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Mock Monitor: 6.0


For the first time since February, we have a strong consensus pick among the mock drafts we sample each week in our Mock Monitor, which gives us a better, clearer picture of what direction the Falcons might go in come April.

Previously, Purdue defensive end Ryan Kerrigan had spent much of February as the consensus pick, but he now appears nowhere on any of our experts' mock drafts at the No. 27 spot.

Instead, in appears Iowa defensive end Adrian Clayborn has a stronghold on the opinion-makers' minds when it comes to the Falcons.

It makes sense. The Falcons seem to be in the market for a pass rusher and there are plenty available in this year's draft class. I went into some detail about Clayborn last week, in case you missed it.

A couple of changes to the Mock Monitor this week include the AJC's D. Orlando Ledbetter publishing the 3.0 version of his mock. D-Led has had different picks for the Falcons in each of his three mock drafts. He started out with Miami defensive end Allen Bailey, then switched to North Carolina defensive end Robert Quinn before now projecting the Falcons will take Missouri defensive end Aldon Smith.

In most of our mocks, the experts have Smith being taken in the mid-to-late teens of the first round. But since D-Led feels like Smith might drop, he's definitely a prospect to keep an eye on.

Also changing is the addition of the College Scout mock. Basically, got a scout to create a mock draft, and while we don't know the identity of said mocker, we can rest assured that his projections are probably pretty accurate and well-thought-out.

The scout has the Falcons taking Florida C/G Mike Pouncey with the No. 27 pick, now the lone picker with Pouncey going at that spot since's Todd McShay switched his Falcons projection to Georgia defensive end Justin Houston.

Houston seems to really be dropping down a lot of experts' mocks and slipping into the mid and late 20s, so lets take a closer look at him since he seems to be a possibility.

At 6-foot-2, 270 pounds, the former Bulldog is seen as a hybrid defensive end/linebacker. That seems to be the biggest criticism of some of this year's defensive end class. Versatility isn't a bad thing, but there's a big difference between being a 4-3 defensive end — something the Falcons need — and being a 3-4 outside linebacker.

Because of his size, he'd be on the small side at defensive end, but he'd provide a vast amount of speed coming off the edge. Perhaps that's the factor that can push him into the Falcons' clutches at No. 27.

At Georgia, he spent his time as an outside linebacker, but would consistently rush the edge. Rarely, however, would he get his hand in the dirt from that position, so there's some question as to how much of a transition he'd need to make in order to become an NFL defensive end.

I can see Houston being a viable option at the No. 27 spot, provided that he's available and hasn't been snatched up yet. He's a very smart kid with a lot of good character. In those categories, he's a perfect fit.

What do you think? Do you like Houston, or does someone else catch your eye?

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