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Falcons mock NFL draft roundup: Kyle Hamilton, Drake London, Dereck Stingley, David Ojabo chosen at No. 8 overall

Clemson wide receiver Justyn Ross and Nevada quarterback Carson Strong also linked to Falcons in later rounds. 

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Editor's Note: We'll track prospects the Falcons are projected to take during the 2022 NFL Draft, especially the No. 8 overall selection. You can see predicted picks from respected sources all in one spot, on this Falcons Mock Draft roundup, which will be published every Wednesday through the NFL Draft.

The Rams winning the Super Bowl means two things: no more NFL Football for a while and mock draft galore. The official draft order is set, with 27 teams selecting in the first round (Bears, Colts. Rams, 49ers, and Seahawks traded their first-round picks). The Falcons have been locked in with the eighth pick since the regular season ended, which outside of last year's draft, is their first selection since they took defensive-end Vic Beasley Jr. at eight in 2015.

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Last week's roundup there featured a consensus at eight with LSU cornerback, Dereck Stingley Jr., but projections have quickly shifted. Let's take a look at who analysts have the Falcons taking, and even a three-round projection for the Falcons.

Ryan Wilson, CBSsports

  • Date: Feb.15
  • Falcons pick: No. 8 overall
  • Selection: S Kyle Hamilton, Notre Dame

Analysis: "The Falcons could be in market for a quarterback, but either way, Matt Ryan is the likely starter in '22. And with Hamilton still on the board, Atlanta will instead bolster its secondary. The thing is: Hamilton would be a steal at No. 8 -- he's a top-5 talent all day long, and for us, he's a 6-4, 220-pound version of Ed Reed -- a sideline-to-sideline ball hawk -- and that makes him a Day 1 impact player."

Todd McShay, ESPN

  • Date: Feb.16
  • Falcons pick: No. 8 overall
  • Selection: WR Drake London, USC

Analysis: "A team has used top-10 picks on pass-catchers in back-to-back drafts three times since 1967, so this might seem odd for a roster that just went 7-10. But the offense could lose five of the eight players who had at least 70 receiving yards last season to free agency, and it's possible the Falcons additionally look to trade Calvin Ridley, who played in five games last year while taking time off to focus on his mental health. London, meanwhile, was on his way to a massive campaign for USC before breaking his right ankle in October. He's a 6-foot-5 target who has the body control and contact balance to make plays over the middle, the speed to produce vertically and the instincts to create against different defensive looks.

"The Falcons passed on a strong QB class at No. 4 last April to draft tight end Kyle Pitts, but it might decide to go that route now. Matt Ryan is their guy for 2022, but if they fall in love with one of the signal-callers, it's a good spot to draft an heir to sit and learn behind Ryan. Perhaps Pitt's Kenny Pickett could fit."

  • Date: Feb.15
  • Falcons pick: No. 8 overall
  • Selection: LB David Ojabo, Michigan

Analysis: "Ojabo is just scratching the surface of his potential as a pass rusher, but he's not so raw that he can't make an impact as a rookie."

Falcons pick: No. 43 overall

  • Selection: WR Justyn Ross, Clemson

Falcons Pick: No. 58 overall

  • Selection: QB Carson Strong, Nevada

Falcons Pick: No. 74 overall

  • Selection: RB Jerome Ford, Cincinatti

Michael Renner, Pro Football Focus

  • Date: Feb.14
  • Falcons pick: No. 8 overall
  • Selection: CB Derek Stingley Jr., USC

Analysis: "Pairing Stingley with A.J. Terrell would give the Falcons defense remarkable potential. Terrell is already one of the best shut-down corners in the league, while Stingley has been the same at the collegiate level. Over his college career, the LSU product broke up or picked off 26 of his 129 targets in coverage."

Nate Davis, USA TODAY

  • Date: Feb.15
  • Falcons pick: No. 8 overall
  • Selection: LB David Ojabo, Michigan

Analysis: "A native of Nigeria who grew up in Scotland, he had one tackle as a sophomore in 2020, so bit of an understatement to deem Ojabo raw. But what a breakout during his junior year, when the 6-5, 250-pounder erupted for 11 sacks – though it certainly didn't hurt playing opposite Hutchinson. Atlanta, which hasn't had a player register even five sacks in the past two seasons, desperately needs a player who can bring the heat. The Falcons' 18 sacks in 2021 were 11 fewer than the next-worst team. And given they're in a bit of a rebuild situation, Ojabo should have a grace period to refine his skills."

Matt Ryan continued to build up his legacy with his 14th season, and we were there for every highlight along the way.

Daniel Jeremiah, NFL.com

  • Date: Jan. 21
  • Falcons pick: No. 8 overall
  • Selection: WR Treylon Burks, Arkansas

Analysis: "The Falcons have some uncertainty at the wide receiver position, and they need to add more firepower to their offense. Head coach Arthur Smith had tremendous success with A.J. Brown in Tennessee, and Burks is a taller version (6-foot-3, 225) of the third-year Titan. He is incredibly strong at the catch point and his blend of speed and strength creates huge plays after the catch."

Bucky Brooks, NFL.com

  • Date: Jan. 25
  • Falcons pick: No. 8
  • Selection: CB Derek Stingley, LSU

Analysis: "Despite a pair of subpar seasons to finish his career at LSU, Stingley is a bona fide five-star talent with outstanding tools and playmaking ability."

Mel Kiper, ESPN

  • Date: Jan. 19
  • Falcons pick: No. 8
  • Selection: Derek Stingley, LSU

Analysis: "This was one of the toughest calls of the entire mock. I thought hard about a quarterback. My buddy Chris Mortensen, though, says the Falcons are committed to Matt Ryan for 2022, which means this might be too high to take a QB who's not going to play right away. This is not a class full of surefire starting QBs. If David Ojabo was still on the board, I probably would have gone with him because the Falcons finished last in the league in sacks (18) this season. But there's a little bit of a drop-off in the edge-rush tiers, and my next guy doesn't have a top-10 grade.

"So how about a cornerback to play on the other side of rising star A.J. Terrell? Stingley looked like a potential No. 1 pick when he was dominating as a true freshman on LSU's national title team in 2019, but he was inconsistent in 2020 and then played just three games this season because of a foot injury. A team is going to have to take a little bit of a leap of faith with Stingley because he hasn't played great for two seasons. The draft is all about upside, though, and he has the potential to be a superstar. I'm hoping he can work out at the combine to ease some concerns.

Dane Brugler, The Athletic

  • Date: Jan. 19
  • Falcons pick: No.8
  • Selection: EDGE David Ojabo, Michigan

Analysis: "Predictably, the Falcons finished dead-last in the NFL in sacks this season as they sorely lack the edge rush talent to keep offenses off-balance. Still young in football years, Ojabo is still a work in progress, but he has the talent level right now to stress blockers.

Polling several NFL personnel people for this mock, the feedback on Ojabo was he won't be a top-10 pick because of his struggles vs. the run and his relative inexperience. But I'm betting on his ceiling at a premium position to bump him up in this draft class."

Falcons pick: No. 43

Selection: QB Malik Willis, Liberty

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