FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. – Today's Early Bird Report includes a second interview with the Cardinals for Falcons special teams coach Keith Armstrong as well as a first mock draft.
FALCONS HEADLINES FROM AROUND THE COUNTRY
*Atlanta Journal-Constitution: *Armstrong set for second interviews with Cardinals
Falcons special teams coach Keith Armstrong has spent the past 24 years as a coach in the NFL, 13 of which have been in Atlanta. He's drawn attention for head coach openings in years past, and Armstrong is again getting consideration for the top job in Arizona. Former Cardinals head coach Bruce Arians announced his retirement after the end of his team's season, and Armstrong was contacted for an initial interview.
Now, according to D. Orlando Ledbetter, he will get a second interview with the organization. Armstrong played football for Arians while he was in college at Temple.
"Certainly, [Armstrong is] one where he would make an excellent candidate based on, as a special teams coach, all the influence that you have over an entire team, and he's an excellent coach," Falcons coach Dan Quinn said about Armstrong.
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BIGGEST NEWS FROM AROUND THE NFL
ESPN: Mel Kiper's first 2018 NFL mock draft
As the season draws to a close, the 2018 NFL Draft is inching closer. For those who love watching film of prospects and imagining which teams could best utilize their skill sets, this is a wonderful time. For those who have only a passing interest, there are plenty of mock drafts that provide enough information to stay informed.
ESPN's resident draft guru Mel Kiper released his first mock draft of the year, providing an early look at how the experts view this year's draft class.
Kiper currently has two quarterbacks going off the board first, with Wyoming's Josh Allen and UCLA's Josh Rosen going to the Browns and Giants, respectively. As for the NFC South, the Buccaneers take Notre Dame offensive guard Quenton Nelson at No. 7, and the Panthers pick Ohio State offensive lineman Billy Price at No. 24. With the 27th pick, Kiper has the Saints selecting SMU wide receiver Courtland Sutton, giving New Orleans yet another offensive weapon.
The Falcons, who hold the 26th pick, select Texas A&M wide receiver Christian Kirk. One of the SEC's most productive receivers during his three years at Texas A&M, Kirk finished his career with 234 receptions for 2,856 yards and 26 touchdowns. He had no less than 919 yards in any of his three seasons. Here's what Kiper had to say about the selection:
"Kirk isn't a giant, go-to No. 1 wide receiver -- he's only 5-11 -- but Atlanta doesn't need that with Julio Jones already on the roster. Kirk would be a versatile offensive threat who could immediately help as both a punt and kick returner. He can play in the slot and burn defensive backs, and he could play outside too. Kirk had an up-and-down 2017 season, but he still finished with 12 total touchdowns, including two on returns. He's my No. 2-ranked receiver."
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