I believe Darron Lee is one of the players the Falcons are targeting at No. 17. He's such a great fit for their defense, and he happens to fill a huge need in their linebacking corps. He's also exactly what the front office covets from an athleticism standpoint. I think Atlanta would rather have Shaq Lawson, but Lee isn't a bad consolation prize.
*** OTHER 2016 NFL DRAFT POSSIBILITIES: ***
1. Shaq Lawson, DE - This is probably the latest Shaq Lawson can go. I can't imagine the Falcons passing on him if he happened to be available.
2. Jonathan Bullard, DT - The Falcons could use an interior rusher, and Bullard has the athleticism that they covet.
William Moore was too injury-prone to rely upon, so the Falcons parted ways with him this offseason. All they have now are a couple of mediocre players at safety, so they could use a dynamic play-maker at the position.
Rd. 3, Pk. 18
Bronson Kaufusi, DE/3-4DE, Brigham Young
The Falcons desperately need to upgrade their pass rush. I mentioned someone like Shaq Lawson in Round 1. Bronson Kaufusi makes a ton of sense here as well.
Rd. 4, Pk. 17
Joe Thuney, G, NC State
The Falcons made an important signing this offseason when acquiring Alex Mack, but they still need one more improvement on the interior of the offensive line to help Matt Ryan.
Rd. 7, Pk. 17
Jordan Lucas, S, Penn State
Here's another safety for a team that is desperate at the position. The Falcons might be interested in Jordan Lucas' athleticism.
The Falcons grab a right guard upgrade to finish off their offensive line.
Prior to a high ankle sprain that ended his practice week, Lamp (6-3, 305) performed well at the Senior Bowl after an excellent collegiate career. He made 39 straight starts and was a tough lineman at the point of attack. Lamp is a tough blocker who is well-rounded as a run blocker and pass protector. He lacks length, however, and should move inside to guard in the NFL. Similar to Cody Whitehair last year, Lamp's best position could be center. Team sources have said they could see Lamp going in the second round of the 2017 NFL Draft.
Rd. 2, Pk. 2
Budda Baker, S, Washington
The Falcons could use a free safety upgrade next to Keanu Neal, where Baker would be a perfect fit.
In 2016, Baker totaled 65 tackles with two interceptions and five passes broken up. He needs to get stronger to tackle in the NFL, but Baker is a fast safety who flies around the field. The 5-foot-10, 195-pounder has the ability to help in pass coverage and is a willing tackler in the ground game. Returning for his senior year and adding strength would have been his best route before going pro, but Baker decided to enter the 2017 NFL Draft.
In 2015, Baker recorded 49 tackles with seven passes broken up and two interceptions. He had 80 tackles, six pass breakups and an interception as a freshman.
Rd. 3, Pk. 3
Daeshon Hall, DE/3-4OLB, Texas A&M
The Falcons could use a base end to go on the other side from Vic Beasley.
In 2016, Hall collected 50 tackles with 13 tackles for a loss, 4.5 sacks, two forced fumbles and one pass batted. He had some good games for the Aggies, but wasn't consistent with his pass-rush production. The senior (6-5, 265) was solid against the run, however.
Hall looked poised to break out in 2015 after picking up an impressive four sacks against Louisville in Week 1. It turned out, however, that the performance was an anomaly, as the junior finished the year with a total of 54 tackles with 12.5 for a loss, seven sacks and two forced fumbles. Despite seeing great pass-rushing opportunities playing across from Myles Garrett, Hall wasn't consistent.
Rd. 4, Pk. 4
Charles Walker, DT, Oklahoma
Atlanta could use a more interior defensive line depth with Jonathan Babineaux aging.
In 2016, Walker totaled seven tackles with two for a loss and four passes broken up. He only played in four games because of a concussion and quit the team early in order to prepare for the 2017 NFL Draft. Walker was one of the few Oklahoma players who impressed in the 2016 opener against Houston, collecting three tackles, 1.5 for a loss and a pass batted. He had an impressive 2015 season with 36 tackles, six sacks and a forced fumble.
Walker displayed enough speed, strength and versatility to play end or tackle for Oklahoma, allowing him to be disruptive at the point of attack. The 6-foot-2, 310-pounder is talented and was cleared medically at the combine.
Rd. 5, Pk. 5
Robert Davis, WR, Georgia State
The Falcons go with the best player available and add some wide receiver competition.
