By: John Wickham

I was not planning on doing one of these again but as a Falcons and Georgia Bulldogs fan there is not much else to look forward to.

Like the title suggest I am going to do a couple different things. I will probably do two: one a stay pat draft and the other being a trade down. I am not going to predict any new free agent signings or roster moves from last week’s mock so if you are interested in seeing what I think of the Falcons’ own free agents you can look at that one. Here is the link: http://atlsportingreports.com/2013/11/13/mid-season-2014-nfl-mock-draft/

The Atlanta Falcons at 2-8 are currently tied with 4 teams. So with everything else going wrong with the Falcons season I will say they lose the coin flips and strength of schedule and pick behind everyone. That makes the current teams in front of the Falcons: Jacksonville (1-9), Minnesota (2-8), Houston (2-8) and Tampa Bay (2-8).

Falcons Draft Attempt #1 Staying Pat

1(5) – Jake Matthews, OT, Texas A&M
2(36) – Cyril Richardson, G/OT, Baylor
3(67) – Jeremiah Attaochu, DE/OLB, Georgia Tech
4(98) – Dominique Easley, DT/DE, UF
5(133) – Ryan Carrethers, NT, Ark St
6(164) – Ricardo Allen, CB/NB, Purdue
7(195) – Ryan Hewitt, FB, Stanford

I have said that I am getting more and more on the Clowney bandwagon but with the Falcons picking at 5, I could see a team like Minnesota taking him to replace Jared Allen. So I am deciding that he is not available. I also decided that OLB Anthony Barr has been taken by Houston.

As a result I stuck with Jake Matthews. Like I said before, the Falcons need to protect Matt Ryan better. I actually do think the Falcons may have something in Lamar Holmes and I am also excited to get a look at rookie RT Ryan Schraeder. They have 6 more games to show the coaching staff what they can do. So that could mean that the Falcons do not need to make this pick but until that point I think it is time to get an elite tackle who won’t cost all that much on this team. In the 2nd round I picked a guard but a better description might be “Insert best available guard”, because I really do not care which guy it is because any of the top ones will be better than what is already on the roster. I think regardless of free agency and what pick we make in the 1st, a guard needs to be the pick in the 2nd.

In the next 3 rounds I go DL crazy. Attaochu is a guy I have seen a lot playing for Georgia Tech. I think he could replace or backup Kroy Biermann if he is not ready to go to start next season. He has played both a 3-4 and a 4-3, with his hand in the dirt and standing up. Nolan favors a player with versatility and Attaochu fits the bill. Next I get an explosive athlete that has one of the quickest get-offs in college. Easley does come with an injury risk but in round 4 I think the reward outweighs the risk. In the 5th I get a small-time prospect only by the college he attends not by his performance and his size. The Falcons need a big guy in the middle who can play some snaps. I do not expect Ryan Carrethers to get a bunch of snaps or be needed to, but he should be able to come in the game and occupy multiple blockers. In the 5th I think you are not getting a guy who can dominate right away but might potentially become a force in a couple seasons.

I think Asante’s days as a Falcon are numbered. His play has slipped and the money is not matching the production. And with both Dominique Franks and Robert McClain free agents it is smart to get another guy. Allen is only 5’9” but he has 4.4 speed and he is feisty. He could become the nickel in a short time.
In the 7th I grab a FB. Again this could be better as “Insert best available FB”. I think we need to give Bradie Ewing a chance but it would be a good decision for the Falcons to have a backup plan.
So without the benefit of free agency I think I did a good job of attempting to fix the problems that have plagued the Falcons this season. I added 2 potential starters on the offensive line. I get a hybrid DE/LB. With the Falcons having most of their DTs as free agents I think it was good to double dip. In the 6th I get a feisty corner that does not mind getting into the action. In the 7th I take a flyer on a FB.

Falcons Draft Attempt #2 Trade Down

The reason I am thinking of a trade down because currently I have the Falcons as picking 5th overall and I see 2-4 QBs being taken: Bridgewater, Mariota, Hundley, and possibly Manziel. I could see Jadeveon Clowney going, as well as Anthony Barr. All the teams in front of the Falcons have a franchise LT under contract so I do not see any of the top tackles going.

