By: John Wickham
It has been awhile since I have done one of these and thought it was about time to get another one done.
I really don’t want to project any more signings because I am not sure if the Falcons will make any more that will significantly alter their draft plans. I could see them adding some depth at LB or CB but those were not high needs in the first place. I said this before but I would like to see a veteran FS and TE added to the roster.
There are a few options available for both positions and now as the initial tidal wave of money has been handed out the deals shouldn’t be as large and take up much of the cap space. The Falcons currently have about S11.2 million in space. So some moves could be made if the Falcons choose to do so.
I plan to mock the first 5 picks before the Falcons selection in round 1 and then just the Falcons draft the rest of the way. I do not plan on adding any trades because I don’t want to muddy anything up. My top guys are:
1. DE Jadeveon Clowney, South Carolina
2. OT Greg Robinson, Auburn
3. OLB Khalil Mack, Buffalo
4. OT Jake Matthews, Texas A&M
And on to the draft:
1. Houston- DE Jadeveon Clowney, South Carolina
2. St. Louis- OT Greg Robinson, Auburn
3. Jacksonville- QB Teddy Bridgewater, Louisville
4. Cleveland- QB Blake Bortles, UCF
5. Oakland- WR Sammy Watkins, Clemson
It might not go exactly like this but I think out of the 4 guys I would prefer, at least one of them will be available. I see Houston going either QB or Clowney/Mack. I see St. Louis going either OT or WR. I see Jacksonville going QB. I see Cleveland going QB or WR. I see Oakland going QB or WR or OT. Houston already has Duane Brown at LT and I am not sure if they will go for a RT at the #1 pick. They also just drafted DeAndre Hopkins last year and still have Andre Johnson at WR so I don’t see them getting a WR. Clowney or Mack could be the pick if they want to add another pass rusher to their defense. St. Louis believes Sam Bradford is their QB and want to stick with him for at least one more season. Adding another weapon like Sammy Watkins could be the pick or adding to the line with either Greg Robinson or Jake Matthews. Jacksonville recently added 4 DL to their roster so I am not sure if they would be willing to add either Mack or Clowney. They drafted Luke Joeckel last year and I am not sure if they will draft another OT that earlier again. They need to add a franchise QB that can develop behind Chad Henne for a season or two or they can draft a WR with Justin Blackmon’s future in doubt. Cleveland has released two of their QBs and really only have Brian Hoyer there. Adding a franchise QB could help them turn around their franchise or they could choose to add another playmaker opposite of Josh Gordon. They also signed Paul Kruger to a huge deal last offseason and drafted Mingo early last season so I don’t think either Clowney or Mack goes to them. Oakland has recently added Justin Tuck and Lamarr Woodley to their defense. They did sign a RT and had their projected LT fail a physical. They are bringing in LT Donald Penn but if they do not sign him, a LT will be needed. They could also be looking at adding a QB or WR.
6. OLB Khalil Mack, Buffalo
37. OT Morgan Moses, Virginia
68. FS Terrence Brooks, FSU
99. TE C.J. Fiedorowicz, Iowa
135. OG Anthony Steen, Alabama
166. DT Ryan Carrethers, Arkansas St.
197. WR Jeff Janis, Saginaw Valley
With this draft I feel I answered most of the Falcons most immediate needs. They need a dynamic pass rusher and Mack should be able to come in and do that. Another young OT gets added to the group and competes for the starting RT spot. Terrence Brooks comes in for the FS spot. He could come in and start right away but sit for a year or two if the Falcons decide to sign a veteran. Fiedorowicz gives us another option in the pass game but also blocks very well. Steen is a young guard that can sit for awhile before hopefully being ready to take over for Justin Blalock. Carrethers gives the Falcons another big body for the middle of their defense when recently signed Paul Soliai needs a breather. In the 7th I get a guy who has the Height-Weight-Speed combo. He comes from a small school and will probably need a couple years to be seasoned.
The Falcons will probably get a couple compensatory picks but I really do not want to project what they are. They should be announced within the next 2 weeks so we will know soon enough. If the Falcons do get some comp picks I would have looked to add a CB, LB, and FB.
I think this draft coupled with the free agency moves made so far gets the Falcons back on top of the NFC perch.