Several mock drafts have the Falcons selecting a pass rusher with the No. 31 overall pick in the 2017 NFL Draft.
ESPN draft analyst Todd McShay thinks otherwise.
McShay predicts Atlanta will select Alabama offensive lineman Cam Robinson (ESPN Insider account needed to view) with their first-round pick.
Despite starting three years at left tackle in Tuscaloosa, Robinson’s athleticism gives McShay the belief he could slide inside and play guard in the NFL, where he could be very successful.
“Guard might be Robinson's best fit in the NFL, and he'd fill a hole for the Falcons at that position,” McShay said of why he mocked Robinson to the Falcons.
The former Crimson Tide standout played under Atlanta’s new offensive coordinator Steve Sarkisian in his final collegiate season. Sarkisian served as an offensive analyst and offensive coordinator for one game at Alabama in 2016.
Robinson is praised for his run blocking ability, a strength the Falcons require from their offensive linemen as Atlanta’s offense is heavily predicated on establishing the ground game.
Head coach Dan Quinn and general manager Thomas Dimitroff have openly stated their desire to continue fortifying the line of scrimmage, and the Falcons currently have a hole to fill at right guard.
Chris Chester, who started every game for Atlanta at right guard in 2016, has an undetermined future as a Falcon.
Between Atlanta’s need at guard and Robinson’s athleticism and comfort with Sarkisian’s style of offense, it’s easy to see why McShay believes Robinson could be a fit for the Falcons if they choose to go that way come April 27.