Falcons' Writers Reveal Final Mock Draft

Jay Adams

Round 1 —Darron Lee, LB, OSU: This has been the popular name for the last month or so, so why change things now? Lee seems like the perfect linebacker for what the Falcons are trying to accomplish on defense — someone who can rush the passer, play three downs and play out in space. He's one of the surest picks in the draft, so having him there for the Falcons at No. 17 due to the sheer depth at this position in the draft would be extremely fortunate.

Round 2 — Shilique Calhoun, DE/LB, Michigan State: If Calhoun is still there, you take him with the No. 50 overall selection. He's got the versatility to play with his hand in the dirt or standing and the kid is downright ferocious when it comes to pass rushing. Some teams could view him as a 3-4 linebacker; others as a 4-3 defensive end. With Quinn running a whole lot defensive line sub packages, Calhoun could be a force without having the pressure of having to be the only one to make things happen.

Round 3— Austin Johnson, DT, Penn State: I wavered back and forth between two Penn State guys here: Johnson and DE Carl Nassib. Thing is, both can get to the quarterback, but Johnson can plug up the middle regardless of where you line him up. He's a space-filler with a zip code in the backfield. What more could you want from a third-round pick? With Jonathan Babineaux getting to the end of his career and several young defensive tackles ready to pick up the mantle, adding Johnson to the mix provides some options in 2016 and beyond.

Andrew Hirsh

Round 1— Leonard Floyd, LB, Georgia: The more I watch Floyd, the better I feel about this pick. Tall, athletic and capable of playing in multiple spots, the ex-Bulldog could help Atlanta in a number of key areas. Just like we saw from Vic Beasley, Jr. a year ago, Floyd has the kind of burst that stands out on tape; few players in this year's draft are as explosive as him. He has impressive closing speed, too, and has shown he can cover a lot space. He's also effective at rushing the passer: In 2016, Floyd earned the fourth-best pass rushing productivity grade in the country and was the second-highest graded edge defender in this year's class, according to Pro Football Focus. If Floyd adds some muscle to his 6-foot-6 frame, he could be a long-term solution at linebacker. 

Round 2— Su'a Cravens, OLB/SS, Southern California: In Seattle, Dan Quinn got to work with the talented Kam Chancellor—a big, intimidating safety who's often utilized like a linebacker. ESPN's Mel Kiper, Jr. recently compared Su'a Cravens to Chancellor, and it's easy to see why. Cravens is excellent against the run thanks to his closing speed and aggressive tackling; in coverage, the 6-foot-1, 226-pounder is seldom burned and has the hands to rack up plenty of interceptions. His hard-hitting nature can sometimes border on reckless, but that kind of physicality could bring a lot to Quinn's defense. 

Round 3— Christian Westerman, OG, Arizona State: The Falcons need to add youth along their offensive line, and Westerman could be a great fit at guard. The 6-foot-3, 298-pounder is incredibly stronger—he reportedly gained 41 bench press reps as a senior—and should be quick enough to fit into an outside zone blocking scheme. If the Falcons tab Westerman, he will have time to learn the ropes from veterans like Chris Chester without being rushed into action. 

Kelsey Conway

Round 1— Myles Jack, LB, UCLA: I know this seems like a stretch considering Jack was once viewed as a sure bet top-5 pick, but the more and more I think about it, I think he'll fall due to the uncertainty of his long-term projection in the NFL. The reason I believe Atlanta will take him at No. 17 is purely based off the skills he possesses right now. He's easily the most dynamic player in the draft at this position and he excels in coverage, a big issue for Falcons LBs last season. Dan Quinn and Thomas Dimitroff have been open in saying they want playmaking, athletic players on defense, and Myles Jack is just that and beyond.

Round 2— Su'a Cravens, SS, USC: If my mock comes to fruition, the Falcons will have taken care of one of their biggest needs with selecting a linebacker, and with the 50th pick in the second round, I think they will go defense again, this time adding one of the most intriguing prospects in Cravens. On paper he doesn't show the elite speed you would think Quinn is looking for, but he's a bonafied ball-hawk, something the Falcons key on. After moving from safety to linebacker in college, Cravens views himself as a safety, and Quinn is exactly the coach to use his strengths all over all over Atlanta's defense.

Round 3 — Jonathan Bullard, DT, Florida: If Bullard makes it to the third round and the Falcons get a chance to get their hands on him, it could be an absolute steal. Bullard is a player Quinn is very familiar with from his time at Florida, and his versatility proves that he would fit from Day 1. His ability to play inside and outside along the Falcons' defensive line would make him an ideal player for Atlanta, and he can rush the passer, too. He recorded 12 sacks in his final season in Gainsville.

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