Pre Free Agency/Combine 7 Round Falcons Mock Draft

Dimitroff1

Team Needs:
Offensive Guard (Right Guard), Defensive Tackle, Wide Receiver, Cornerback, Fullback

Round 1, Pick 26: Da’Ron Payne, DT, Alabama

Payne1Michael DeMocker

A 6’2″ 308 pound monster of a defensive tackle from Alabama is who I think Dan Quinn takes with Atlanta’s first pick. With the Falcons not resigning Dontari Poe this offseason, they can save a lot of money giving a player just as good a rookie contract. It’s a great move by Dimitroff and Quinn especially considering Payne’s ability. His size is great but he has great control over his body and knows how to use it. Payne wasn’t the main defensive tackle until Jonathan Allen left for the pros but Payne has impressed in his lone year as the main player. He had 52 tackles this year and was an exceptional run-stopper while earning second team All-SEC honors. His numbers aren’t particularly impressive without watching his film but he showcases tremendous intelligence, strength, and overall athletic ability.

Strengths:

Great natural strength (will showcase it at combine), great initial punch/contact, great bullrush, great leader, doesn’t drop to ground easy, great run stopper with good body control, can drop his shoulders and easily bullrush a big center, never stops moving his feet, very hard worker, great leader

Weaknesses:

Can get to ballcarrier but isn’t great at finishing tackles, doesn’t change direction well or quickly (square-up defender), pass rush is stopped when his first move is stopped

Quote:

“I think A’Shawn Robinson was more talented than Da’Ron (Payne) and I know Robinson had better (tackle-for-loss) and sack production than him, but Payne plays harder and I think he’ll be the better NFL player. He’s thick and strong, but he’s also a really good athlete and I see his best football in front of him.” – NFC executive

Payne2           Vasha Hunt

Reason for picking him:

Jarrett is a great pass rusher but can sometimes lack in the run stopping department. Payne is a natural run stopper with an insane combination of athleticism and strength. I would love to see him in an Atlanta uniform because he could really take this good defense to the next level.

Round 2, Pick 58: Isaiah Wynn, OG/OT, Georgia

Wynn1.jpgMichael Wade

Wynn might not be available at this position but I am optimistic.  He played tackle at Georgia and was a great player for the bulldogs who impressed in most facets of the game. Although he is short at 6’2″, he is a versatile player who will move to guard in the NFL. He was a second-team All-American and first-team All-SEC selection in 2017, starting all 15 games on the outside to lead the way for Sony Michel and Nick Chubb to have great years.

Strengths:

Good natural strength, fluid movement, technically sound blocker, has good angles when moving up to linebackers, great handfighting ability, can play both guard and tackle, strong hands, quick to respond to twists, stunts, etc., good block finishing

Weaknesses:

Small (Only 6’2″), built like a tackle instead of a guard, overall athleticism is a big question as he had trouble with faster DEs speed rushing him (won’t be as big of a problem as a pass blocker but will be when pulling on run plays), slow to get off ball, poor initial contact, sometimes chases defenders rather than standing his ground

Quote:

“He’s what you want from a tackle but he’s not even going to come in at 6’3 so that’s (stinks). He’ll be a good player for a team who wants athletic guards. You might even see a team draft him as a center since he’s stronger than a lot of the centers you will see in this draft.” – NFC area scout

Wynn2Robin Alam

Reason for picking him:

He might not be available in the second round but it is very possible, Quinn could trade up for him and it would certainly be worth it. He was a pretty good player this year but really impressed me during the CFP and senior bowl and Atlanta had eyes on him during the senior bowl. I think he would be a good replacement for Schweitzer/Garland or Levitre down the road and could be a versatile lineman for Atlanta’s offense.

