Skip to main content

2021 NFL Draft: Top OL prospects who fit Falcons

A look at the top draft prospects at every position group who might fit with the Falcons


Editor's note: This is the third installment of a 10-part series on top prospects who fit the Falcons based on positions of need.

The Atlanta Falcons have a new regime in place, beginning at the top with general manager Terry Fontenot and head coach Arthur Smith. Not only have they been busy putting together their respective staffs, but they're also been evaluating every single player on this roster.


The Falcons finished last season with a 4-12 mark, in last place of the NFC South and, as a result, hold the No. 4 overall pick in the NFL Draft. They've missed the postseason for three straight years. In short, there's some definite areas on this roster that will need to be addressed in the offseason.

The Falcons' four biggest needs heading into free agency and the NFL Draft right now appear to be at edge defender, secondary (cornerback and safety), running back and offensive line. Over the next several weeks we will look at the top draft prospects at every position group and how they might fit with the Falcons.

Offensive tackles

Sewell_(FB_OR.vs. OSU)EE_03953

Penei Sewell, Oregon

  • Draft position in Matt Tabeek's latest mock draft: 8

Summary of big board rankings:

  • The Draft Scout: 2
  • Pro Football Focus: 4
  • Dane Brugler's top 100: 2
  • Daniel Jeremiah's top 50: 9

Brugler's analysis: "For a blocker with his size and strength, Sewell is astonishingly efficient with his movement patterns due to his natural flexibility and footwork. Not only does he offer impressive physical traits, but his split-second reads and reflexes are also advanced for a player his age."

Jeremiah's analysis: "Sewell has a huge frame, quick feet and strong hands. He has the foot quickness to kick out and cover up speed rushers in the passing game. His hands can get too wide at times, which allows defenders to get underneath him (see: matchup against then-Auburn DT Derrick Brown in 2019). However, he stays connected and usually wins when he locks on. He has the ability to bend and drop his weight, but he gets too upright on occasion. Sewell does some special things in the run game. He can uproot defenders over his nose and he is explosive as a puller. The more I watched, I did have some concerns about his balance. He lunges at times and ends up on the ground more often than you'd like. Overall, Sewell isn't the most polished blocker in this class, but he does offer the most upside."

Pro Football Focus: "At 19 years old, Sewell had the single highest graded season we've ever seen from a Power 5 offensive tackle. Who knows what he could become when his body is fully developed?"


Rashawn Slater, Northwestern

  • Draft position in Matt Tabeek's latest mock draft: 10

Summary of big board rankings:

  • The Draft Scout: 3
  • Pro Football Focus: 12
  • Dane Brugler's top 100: 6
  • Daniel Jeremiah's top 50: 7

Brugler's analysis: "Slater doesn't have ideal height or length, but he is agile, stout and power-packed and doesn't allow rushers to go through him (Isaiah Wynn conversation all over again). He is very quick to lock up pass rushers before they can set up their moves, rarely straying from his fundamentals."

Jeremiah's analysis: "Slater is a slightly undersized tackle prospect. He plays with outstanding knee bend, foot quickness and balance. He explodes out of his stance in the passing game and does an excellent job of re-working his hands to maintain inside position. Slater gives a little ground versus power before dropping his weight and anchoring late. His best trait is his ability to recover when he finds himself in a bad position. In the run game, he plays with quickness and urgency when working up to the second level. He takes great angles and is one of the best I've seen when it comes to cutting off linebackers. He doesn't have elite power to knock back defenders over his nose, but he does a good job of running his feet and staying attached. He has excellent awareness. Overall, Slater might lack ideal length, but it doesn't hinder him and I believe he can excel at left tackle. If a team chooses to play him inside, he should quickly develop into a Pro Bowl guard."

Pro Football Focus: "Slater allowed all of five pressures back in 2019 before opting out in 2020. At only 6-foot-3, he may get stuck inside, but we think he's more than athletic enough to hang on the edge."


Christian Darrisaw, Virginia Tech

  • Draft position in Matt Tabeek's latest mock draft: 12

Summary of big board rankings:

  • The Draft Scout: 21
  • Pro Football Focus: 15
  • Dane Brugler's top 100: 12
  • Daniel Jeremiah's top 50: 26

Brugler's analysis: "Keeping his weight over his toes, Darrisaw shows efficient slide quickness in pass pro, and he is a bulldozer in the run game, unlocking his hips to create movement or seal block. While he shows the ability to manhandle defenders once he locks on, he doesn't always play with a stout anchor or killer instinct."

