It's hard to believe we're already into the ninth edition of our Mock Monitor. The draft is coming closer and closer, and yet — you're gonna kill me for saying this — we still don't have a crystal clear picture of where the Falcons will be going with the No. 27 pick.
Get used to it. I've basically subscribed to the idea that we won't have a crystal clear picture until the 28th pick. I urge you all to do the same.
That doesn't mean we can't at least look at the mocks and at least pretend we know what we're talking about. If you remember last week's Mock Monitor, you'll recall that the mocks were basically deciding on a small handful of positions. Well, that has changed once again with this week's mock featuring picks at offensive tackle, defensive end, offensive guard, tight end, center and cornerback.
Commence the pulling out of hair.
But hey, take solace in the fact that there's a clear consensus pick this week in Iowa defensive end Adrian Clayborn, who easily reclaims the spot based on this week's mocks.
At the defensive end position, he joins Georgia's Justin Houston, Ohio State's Cameron Heyward and Arizona's Brooks Reed (pictured above) as projections from our pool of experts.
Reed's name is one that only recently came up in the picture, and the projection earns some credibility with ESPN's Todd McShay making the call that the Falcons take him in his latest version of his mock. Reed has been overshadowed by the other big names in his position group, but he definitely deserves a closer look.
Last month, Reed was projected to be a second-rounder, but a very strong pro day has caused him to move up some boards with the experts into the back end of the first — right where the Falcons will be selecting.
Reed goes close to 6-foot-3 and weighs 257 — not bad size for a defensive end, but he also projects as a 3-4 linebacker. Reed was a three-year starter for the Wildcats and amassed 114 tackles and 17 sacks during his college career.
Why, then, is he more of a fit at linebacker? Well, his size, for one. But his speed is also more in line with the outside linebacker group after running a 4.65 at the Combine — faster than 18 of 24 linebackers during Combine testing.
Still, his athleticism alone might force the Falcons' hand if he's there at No. 27. He has a great bull rush and a high motor. But is that enough to translate to the Falcons' defensive system?
Vote for Reed, or one of your favorite selections, below.