Rd. 7, Pk. 7
Elijah McGuire, RB, La.-Lafayette
The Falcons go with the best player available to add some running back depth.
Freak. Athlete. No better way of describing this guy. He ran an absolutely blazing fast 4.47 40 at a very well build 6’1” 232 pounds and truly shows that type of speed on the tape as well. Not just a workout warrior either as he consistently made plays on the loaded buckeyes defense over the course of his career. He’s not a perfect tackler yet and definitely needs some work on his technique but he’s got all the instincts and natural ability that you can’t teach. One of the rangiest defensive players in this draft and a PERFECT fit as a 4-3 weak side Outside Linebacker, especially in coach Dan Quinn’s scheme. The best word to describe a Dan Quinn coached defense is probably “swarming” as his players all are so fast and so quick to the ball and never take plays off. That’s the exact role that Darron Lee is meant to fill in the NFL. He could stand to add some strength for sure but assuming he does and it doesn’t take away much of his speed, this kid could really be special. Great fit here for Atlanta.
Despite putting a second round tender on Paul Worrilow, the Atlanta Falcons have a gaping hole at the middle linebacker position. The aforementioned Blue Hen of Delaware has been very mediocre at the position and is better suited as a backup and core special teamer. On the other hand, Reggie Ragland, a two-time All-American for the defending national champion Alabama Crimson Tide, has proven to be a force at middle linebacker and is a lock as a first rounder.
1. Darron Lee - If available, the Ohio State linebacker is likely to be the pick. He fits a little better in Atlanta's defense and has a higher value.
2. Eli Apple - The Falcons have spent numerous early picks on defensive backs, but still struggle defensing the pass. Another first rounder might help and Eli Apple is one of the top players on the board.
3. Leonard Floyd - Despite taking Vic Beasley, a very similar player, in the first round last year, the Falcons have expressed considerable interest in the Georgia pass rusher.
The Falcons are a better team than their record showed if they played at their full potential they likely would have had double digit wins. Both the offense and defense faltered mid season and their late season push wasn't enough to get into the playoffs. They need help in multiple positions on defense and one position they need filled is defensive end and they get Shaq Lawson here. Lawson was a dominant player at Clemson and with his college teammate Vic Beasley they can become a dominant pass rushing duo that can remove the Falcons from the bottom of the sack list.
The Falcons don't have as many holes
in their roster as many say, but the holes that
they do have, just happen to be consistent and
it takes 11 solid players on both sides to make it
farther than they have been in the season. They
need a TE more than anything. The position asks
for pass blocking, run blocking, receiving, and
sometimes asks for pulling or roll-out blocks.
There is only one prospect the Falcons should
have their eye on for tight ends in Henry and
unfortunately is not a first round talent. There
are no longer corners or safeties available that
are worth it at this point as well. With Ragland
gone the Falcons lost the only interior linebacker
worth taking this high. With his talent level,
Cody Whitehair is good enough to be taken here
in my opinion, but most others would disagree.
Alas, the Falcons are left with their old nemesis,
the pass rush. Leonard Floyd has potential to be
a strong OLB as well as be a primary rusher. The
Falcons could use help at both and Floyd is a
wonderful fit in the system and fits a Best Player
Available (BPA) option as well.
Everybody better watch out when Atlanta gets hot on defense. They've already got a decent young core. All they need is 2 years of staying in an effective defensive scheme and they could actually be NFC South contenders. I mean pretenders ahem ahem. Since they got Vic Beasley last year. They'll get Dodd his former teammate to go opposite side as him on the defensive line.
Show/Hide Other Mocks with Kevin Dodd Going to Falcons
Rd. 1, Pk. 17
Keanu Neal, S
Taylor Decker was projected to go in the 14-20 range, so this makes sense as far as that is concerned. He's also a good fit in terms of need. The Lions' pass protection was an abomination at times last year. They needed a left tackle, but weren't going to get that here at No. 16. The right tackle spot had to be addressed as well, however, and the Lions will be better at that spot with Decker. This deserves a solid "B" grade.
Rd. 2, Pk. 21
Deion Jones, OLB
I was shocked to see the Falcons pass on Darron Lee and reach for Keanu Neal in the first round. This is yet another reach, though not nearly as blatant. Deion Jones seemed like a mid third-round prospect, but he definitely fits a need. It's also not completely surprising to see him chosen, as he fits Atlanta's athleticism requirement. Jones has great upside, but his floor is pretty low as well, as he doesn't seem to have the strength to play very much right now.