FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. – Today's Early Bird Report includes the Falcons planning a visit with Georgia running back Nick Chubb and a look back at the picks teams should have made in last year's draft.
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ESPN: Georgia running back Nick Chubb to visit Falcons
Although the Falcons have one of the NFL's best running back duos in Devonta Freeman and Tevin Coleman, there are those who believe the team may add to the position in this year's draft. The running back class is one of the deepest in the draft, and there are several intriguing options that could be available to the Falcons in the mid to later rounds.
Atlanta may not have to look far to find a productive player to add to the backfield. According to ESPN's Vaughn McClure, the Falcons have scheduled a visit with Georgia running back Nick Chubb on Wednesday.
"They're showing me a lot of love," Chubb told McClure.
Since Dan Quinn and Thomas Dimitroff joined forces, the Falcons have shown a tendency to take running backs who were very productive at the collegiate level. Coleman was fresh off a 2,036-yard, 15-touchdown season when the Falcons drafted him in 2015, and Brian Hill had more than 4,200 career yards coming out of college last year when the Falcons selected him in the fifth round.
Chubb certainly fits that bill. One of the top running backs in Georgia history, Chubb was the lead back in a tandem that also included Sony Michel. The duo helped lead Georgia to the national championship game last season. In his four-year career at Georgia, Chubb gained 4,769 yards and 44 touchdowns while averaged 6.3 yards per carry.
A visit is certainly no guarantee that Chubb will go from sporting Georgia's silver britches to the Falcons' red and black, but it will give fans something to daydream about.
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BIGGEST NEWS FROM AROUND THE NFL
CBS Sports: Re-picking the 2017 NFL Draft
With the clarity of hindsight, it's always fun to ask "what if" when it comes to the NFL Draft. With this year's draft coming up in just a few short weeks, CBS Sports' John Breech turned back the clocks and re-picked the 2017 draft for each team.
At No. 1, he gives the Browns the quarterback they've so desperately needed yet have always passed over (I'll bet countless re-drafts over the years have paired a QB the Browns passed on with the club). The Browns take Deshaun Watson instead of Myles Garrett in Breech's draft, landing a player who looked dynamic and dominant during his stint as starter prior to a season-ending injury. In reality, having Garrett, who looked very promising in his first year, is a nice consolation prize.
Other picks of note include the Tennessee Titans taking cornerback Marshon Lattimore at No. 5 instead of receiver Corey Davis, thus preventing the Saints from snagging him later in the draft. The Panthers still opt to address their need at running back, only they select Alvin Kamara instead of Christian McCaffrey. The two possess a similar potent duality as a receiver and a runner in space, but Kamara showed more potential as a pure running back last season.
With Lattimore off the board at No. 11, the Saints select another top running back from the class, Kareem Hunt. Hunt was spectacular as a rookie with the Kansas City Chiefs, and he would be an intriguing fit in Sean Payton's offense. At No. 19, the Buccaneers draft running back Joe Mixon instead of tight end O.J. Howard. With Doug Martin no longer on the team, it seems likely that Tampa Bay addresses the position in this year's draft.
In Breech's re-draft, the Falcons don't trade up to No. 26, and pass-rusher Takkarist McKinley goes off the board at No. 28 to the Dallas Cowboys. With McKinley no longer available, the Falcons draft safety John Johnson III – I guess becoming the first team to play three high safeties on a regular basis. Here's what Breech says of the pick:
"The Falcons don't necessarily need another defensive back, but at this point in the draft (even a redraft), you're taking the best player available, and that player is Johnson. During his rookie year, Johnson played in all 16 games for the Rams and started in 11 of those. According to Pro Football Focus, Johnson was the second-best rookie safety in the NFL last year."
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