The 2016 Scouting Combine is in the books, and with April fast-approaching, the NFL Draft prospect rankings are starting to take shape. Here's a look at some of the latest mock draft projections for the Falcons:
Analysis: Jonathan Bullard is the lone newcomer on this week's list. The University of Florida product had a strong combine in a number of areas, inlcuding the 40-yard dash (4.93 seconds), vertical jump (32 inches), broad jump (116 inches), short shuttle (4.56 seconds) and 3-cone drill (7.31 seconds). Bullard played at a variety of spots on the Gators' defense and is considered versatile enough to line up in the 4-3 and 3-4. The 6-foot-3, 285-pounder led Florida's defense in sacks (6.5) and tackles for loss (18) last season. Most big boards have him listed well below No. 17, but if the Falcons choose to trade down, he could be a solid option at the back of the first round.
It's a little perplexing to see Jaylon Smith's name twice after a defensive coordinator said he wouldn't take a risk on the injured linebacker at any point in the draft. While Matt Miller reported in January that Smith is expected to be ready for the start of 2016, NFL clubs believe he will miss all of next year at a minimum and never fully recover from the nerve damage suffered in wake of his ACL and MCL tears. Miller still has the Falcons going with Smith in the first round, though, while Peter Schrager has yet to publish an updated mock since news broke that three teams have taken Smith off their boards until his knee is re-examined in April.
Shaq Lawson and Darron Lee each fared well at the combine and can fill a need for Atlanta, so they should continue to appear on our monitor leading up to April 28. Lee succeeded at every linebacker drill in Indianapolis and ran a scorching 4.43 40-yard dash—a better time than most wide receivers put up. Lawson flashed his athleticism in a number of drills, including the short shuttle (4.21 seconds), broad jump (120 inches) and 40-yard dash (4.70 seconds).* *