Jeremiah's analysis: "Darrisaw was a solid, reliable starter at left tackle during his career with the Hokies. He has ideal size, length and balance. In the passing game, he has average foot quickness in his set but can bend his knees and plays with a firm base. He has a sharp two-hand punch and generally keeps defenders away from his chest. He plays with excellent awareness. He uses his upper-body strength to torque and turn defenders in the run game. He takes good angles to the second level, where he's able to position and wall off linebackers. He will have some trouble adjusting in space because of his average change-of-direction skills. I view Darrisaw as a player who'll be starting at right tackle very early in his NFL career."

Pro Football Focus: "Darrisaw turned in the second-highest-graded season from a Power 5 tackle in a massive breakout 2020 season. He's an easy people-mover that few are going through."

Interior linemen


Alijah Vera-Tucker, USC

  • Draft position in Matt Tabeek's latest mock draft: 14

Summary of big board rankings:

  • The Draft Scout: 24
  • Pro Football Focus: 30
  • Dane Brugler's top 100: 17
  • Daniel Jeremiah's top 50: 15

Brugler's analysis: "A projected second-round pick over the summer, Vera-Tucker opted back into the 2020 season and moved to left tackle, performing at a high level for the Trojans. His NFL future is likely best inside at guard, but his value has gone up by showing his versatility to play well outside as well."

Jeremiah's analysis: "Vera-Tucker is one of the safest players in this draft class. He played guard at a very high level in 2019 before producing an outstanding campaign at tackle in 2020. He plays with excellent strength, balance and awareness in pass protection. He is quick out of his stance and has a sharp/quick punch. He can bend and does a good job of staying connected. He will underset at times, allowing defenders on his edge, but he is quick to recover and run them around the pocket. He squats down versus power rushers and quickly stops their charge. In the run game, he can latch, control and create movement on down blocks. He takes excellent angles to the second level and has a good feel on combo blocks. He isn't the most dynamic athlete, but he's always under control and rarely in bad position. Overall, I think he has a chance to stick at tackle, but he's ideally suited to play guard. He is ready to start on Day 1."

Pro Football Focus: "Vera-Tucker's quality play at tackle this past season made us feel even better about him on the inside. He earned an 81.8 overall grade and showed some fantastic ability to play in space."


Wyatt Davis, Ohio State

  • Draft position in Matt Tabeek's latest mock draft: 31

Summary of big board rankings:

  • The Draft Scout: 45
  • Pro Football Focus: 35
  • Dane Brugler's top 100: 41
  • Daniel Jeremiah's top 50: N/R

Brugler's analysis: "Although he is guilty of playing too narrow at times, Davis is quick to get the upper hand with his strength and awareness. Voted a team captain in 2020, the California native has terrific stopping power and ties up defenders with his hands."

Pro Football Focus: "Davis hasn't been quite as consistent in 2020 as he was in 2019, but the talent is obviously still there. He's allowed four sacks and hits combined over the past two seasons."


Jalen Mayfield, Michigan

  • Draft position in Matt Tabeek's latest mock draft: 20

Summary of big board rankings:

  • The Draft Scout: 28
  • Pro Football Focus: 70
  • Dane Brugler's top 100: 26
  • Daniel Jeremiah's top 50: 25

Brugler's analysis: "A college right tackle, Mayfield doesn't have elite length, which will move him inside to guard on many draft boards. Regardless if he plays tackle or guard, he is a balanced mover with the power to collapse the line, creating holes for the run game."

Jeremiah's analysis: "Mayfield played right tackle for the Wolverines. He has a thick, square build and plays with strength and balance. In the passing game, he has average foot quickness in his set, but he does a nice job of staying square and keeping defenders off his edges. He will give a little ground versus power before dropping his weight and anchoring down. His inside hand is powerful to jolt. He stays attached once he latches on. He's very aware versus twists and blitzers in the run game. He plays with leverage, strong hands and a nasty temperament to finish. He lacks suddenness working up to the second level, but he takes excellent angles and is very effective. Overall, Mayfield doesn't have elite foot quickness, but he's very consistent on tape and looks like a Day 1 starting right tackle."

Pro Football Focus: "Mayfield was a tackle at Michigan but is a likely candidate to kick inside to guard in the NFL. He's one of the most explosive linemen in the class."

Related Content