.
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.