Just 22 days out from the 2016 NFL Draft, ESPN draft expert Mel Kiper has the Falcons selecting Alabama ILB Reggie Ragland with their No. 17 pick in his recent mock draft.
While most media members believe Atlanta will draft a linebacker, it's the outside linebacker spot that's garnered the most attention. Darron Lee, Leonard Floyd, Deion Jones are a few of the players who have most recently been linked to the Falcons.
Kiper believes Ragland is the best option for Coach Dan Quinn and GM Thomas Dimitroff because he's someone they can plug into their system and succeed from Day 1.
"You could make a case that Ragland is as ready to contribute on Sundays as any defender in this draft," Kiper said. "Yes, he's an instinctive tackling machine at the line of scrimmage, but Ragland can cover ground. Atlanta can put him to work immediately."
Based off Atlanta's moves in free agency, it's easy to see why pundits predict the Dimitroff and Quinn will take a defensive player in the first round. Kiper has released four mock drafts, and in each one he has the Falcons selecting a defensive player.
Here's a look at Kiper's previous picks and analysis:
Darron Lee, OLB, Ohio State
"Nobody was better at the NFL combine, and Lee has plenty of good tape as well. An explosive, versatile player is a good value here, and Atlanta has a need for a playmaker at linebacker."
Shaq Lawson, DE, Clemson
"While Vic Beasley flashed potential as a rookie, he wasn't a force consistently, and the Falcons can't go wrong adding more to the pass rush. Lawson is well-coached and has more size to stay on the field and hold up as a three-down defender in either a 3-4 or 4-3 look, thanks to a versatile skill set."
Kevin Dodd, DE, Clemson
"Shaq Lawson led the nation in tackles for loss, but Dodd was right there with him, No. 2 in the nation, and a constant presence in the backfield. The Falcons added pass-rush help with Vic Beasley last year, but is Beasley an every-down player? At 275 pounds, Dodd has the frame to hold up against the run and should help a D-line that lacks depth."