Round 3, Pick 90: D.J. Chark, WR, LSU

Chark2Bill Feig

Chark wasn’t a household name during his time at LSU but has since brought his name into light due to an impressive senior bowl performance where he hauled in 5 catches for 160 yards. At LSU, he didn’t start a game (as WR) until his junior year. In those two years he caught 66 passes for 1,351 yards (20.5 AVG) and 6 TDs. In his senior year, he was 6th in the NCAA in YPR with 21 yards per reception. He was also a versatile offensive weapon as he had 264 rushing yards on 25 carries and 4 TDs. Andre Roberts could possibly be leaving Atlanta so D.J Chark would be a great choice to fill in on returns. In his senior year, Chark returned 18 punts for 190 yards and 2 touchdowns. For comparison, Andre Roberts returned 27 punts this year for 201 yards. Chark was second in the SEC in yards per return and 2nd in the NCAA in return TDs.

Strengths:

Tall (6’4”), Fast (4.39 40 yard dash), great double move, explosive potential (36% of his catches went for over 25 yards), good body control, decent at blocking

Weaknesses:

Limited route tree, bad at snap and first steps, poor hand fighting, not very strong, inconsistent

Quote:

“He has his moments where you see it, but he just hasn’t been consistent and he hasn’t really gotten a lot better. He’s tall and can run but I’m still torn on whether he is going to make the improvements he needs to bo be an NFL factor.” — NFC team personnel director

Chark1Bill Feig

Reason for picking him:

D.J. Chark really impressed me on tape and with 2 possible WRs leaving in free agency (Taylor Gabriel and Andre Roberts), Chark would be a great explosive playmaker like Gabriel and could fill in on returns for Roberts.

Round 4, Pick 122: Shaquem Griffin, LB, UCF

Griffin1.jpgWILLIE J. ALLEN JR.

The main storyline surrounding Shaquem is his amputated arm. While that is a concern in some aspects, it doesn’t affect him overall. He originally didn’t even get a combine invite despite being the best player on UCF. He’s a fast and athletic player who is a great pass rusher. He also can play as a coverage linebacker so it’s possible he could fill in for Vic Beasley as Beasley moves to defensive end. He has a great year in 2017 with 74 tackles, 13.5 tackles for loss, and 7 sacks. Before his junior year, Shaquem was a DB but what is so impressive is how he transitioned from DB to LB. In his first year as a linebacker, Griffin had 92 tackles, 20 tackles for loss, 11.5 sacks, 1 INT, 7 pass deflections, and 2 forced fumbles. He was impressive as a linebacker and has great football IQ.

Strengths:

Pass rushing (18.5 sacks last two years), Instinct, Technique, Work ethic, attacking instinct (not afraid to initiate contact), plays fast, has great athletic ability, impressive burst at the snap, hard hitter

Weaknesses:

Little margin for error as tackle finisher(tackles high, allowed four broken tackles this year), little pass rushing moves due to his hand, disengaging from blocks is a challenge, little knee bend when pass rushing

Quote

“The old staff signed him just to make sure they got his brother. The new staff realized the guy was a player and plugged him in and he wins Defensive Player of the Year in his conference. He doesn’t have a left hand. That’s going to limit him with some things and that’s going to hurt his draft value, but he’s fast and athletic and makes a ton of plays.” — NFC team scouting director

Griffin2

Reason for picking him:

Dan Quinn has a tendency to pick players with good attitudes and who fit the “Brotherhood” and Shaquem Griffin is perfect. Griffin has been constantly disrespected his whole life because of his missing hand but it has only led to him working hard off the field, learning more about the game, and trying to get better. Griffin is an impressive all-around linebacker who can also play on special teams so could be a valuable replacement for Kemal Ishmael, whose coverage ability is holding him back, and Sean Weatherspoon as a linebacker but he can also play multiple other positions.

Round 6, Pick 186: D’Montre Wade, CB, Murray State

Wade2Getty Images

D’Montre Wade is a physical defensive back who primarily plays corner but can really play anywhere in the secondary. He is well built and has good playing speed/ range. In addition, Wade plays the ball very well and will get his hand on well-thrown passes. He does come with the many questions of a small school prospect, but Alford has turned out well despite coming from a small school and because Wade can also return kicks and punts he could be a worthwhile pick.

