By: John Wickham

I also wanted to do some mock drafts today. For these I used the Fanspeak site. I used my draft big board to pick from players available. I wanted to see how the draft would look after picking an OT first and then picking a DE/OLB pass rusher first for the next draft. I have said this before and I will say it again, I believe that a pass rusher is a more dire need than OT. If neither Clowney nor Mack make it to our pick then I would be fine taking an OT like Greg Robinson or Jake Matthews. A trade down if none of the players were available would be option #5 for me.

The Falcons current top needs for me are:
• DE/OLB (pass rusher)
• FS (starter)
• OT (starter/swing tackle)
• TE (starter/split-time)
Others would be NT, RB, WR, interior OL, LB, CB

Mock Draft #1

1(6) OT, Greg Robinson, Auburn
2(37) S, Jimmie Ward, Northern Illinois
3(68) DE/OLB Trent Murphy, Stanford
4(103) WR, Martavis Bryant, Clemson
4(139) TE, Arthur Lynch, UGA
5(147) CB, Antone Exum, VT
6(182) ILB, Andrew Jackson, Western Kentucky
7(220) RB, Jerick McKinnon, Georgia Southern
7(253) DT, Beau Allen, Wisconsin
7(255) OG, Spencer Long, Nebraska

In the first mock draft I went with the OT in the 1st round. Robinson is a talent player that takes over for RT for a year or two with the goal being to take over LT and not having to think about the position for the next decade. In the next round there was not value for a pass rusher so I went with the FS. Jimmie Ward does not have elite size but makes up for it with good speed and solid instincts. In the 3rd need finally meet value for finding a pass rusher with Trent Murphy. In the 4th I probably went a little too early for a WR but Bryant has the tools, but he needs some seasoning and why not get it from Julio Jones and Roddy White. Arthur Lynch is a jack-of-all-trades type of TE. He isn’t going to be the fastest or best blocker but he can do a little bit of everything and would fit in nicely with Levine Toilolo and make a solid 1-2 combo. Antone Exum is a guy that can come in and be a CB/S combo. He won’t have to do too much to start because he will be behind Arenas and McClain at CB and would have Ward and Moore starting over him but he should become the #2 FS. Starting in the 6th I get an ILB that should help give us some solid depth for the 3-4 hybrid we will be running. In the 7th I get a RB that can do a lot of things but to start will be a special teams ace. Then I grab a NT to help backup big Paul Soliai. For the final pick I get a guy that drops a lot because of injuries but when healthy would easily be picked 3-4 rounds earlier. Spencer Long would get a chance to learn and get healthy before taking over for Blalock in a year or two.

Mock Draft #2
1(6) DE, Jadeveon Clowney, South Carolina
2(37) S, Jimmie Ward, Northern Illinois
3(68) OT, Antonio Richardson, Tennessee
4(103) TE, Troy Niklas, ND
4(139) ILB, Max Bullough, Michigan St
5(147) WR, Jeff Janis, Saginaw Valley St
6(182) DT, Ryan Carrethers, Arkansas St
7(220) OLB, Boseko Lokombo, Oregon
7(253) CB, Ricardo Allen, Purdue
7(255) OG, Spencer Long, Nebraska

In the second mock I had Jadeveon Clowney fall to #6. I do not think that will happen in the real draft but it is a possibility. I think Clowney is an elite prospect and with the right support system, hopefully Osi Umenyiora and DL coach Brian Cox, among others would be just that. Someone said that there are starting-caliber OL in this draft all the way through the 4th round and I agree with them. That is also why I would take a pass rusher in the 1st round and went with FS again in the 2nd. Ward was the guy again. I think he has what it takes to come in and complete our young very good secondary. In 3rd I find a guy that can add some competition to the RT position and if he loses would become our swing tackle. In the 4th a TE that many were shocked came out. Troy Niklas has great size at 6’6” and 275 lbs. He is a solid blocker and a pretty good receiver as well. He probably wouldn’t be going deep in the seams but would be a reliable target in the intermediate routes. For the 4th round comp pick I get an ILB that helps with good depth. In the 5th I get a WR that has the tools but needs to be coached up after playing Division II college football. In the 6th I get that space eater that can spell Paul Soliai. In the 7th I add another LB for depth and special teams. For the 7th round comp picks I add a CB in Ricardo Allen that I like a lot. He is a feisty CB that should do well as a NB or DB. The last pick again is Spencer Long. I like his project ability. I think he is a starter down the road and to get that in the 7th is wonderful. The only position I did not address was the RB position but I think we have enough talent there to get past this season and make it a priority for next off-season. I double dipped at LB because I think we need to add some competition there and prepare for next off season’s defections.