The Final Atlanta Falcons Mock Draft!

Round 1, Pick 26: Taven Bryan

Bryan was a late developer in football. As a freshman, Bryan only got 10 tackles and .5 sacks and then 17 tackles and 1 sack in his sophomore year. Considering Bryan’s great athleticism and skill set, his lack of playing time tells me that he needs development and coaching. He did break out in 2017 though as he got more familiar with football. Despite a disappointing season for Florida, Bryan was one of the few bright spots, totaling 40 tackles with six tackles for a loss and four sacks across 11 games. Bryan has been mocked to the Falcons thousands of times and it seems like it’s too much of a “lock” to actually happen. If possible, the Falcons could also move up to select Payne form Bama.

Combine Results

Height: 6-4

Weight: 291

Hand: 9 3/4

Arm: 32 3/4

40 yard dash: 4.98

10-yard split: 1.68 (better than J.J. Watt and important because it indicates how fast he gets off the ball)

Bench Press: 30 reps

Vertical: 35

Broad Jump: 119

3 Cone Drill: 7.12

20 Yard Shuttle: 4.48

Strengths:

Excellent athlete, Agile, Fast at the point of attack, Has the ability to be an interior pass-rusher, Closes on quarterbacks in a hurry, Disruptive, Strong hands and quick feet, Can bull rush well, Quality run stopper, Can play in lots of techniques in a 3-4 or 4-3, Great potential

Weaknesses:

Bad instincts, Lacks good pass rushing moves, Didn’t start much and started late in football so lacks feel, Short arms, Will need at least a year before he becomes fully developed

Quote(s)

“He’s starter level talent but I don’t think that is going to be next year. He’s out here getting by on his AA (athletic ability) but he doesn’t have enough feel for the game yet. That doesn’t happen overnight.” — former player and NFC team scout

“I think his value to teams is where they’re going to look at him and say, ‘OK, we know he’s a tough kid, and he can defend the run, but can he affect the pass game?’ And I believe he can. So, regardless of your scheme, I think he can affect the pass game, and I think teams are going to look at him as an ascending talent. And I do believe he’s going to go in the first round.”

Image result for taven bryanFLORIDA ATHLETICS

Reason for picking him:

He is a talented run-stopper with great athletic ability and has great potential. He won’t be a dominant player his first year but I think his ceiling is very high and is worth a first round pick.

Round 2, Pick 58: 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. With Andre Roberts leaving, 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.

Combine Results

Height: 6-3

Weight: 199

Hand: 9 1/4

Arm: 32 3/8

40 yard dash: 4.34

10-yard split: 1.51

Bench Press: 16 reps

Vertical: 40 inches

Broad Jump: 129 inches

3 Cone Drill: N/A

20 Yard Shuttle: N/A

Strengths:

Tall (6’3”), Fast (4.34 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 has incredible athleticism for a WR3. What team in the NFC South or even the NFL has a CB3 that can guard a 6’3” wide receiver who ran a 4.34 40-yard dash, is in the 96th percentile in speed score, and the 93rd percentile in Burst score? Not many if any and he would be a monster of a player.

Round 3, Pick 90: 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.

Combine Results

Height: 6-0

Weight: 227

Hand: 9

Arm: 32 1/8

40 yard dash: 4.38

10-yard split: 1.54

Bench Press: 20 reps

Vertical: N/A

Broad Jump: 117 inches

3 Cone Drill: N/A

20 Yard Shuttle: N/A

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 4, Pick 122: Jaylen Samuels, H-Back, NC State

Samuels

The Falcons are in need of a couple of positions on the offense other than WR. They need a 3rd RB most definitely but I also think they need a FB and maybe a TE. Jaylen Samuels fits all those positions of need.