Strengths:

Fast, very physical corner, good hand fighting, good ability to track balls in the air, can play the ball downfield in the air like a receiver, good zone player, great open-field tackler, good football IQ and instincts

Weaknesses:

Developmental prospect, sometimes can be too physical leading to PI/holding calls, has a tendency to not jam the wide receiver at the line of scrimmage

Wade1

Reason for picking him:

He has a lot of similarities to Robert Alford and Wade has a lot of versatility in the secondary and I think could be a good 3rd corner for Atlanta.

Round 7, Pick 218: Dimitri Flowers, FB, Oklahoma

Flowers1

Not many fullbacks are drafted but they’re an important part of every offense (instead of Cincinnati). In 2016, one of the best fullbacks in the NFL, Patrick Dimarco, was an integral part of the Falcons run game. Then when he was replaced by Derrick Coleman there was a pretty big drop off and so with Coleman not performing, it’s time for Atlanta to look for a new FB. Dimitri Flowers is one of the highest rated fullbacks but likely won’t go until the 6th-7th round. He would be a great pick as the departure of Dimarco had a big effect on the offense. Flowers would come in and could play multiple positions.

Strengths:

Pass-Catching (54 catches for 886 yards and 13 TDs), willing to block, blocking, speed, and route running.

Weaknesses:

Overall strength and block finishing

Quote

“If I remember correctly, I talked to every team except the Cincinnati Bengals, and the Cincinnati Bengals don’t use a fullback, A lot of teams that I talked to, that was the main conversation — my versatility. They love that stuff, especially my willingness to play special teams. I did it all four years in Oklahoma. Just having the versatility and the experience of playing special teams is big to those teams.” – Flowers (Interview)

Flowers2

Reason for picking him:

His versatility. Flowers played fullback at Oklahoma but was also a tremendous route runner and pass catcher. With the Falcons struggles at TE and FB, Fowers would be the perfect option as he could play as a traditional tight end, a swing tight end, or a fullback.

Round 7, Pick 256: Jeromy Irwin, OT, Colorado

Irwin1Getty Images

Atlanta got a compensatory pick and will be picking Mr. Irrelevant this year. Jeromy became a stalwart of the offensive line for Colorado as a two-time team captain and three-year starter at left tackle. The 2017 honorable mention All-Pac-12 pick had a rough start to his senior year, however, missing the first two games with a suspension. He started the remaining 10 games at left tackle. Irwin was a second-team All-Pac-12 pick as a junior, starting 12 times on his way to being named the team’s top lineman. Falcons are in need of a swing tackle and while Irwin has only played left tackle, he certainly could play both positions.

Strengths:

Works his feet through contact, lands his hands in proper position, improved his movement and flexibility this year, aggressive when finishing blocks, good at disrupting pass rushers, good initial contact

Weaknesses:

Injury-prone, poor body control, feet too close when blocking, lacks overall athletic ability, has issues with defenders utilizing push-pull technique that yanks him out of his stance, gets caught leaning, stiffness in lower body

Irwin2Getty Images

Reason for picking him:

Ty Sambrailo didn’t impress last year when playing and given our history of injuries to the offensive line, Jeromy Irwin would be a great pick considering it is the last pick in the draft. He is an athletic player who is a decent pass blocker and would be a good pick for the Falcons.

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Phil Veasley
Phil Veasley is a resident of Atlanta who has been a die-hard Hawks fan since 2005. He is Civil Engineer student at KSU. Currently, Phil writes for Atlanta Hawks Talk while also managing all ATLSportsHQ sites. He can be reached on Twitter at @_ATLPhil

2 thoughts on “Pre Free Agency/Combine 7 Round Falcons Mock Draft

  1. That is truly a dream draft scenario. Payne is top 15. Wynn is a possibility but prob have to grab him in rd.1. With this being a weak WR class a guy like shark who ran a 4.34 with a 20 ypg will come off bird by end of second.

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