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NBC Sports links Falcons with physical wide receiver in latest mock draft roundup

Drake London, Garrett Wilson, Jameson Williams, and Jermaine Johnson II are latest players linked to the Falcons for the first round of the 2022 NFL Draft. 

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.

Draft week is finally here. The frenzy of mock drafts is wrapping up as the first day of the NFL Draft approaches Thursday. Typically by this point in the offseason, there is a consensus on how the first few picks will pan out, or at the very least the first overall pick. This year there is no consensus. For some time, Aidan Hutchinson was considered the consensus top pick, but other players like Travon Walker, Ikem Ekwonu, Evan Neal, and others have been rumored at the top spot. Because of the inconsistency in the first seven picks, the Falcons' projections have been volatile.

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Here's who analysts see the Falcons taking at No. 8 in the final Mock Draft roundup.

Peter King, NBC Sports

  • Date: Apr. 25
  • Falcons pick: No. 8 overall
  • Selection: WR Drake London, USC

Analysis: "Kind of the first "they could do five things here" pick. I'm going with the receiver I hear they love. Some teams knocked London for not running a 40 in the runup to the draft after a late-October broken ankle caused him to miss USC's last four games; he's estimated at about 4.5, which is not top-end speed. Everything else about his game is top-end. His average game in 2021 (15 targets, 11 catches, 136 yards, one TD) was notable. Everyone knew the ball was coming to him, and his competitiveness in multiple coverages caught eyes. To keep up that level of production game after game is something that separates London from the other receivers in this crop. As for the Falcons' need at wideout: When the guys in three-receiver formations look to be Olamide Zaccheaus, Auden Tate and Damiere Byrd … I rest my case."

Mark Maske, Washington Post

  • Date: Apr. 27
  • Falcons pick: No. 8 overall
  • Selection: WR Garrett Wilson, Ohio State

Analysis: "This team is bereft of offensive talent beyond Kyle Pitts and while QB is a need, you could argue that wide receiver is an even bigger one. And Garrett Wilson is special."

Ben Volin, Boston Globe

  • Date: Apr. 27
  • Falcons pick: No. 8 overall
  • Selection: WR Jameson Williams, Alabama

Analysis: "The Falcons have a ton of needs on defense, and obviously need a long-term solution at quarterback. But they have always had premier talent at wide receiver, and now have a gaping void without Julio Jones and Calvin Ridley. They go with another Alabama product in Williams, who is expected to recover fine from his ACL injury."

Charles Davis, NFL.com

  • Date: Apr. 27
  • Falcons pick: No. 8 overall
  • Selection: Edge Jermaine Johnson II, Florida State

Analysis: "Receiver is a screaming need for the Falcons in the wake of Calvin Ridley's indefinite suspension. But so is pass-rushing help, given that Atlanta has struggled to disrupt opposing QBs for years. The ACC Defensive Player of the Year has the potential to ultimately be an All-Pro, and he's good against the run, too."

Peter Schrager NFL.com

  • Date: Apr. 19
  • Falcons pick: No. 8 overall
  • Selection: OT Evan Neal, Alabama

Analysis: "The Falcons sit pretty at No. 8 and take the best player available in Neal. This situation would be a lot like what happened to the Chargers last year when Pro Bowler Rashawn Slater unexpectedly fell out of the top 12."

Jonathan Jones, CBSsports

  • Date: Apr. 21
  • Falcons pick: No. 8 overall
  • Selection: S Kyle Hamilton, Notre Dame

Analysis: "The Falcons have so many needs in what is sure to be a rebuild. Nabbing a versatile player who can cover up some of those needs isn't dissimilar to what they did last year with Kyle Pitts."

Conor McQuiston, Pro Football Focus

  • Date: Apr. 21
  • Falcons pick: No. 8 overall
  • Selection: WR Jameson Williams, Alabama

Analysis: "With all three of the top OTs and both top CBs off the board, this functionally boils down to the Falcons choosing between an EDGE and a wide receiver. Atlanta currently has two players who have had at least 50 receptions in a single season: hybrid player Cordarelle Patterson and phenom TE Kyle Pitts. Their top pass catcher projects to be Damiere Byrd, who has only graded above a 60.0 with multiple targets twice in his career. Since the Falcons can reasonably expect one of Arnold Ebiketie, Boye Mafe, David Ojabo and Drake Jackson to be available in the second round, Williams' game-breaking speed is the pick."

  • Date: Apr. 19
  • Falcons pick: No. 8 overall
  • Selection: QB Malik Willis, Liberty

Analysis: "the Falcons must save face and come out of this draft with a better long-term quarterback option than Marcus Mariota. That signing, after the Matt Ryan trade, always had the feel of a bridge maneuver. Willis could be a year away from seeing the field anyway, but possesses high-end potential in the right offense. Remove him from the offensive situation at Liberty, and we could see him grow quickly."

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