Falcons 2015 Mock Draft Monitor 8.0

While most fans of the Atlanta Falcons are predicting their team will select a defensive star with its top pick in the upcoming 2015 NFL Draft, held April 30-May 2 in Chicago, would the Falcons instead choose an offensive lineman? LSU offensive tackle La'el Collins earned a vote in this week's mock draft monitor, a look at who the experts believe the Falcons may select with their No. 8-overall draft pick.

Vic Beasley, OLB, Clemson

"No player has risen more on the draft boards of teams across the league coming out of the NFL combine. When you run 4.53 with a 1.59 split, post a vertical of 41 inches and put up a bench press total (35 reps) that's as good as the strongest nose tackles, and at a chiseled 246 pounds — well, you turn some heads. Thing is, Beasley isn't just an athletic freak because he's been a one-man production line at Clemson, with 44.5 tackles for loss over the last two seasons. He can flat out create disruption and get to the quarterback, and that's exactly what Atlanta needs. The pass rush is desperate for production and Beasley can help soon."

Change from previous pick:* *Arik Armstead, DE, Oregon

Shane Ray, DE, Missouri

"The Falcons desperately need to upgrade their pass rush, and they'll have several edge rushers from which to choose in this scenario. I have them going with Ray over Vic Beasley, because while both have elite first-step quickness, Ray has better length and is more relentless. The fact that he doesn't show much of a power element to his game on tape is a bit concerning, but he fills a need here. One thing to keep in mind, if Dante Fowler Jr. is available at this spot: New Falcons head coach Dan Quinn coached Fowler while at Florida in 2012."

Change from previous pick: Arik Armstead, DE, Oregon

Vic Beasley, OLB, Clemson

"Dan Quinn needs an explosive edge rusher and Beasley fits the description."

Change from previous pick: Randy Gregory, OLB, Nebraska

La'el Collins, OT, LSU

"The Falcons need to become tougher and more aggressive at the point of attack. Collins is a hard-nosed edge blocker with a nasty disposition and a workmanlike game."

Change from previous pick:Shane Ray, DE, Missouri

Shane Ray, OLB, Missouri

"The SEC co-Defensive Player of the Year might be the best pure pass rusher in this draft class. The Falcons, of course, struggled immensely on defense last year, with their pass rush among the very worst in the league. Aging veteran Kroy Biermann led the team in sacks with just 4.5. Ray is a solid kid all around and a beast off the edge; this would be a wise selection by Atlanta if the medicals check out."

The last thing the 2015 Scouting Combine participants were thinking about was their facial expressions, which makes them so darn funny to look at

Change from previous pick: Bud Dupree, OLB, Kentucky

Randy Gregory, OLB, Nebraska

"New Atlanta head coach Dan Quinn has to address their defensive front and in this spot there are still some nice options but it all depends on what happens in front of the Falcons. In this mock scenario Randy Gregory is the call. He's freaky athletically but needs to bulk up. Gregory was only 235-pounds at the Combine. Still, it's a great start for this new staff in Atlanta."

Change from previous pick: Dante Fowler, Jr., DE, Florida

Vic Beasley, OLB, Clemson

"The Falcons have the firepower on offense to compete, but lack difference-makers on the defensive front. At just 6-3, 246 pounds, Beasley lacks the bulk most clubs prefer at defensive end and therefore is being projected to outside linebacker by many. New Atlanta head coach Dan Quinn helped the Seahawks win with similarly built defensive ends in Cliff Avril (6-3, 260) and Chris Clemons (6-3, 254) in the past and will likely push for a pass rusher with this pick."

Change from previous pick: Shane Ray, DE, Missouri

Vic Beasley, OLB Clemson

"The Falcons have been active adding front-seven defenders via free agency, but that won't stop Atlanta from targeting a "Leo" pass rusher at this pick. Gregory has immense potential and would benefit from the coaching of new head coach Dan Quinn."

Change from previous pick: Randy Gregory, OLB, Nebraska**


Vic Beasley, OLB, Clemson

"Beasley put on 10 pounds to get up to 246 and still blew out every test at the combine. He lived in opposing backfields, especially over the last two years with over 70 plays behind the line of scrimmage. The Falcons have not had an athlete like this since John Abraham."

Change from previous pick: No change

Shane Ray, DE, Missouri

"The Falcons won't run a 3-4 under Dan Quinn as head coach, but much like the Seattle Seahawks and Jacksonville Jaguars, they'll want a 3-4 style pass-rusher for the edge. Cliff Avril does this in Seattle, and I'm projecting the Jaguars to draft Randy Gregory to do it in Jacksonville. For the Falcons, Shane Ray becomes that Avril/Bruce Irvin-type player. And while Quinn may want Dante Fowler—a player he recruited to Florida—Ray has the speed and toughness to fit into this defense."

Change from previous pick: No change

Vic Beasley, OLB, Clemson

"At the Combine, Beasley assured himself a spot in the top 10. Anyone hoping he would slide some will be out of luck. Even though a player like Dante Fowler might be a better fit for the Falcons, Beasley can be brought in and turned into a pass rushing force as a rookie."

Change from previous pick: Randy Gregory, OLB, Nebraska

Leading Vote-Getters

  1. Vic Beasley - 6
  1. Shane Ray - 3
  1. Randy Gregory - 1
  1. La'el Collins - 1
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