Combine Results

Height: 6-0

Weight: 225

Hand: 9 1/4

Arm: 31 3/8

40 yard dash: 4.54

10-yard split: 1.54

Bench Press: 18 reps

Vertical: 34.5 inches

Broad Jump: 121 inches

3 Cone Drill: 6.93

20 Yard Shuttle: 1.63

Strengths

True “all-purpose” player, offers roster flexibility and depth at many positions, suceeds as a short yardage runningback, can change weight if necessary, can get away from linebackers,  good instincts, has special teams experience

Weaknesses

Lacks a certain tenacity sometimes, tight hips so not a great route runner, struggles to pull in catches outside his frame

Quote

“Here is the problem I’m having in writing my report. Does he have any special talent or is he just a player who is used in a variety of roles? Is he really, really good at any of his roles or just versatile? That can be the difference between going in the third round or the fifth round.” — NFC team area scout

Samuels2

Reason for picking him

He is a versatile player who fits multiple positional needs and would help the offense.

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.

Combine Results:

Height: 6-0

Weight: 206

Hand: 9 7/8

Arm: 32 3/8

40 yard dash: 4.57

10 yard split: 1.61

Bench Press: 15 reps

Vertical: 35.5

Broad Jump: 121

3 Cone Drill (Pro Day): 7.07

20 Yard Shuttle: 4.40

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 good depth and nickel corner competition for Brian Poole.

Round 7, Pick 244: Matt Gono, OL, Wesley

GONO

The Falcons need line depth and will most likely address it in the draft. I think it’s pretty possible they go after a guard or swing tackle earlier but for this mock draft I have us going with a small school prospect for depth.

Pro Day Results:

Height: 6-4

Weight: 316

Hand: N/A

Arm: N/A

40 yard dash: 5.21

Bench Press: 26 reps

Vertical: 27

Broad Jump: 118

3 Cone Drill: 7.76

20 Yard Shuttle: 4.60

Strengths:

Big, fires out of his stance, versatile on the line, good knee bend, has the athletic ability to move to the second level and not only engage the linebacker bu to sustain the block, good movement in space

Weaknesses:

Questions about the quality of his opponents, pad level is initially too tall, needs better block finishing, can rely on his strength over technique sometimes

Gono3.jpg

Reason for picking him:

He is a very versatile player as he played OG and OT in college and his size is ideal for someone who can develop for a year or two until Levitre retires, Matthews leaves or anything that might happen.

7th Round, Pick 256: Antonio Simmons, EDGE, Georgia Tech

14B38FA3-4C3A-4B62-A37C-394D01792005

Antonio Simmons is someone who wasn’t on any draft boards at the beginning of his senior season and most likely wasn’t there at the end of the season. In spite of that, Simmons had a very good Pro Day and a lot of people took notice. With the loss of Adrian Clayborn, Taniela Tupou, and the projected loss of Courtney Upshaw, Atlanta is in need of a rotational EDGE player that could come in and play about 20-30% of the snaps and I think Simmons would be perfect for it. Simmons played 11 games last year and racked up 31 tackles, 8 TFLs, and 5.5 sacks in a pretty productive year. One of the main concerns with him was his weight and he has worked on it as he has added 15 pounds and dropped five percent of his body fat since the season ended. I like Antonio Simmons as he has an incredible work ethic, is fast and physical, is a stand-up guy, and checks virtually every box that Quinn looks for in an EDGE player.

Pro Day Results:

Height: 6-3

Weight: 246

Hand: N/A

Arm: N/A

40 yard dash: 4.48 (Tied for 1st among EDGE players if he was at the Combine)

10 yard split: 1.53

Bench Press: 30 reps (2nd among EDGE players if he was at the Combine)

Vertical: 30.5

Broad Jump: 108

3 Cone Drill: Hamstring pulled during 40 yard dash

20 Yard Shuttle: Hamstring pulled during 40 yard dash

Strengths

Workout warrior, work ethic, extremely athletic, can get around the edge as a rusher, can play as a 4-3 end or a stand up outside linebacker in other formations, great tackler, and special teams experience

Weaknesses

Play strength at initial impact isn’t in line with his 30 reps (more in line with 24-27 reps), Only has a few pass rushing moves, and can struggle with positioning before snap

Quote

“I just know I was moving, It was my first time running the 40 (since training began). I’ve just been focused on starts and techniques. I knew if my 10-yard split was good, my 40 was going to be good.” – Simmons

D949527B-A2C0-4A93-99FA-D9FEC51D70CD

Reason for picking him

Extremely athletic EDGE player who can cause problems when needed and would perform well on special teams.

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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

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