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Falcons mock NFL draft roundup: Kyle Hamilton, Kayvon Thibodeaux among top prospects linked to Falcons at No. 8

ESPN has Falcons going with WR Drake London after Calvin Ridley news


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.

We've got some heavy hitters putting out NFL mock drafts this week, which isn't a shock considering the combine just ended, Whether teams really think all that different about prospects remains an unknown, but there was plenty of information circulating during a week at the NFL Combine to shake things up.

That's what we've seen in this round of mocks, with talent that seemed destined for the top 5 now slipping into the Falcons range, with some expected to go lower now super high.

Take Travon Walker for example. He had an unreal combine which saw him surge up mock draft boards, including mine. I have him going No. 8 to the Falcons, but The Athletic's Dane Brugler now think's he'll go at No. 3. I mean, what?!? Derek Stingley has been regularly pushed outside the top 10. Wild times with the mocks, man. Let's take a look at who top analysts have attached to the Falcons at No. 8:

Dane Brugler, The Athletic

  • Date: March 8
  • Falcons pick: No.8
  • Selection: S Kyle Hamilton, Notre Dame

Analysis: "Last year in his first draft as the Falcons' general manager, Terry Fontenot stuck to the best-player-available strategy and drafted Kyle Pitts, which was an immediate home run for the Falcons' offense. If Fontenot follows the same philosophy this year, Hamilton's athleticism, intelligence and versatility could be too enticing to pass up. A wide receiver like Ohio State's Garrett Wilson also makes a lot of sense here, especially with the recent Calvin Ridley news."

Falcons pick: No. 43

Selection: EDGE Arnold Ebiketie, Penn State

Falcons pick: No. 58 (va Tennessee)

Selection: WR Jalen Tolbert, South Alabama

Todd McShay, ESPN

  • Date: March 9
  • Falcons pick: No.8
  • Selection: WR Drake London, USC

Analysis: "Eight Falcons players caught at least 10 passes last season, but only two of them -- tight end Kyle Pitts and running back Mike Davis -- are expected to be in uniform for Atlanta in 2022, after receiver Calvin Ridley was suspended on Monday for betting on games. A team has used top-10 picks on pass-catchers in back-to-back drafts three times since 1967, but there might not be another team in the NFL more in need of a top-tier receiver right now. London plays outside and in the slot, threatens vertically and can make plays over the middle. He played in only eight games last season (right ankle fracture), but he had at least 130 receiving yards in six of them."

Lance Zierlein, The Athletic

  • Date: March 8
  • Falcons pick: No.8
  • Selection: EDGE Kayon Thibodeaux, Oregon

Analysis: "Hard to imagine the Falcons passing on a player with such immense upside at a position of desperate need."

Jason McIntyre, FOX Sports

  • Date: March 10
  • Falcons pick: No. 8 overall
  • Selection: S Kyle Hamilton, Notre Dame

Analysis: "Hamilton is a Day 1 starter and an impact player, but safety is not a premium position, especially for all these bad teams at the top of the draft. He's great value in the 10-20 range, but taking him in the top five carries some risk."

Mel Kiper, ESPN

  • Date: March 1
  • Falcons pick: No. 8
  • Selection: CB Ahmad "Sauce" Garnder

Analysis: I'm going to stick with the same position for the Falcons at No. 8 but switch the prospect. Gardner is rising since the second half of the season and has a great shot at being the top corner in April's draft. He allowed just eight catches for 60 yards in 13 games.

Why Gardner over Derek Stingley Jr.? NFL scouts just haven't seen Stingley playing to his 2019 level over the past two seasons. He has a high ceiling, but he played in just three games in 2021 and was so-so in 2020. Stingley won't work out at the combine, but he will have a chance to rise again if he puts up excellent testing numbers at his pro day. Gardner is a safer prospect at this point. This also is a spot to watch for an edge rusher, and the Falcons have an extra second-round pick because of the Julio Jones trade with Tennessee.

Ryan Wilson, CBSsports

  • Date: March 9
  • Falcons pick: No. 8 overall
  • Selection: QB Malik Willis

Analysis: "We've been upfront about Willis. We have a second-round grade on him based on his body of work in college, but that doesn't mean teams looking for a quarterback won't take one a round or so before they should. In Atlanta, it's best-case scenario for Willis because he'll spend the year sitting behind Matt Ryan, and in 2023, Arthur Smith will have his next franchise QB, one who does just about everything you want in a modern-day signal caller."

We take a look at the action in Indy at the 2022 NFL Combine.

Vinnie Iver, Sporting News

  • Date: March 9
  • Falcons pick: No. 8 overall
  • Selection: CB Derek Stingley Jr., LSU

Analysis: "The Falcons have found a gem at cornerback in A.J. Terrell but could use another dynamic playmaker for the back end of Dean Pees' 3-4 pressure defense. They also will be ready to land Hamilton, but either way they should be ecstatic to upgrade their secondary with a can't-miss well-rounded player."

  • Falcons pick: No. 43 overall
  • Selection: DT Perrion Winfrey, Oklahoma

Analysis: The Falcons need some more backfield disruption next to Grady Jarrett and this would be a good follow-up pick for Pees to make the front stronger and nastier inside. Winfrey rose up boards during the Senior Bowl to settle as a high second-rounder.

  • Falcons pick: No. 58 overall
  • Selection: WR George Pickens, Georgia

Analysis: The Falcons already got Stingley at corner and Winfrey for defensive tackle in this draft, so it's time they use the pick from Julio Jones trade on some offensive help for Arthur Smith. The team makes it a three-Dawg run by landing Pickens, who can be a steal if he can shake off injuries because he's a size-speed-physicality prospect in the Jones' vein.

Bucky Brooks,

  • Date: March 1
  • Falcons pick: No. 8
  • Selection: CB Ahmad "Sauce" Gardner

Analysis:The long, rangy cover corner could form an impressive lockdown combination with A.J. Terrell on the island.

Daniel Jeremiah,

  • Date: Feb. 22
  • Falcons pick: No. 8 overall
  • Selection: EDGE Kayvon Thibodeaux

Analysis: "Thibodeaux is a true wild card in this draft. I could see him going anywhere from No. 2 overall to outside of the top 10. Atlanta has a HUGE need for pass-rush help."

  • 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



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