Mel Kiper 2011 NFL Mock Draft: Adrian Clayborn Not the Best Pick for Falcons
Mel Kiper 2011 NFL Mock Draft Has the Falcons Reaching for Clayborn
There are only so many teams that don't have any glaring needs heading into the 2011 NFL Draft, and one of them is the Atlanta Falcons. They are solid on both offense and defense, so the draft should be a simple matter of making what's already good even better.
Because the Falcons hold the No. 27 pick in the draft, they're probably not going to be able to get their hands on any of the elite prospects, so I'm of the mind that they are in a position to reach for players they need, even if they are not true first-round prospects.
This is exactly why I'm not crazy about the fact that Mel Kiper has them taking Iowa defensive end Adrian Clayborn in his most recent 2011 NFL Mock Draft (must have ESPN Insider). Clayborn is a fine player, but even Kiper acknowledges that the Falcons could look elsewhere with the No. 27 pick:
[Clayborn] has good size, a reputation for relentlessness and the respect of his peers. Atlanta could look for a wideout to diversify an attack that went too often in one direction last year, but Clayborn is the better value here.
That middle part is very true. Matt Ryan relied way too heavily on Roddy White in 2010. It worked out in the sense that White led the NFC with 1,389 receiving yards, but no other Falcons pass-catcher had more than 700 yards receiving, and it's worth mentioning that White's production did sag down the stretch.
Two guys the Falcons have been reported to have their eyes on are Maryland's speedy wide receiver Torrey Smith and Notre Dame tight end Kyle Rudolph. At best, both players are borderline first-rounders, but I think either one of them would be worth reaching for at No. 27. Between the two of them, Rudolph would probably be better for the long term, as he could step in for Tony Gonzalez after the 2011 season.
Yes, the Falcons do need a defensive end, but I think they're one of the few teams that is more in need of offense than defense. Therefore, I think Kiper botched this one.
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