I do think that the Falcons could stay put and take one of the LTs but I have high hopes for Lamar Holmes and Ryan Schraeder taking over the tackle spots. So the Falcons could look to trade down with a team looking to take a LT or jump up and get in on the run on QBs.

All 4 teams in the front of the Falcons could be looking at QBs and in the Top 10 so could St. Louis (6th overall {from Washington}, 3-7), Pittsburgh (8th overall, 4-6), and Cleveland (10th overall, 4-6).

I am going to assume that 2 QBs have been taken and so have Clowney and Barr.

The Falcons 1(5) pick is worth 1,700 points

The Browns 1(10) pick is worth 1,300 points. Their 2(41) pick is worth 490 points.

The Falcons win the trade by 90 points, a slight overpay by the Browns that I think they are willing to do as they want/need to get their franchise QB and feel that they need to jump in front of teams like the Rams, Steelers, and the Titans, if they do not believe that Locker is their future.

After the 1st round trade down the Falcons picks are:
1(10) – Louis Nix, DT, ND
2(36) – David Yankey, OG, Stanford
2(41) – Will Sutton, DT, Arizona St
3(67) – James Hurst, OT, UNC
4(98) – Xavier Su’a-Filo, OG, UCLA
5(133) –Xavier Grimble, TE, USC
6(164) – Kevin Pierre-Louis, OLB, BC
7(195) – Chad Abram, FB, FSU

After the trade down there were several different things going on. I could have gone with one of the other top tackles on the board or go DT or a DE/OLB hybrid. I am saying there were still OT Taylor Lewan and OT Cyrus Kouandjio, DE/OLB Vic Beasley, and DT Louis Nix available. Of course these guys could all be taken and I would have to look elsewhere and there are also plenty of other players available but I wanted to stick with these potential guys.

I feel that the Falcons lack of a pass rush is due to not enough push up the middle. It would help if the Falcons got something more opposite of Osi but I think Massaquoi and Goodman have a chance to develop into decent starting players. The Falcons have their top 3 DTs becoming free agents so I think it is important to address that need. I have two early 2nd round picks that I then pick a patented OG that should become a Day 1 starter. Next, I double dip at DT as I think we may only sign 1 of the 3 DT free agents from our team.
In the 3rd and 4th rounds I get two more O-linemen that should help overhaul the line. In the 5th I grab a TE that cannot solely replace Tony Gonzalez but with Levine Toilolo can be a young, solid group. In the 6th I grab a flyer on a guy that I think can come in a help on special teams and some particular defensive sets. Again in the 7th a FB is the pick but in the 7th I think you are really taking a flyer on a guy and shouldn’t expect too much from them.

I tried to pick different names to keep it interesting. It gets to be boring when you see the same names every single time. In this draft I think I almost completely overhaul the lines. We get a lot younger on both sides. At OT we would have Baker, Holmes, Schraeder and Hurst. OG we would have Blalock, Yankey, Su’a-Filo and potentially could keep Reynolds. At C we would have Konz and Hawley. On the defensive side we would have Peters, Robertson, Nix, and Sutton in the middle with Matthews and Goodman being swing players. On the outside it would be Umenyiora, Massaquoi, Maponga, and Biermann as the DE/OLB hybrid.

With better offensive linemen I think our running game improves and when Matt Ryan is allowed to sit back, he can pick apart a defense and we should have a healthy receiving core. Our back 4 is in place with Trufant and Alford outside and Moore and, hopefully a motivated, Decoud deep. Our LB group would be Spoon, Bartu, Worrilow, Dent, and Pierre-Louis with Biermann playing there as well. Our special teams would stay the same with Bryant, Bosher and Josh Harris as the long snapper. The return game could use a boost but the Falcons were pretty good without one in 2012.

So there are a couple other mock ideas with some different names thrown in there. I think everyone agrees that the lines on both sides of the ball need a lot of work. I think I accomplished that. I hope everyone enjoyed reading it.

*I used WalterFootball and CBS Sports draft prospect rankings for my mock drafts. I averaged out their rankings to make my selections. I tried my best to only go round-by-round and not go back and change my picks after seeing who was on the board later.