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NFL Mock Draft Monitor 2.0

Posted Feb 23, 2016

Each week, the AtlantaFalcons.com editorial staff will be keeping tabs on whom NFL Draft experts have Atlanta taking in the first round. This week, a local favorite makes his first appearance on the list.

The NFL Scouting Combine is fast approaching, and with the 17th overall pick, Atlanta will have its eyes set on some of best prospects at Lucas Oil Stadium. Here's a look at some of the latest mock draft projections as we prepare for Indianapolis:

Analysis: While there's likely to be some big changes to this list after the combine, there wasn't a lot of turnover from last week. The most notable difference is the addition of Leonard Floyd, a University of Georgia product who hails from Eastman, Ga. The outside linebacker is good in open space and can explode off the edge, but at 6-foot-3, 232 pounds, there are concerns about his size. His bench press numbers at the combine may have a big impact on where he ends up in April. There's also a chance Floyd has put on considerable weight since the 2015 season ended. If he shows up to Indianapolis with more muscle, he'll surely move up some draft boards.

The other newcomer is Emmanuel Ogbah out of Oklahoma State. Given his large frame and surprising speed, the reigning AP Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year looks like someone who can be a disruptive force in the NFL from Day 1. Ogbah led his conference in sacks (12.5) and tackles for loss (16.5) last year, finishing his time as a Cowboy with a whopping 28 sacks in 39 games; the 19 QB hurries he registered in 2015 are the most anyone at OSU has ever totaled in a season.

It's also worth pointing out that Mel Kiper, Jr. changed his pick from one Clemson DE to another. After projecting the Falcons to select Kevin Dodd a week ago, the longtime ESPN analyst now has Thomas Dimitroff going with Shaq Lawson at 17th overall. Kiper thinks Lawson can work in Quinn's system for the same reason he thinks Dodd can be a fit: Both have the size and pass-rushing ability to three-down options in the 4-3 under scheme.

Kiper's picks, along with Charlie Campbell's, highlight a noteworthy trend. Given that Vic Beasley, Jr. isn't a particularly big athlete, draft experts believe Atlanta wants to compliment its 2015 first-rounder with a defensive lineman who has a lot of bulk. Certainly, Sheldon Rankins (304 pounds), Dodd (275 pounds), Lawson (270 pounds) and Ogbah (275) fit the bill.