Falcons 2015 Mock Draft Monitor 9.0

As the 2015 NFL Draft is now closer than ever, April 30 - May 2 in Chicago, the race for the Falcons' projected top pick appears to be narrowing, evidenced in the latest updates in this week's mock draft monitor. Have a look at which experts changed their predictions about Clemson's Vic Beasley and Nebraska's Randy Gregory, while Missouri's Shane Ray remains right in the thick of things as possible choice by the Falcons.

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."

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."

Vic Beasley, OLB, Clemson

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

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."

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

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."

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."

Shane Ray, OLB, Missouri

"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. Ray is far from a flawless prospect, but he might have the best first-step quickness in this draft class."

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."

Randy Gregory, OLB, Nebraska

"Randy Gregory might not seem like a fit in the 4-3 defense the Atlanta Falcons are running, but look at head coach Dan Quinn's defenses in Seattle and you'll see Cliff Avril and Bruce Irvin. Gregory can fill that edge-rusher role for Atlanta by playing both defensive end and linebacker in the Falcons' scheme.

Gregory can play outside linebacker or defensive end and has rare agility and movement skills in space. He dominated at a low weight at Nebraska, and while he may never be a true 4-3 defensive end, the Falcons don't need him to be. They need him to be an attacking, aggressive, athletic edge-rusher, which he is."

Randy Gregory, OLB, Nebraska

"Gregory's intelligence should be in question, but his talent shouldn't be. How's that for a goofy sportswriter line? Gregory might slide some in the draft, but maybe not as far as people think. Atlanta has a big need for a player like Gregory, someone who can line up in a number of ways and get after the quarterback. If the Falcons don't like Gregory and the players left here, trading down a few spots would be smart."

Leading Vote-Getters

  1. Vic Beasley - 4
  1. Shane Ray - 3
  1. Randy Gregory - 3
  1. La'el Collins - 1
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