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The Ringer has Falcons selecting 'electric, field-turning' receiver in first round 

Jameson Williams, Malik Willis, Garrett Wilson, and Kyle Hamilton are latest players linked to the Falcons for 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.

The NFL draft is only two weeks away. The top ten picks haven't changed yet, and the Falcons have signed more veterans to one-year deals, continuing to fill out their roster while keeping 2023 in mind. The Falcons have met with multiple players in the 2022 draft class, including quarterbacks Sam Howell, Malik Willis, and Matt Corrall, at the team headquarters in Flowery Branch (NFL teams are allowed to meet thirty players.)


There are familiar faces in this week's roundup, but another dynamic offensive player joins the group this week. 

Here's what analysts are projecting for the Falcons in the first round.

Danny Kelly, The Ringer

  • Date: Apr. 11
  • Falcons pick: No. 8 overall
  • Selection: Wr Jameson Williams, Alabama

Analysis: "The Falcons have little hope of contending in 2022, so they won't need to rush Williams back too quickly from a torn ACL, which he suffered in the national championship game. The speedy former Crimson Tide star brings the field-tilting impact this offense desperately needs."

Mel Kiper Jr., ESPN

  • Date: Apr. 13
  • Falcons pick: No. 8 overall
  • Selection: WR Garrett Wilson, Ohio State

Analysis: "I'm going to stick with this prediction because ... who is Marcus Mariota going to throw to next season? The Falcons just don't have any starting-caliber receivers. Wilson can run every route and beat defenders after the catch. He could be the early favorite for Rookie of the Year if he lands here -- he'd get a bunch of targets. Atlanta will likely be tracking the edge rushers closely, but there isn't value at this point on my board."

Jason McIntyre, Fox Sports

  • Date: Apr. 13
  • Falcons pick: No. 8 overall
  • Selection: QB Malik Willis, Liberty

Analysis: "Arthur Smith and Terry Fontenot surprise everyone by going with a QB. Willis is a year away from being close to ready, but Marcus Mariota isn't Atlanta's long-term option. The division is rebooting, with two head coaches moving on and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers doing a lot of work on both lines. The Falcons can bolster the weakest wide receiver group in the NFC — maybe the NFL — at No. 43 or No. 58. Willis sits for a year, then maybe the Falcons make a splashy trade for D.K. Metcalf and make the jump to light speed in 2023."

Jordan Reid, Espn

  • Date: Apr. 11
  • Falcons pick: No. 8 overall
  • Selection: S Kyle Hamilton, Notre Dame

Analysis: "The Falcons need talent at nearly every position across the board. General manager Terry Fontenot could focus instead on taking the best prospect available. The 6-foot-4, 220-pound Hamilton brings a tremendous skill set to the defensive backfield. He can be a playmaker and tone-setter for Atlanta."

We take a look at eight options for Atlanta's first-round pick in the 2022 NFL Draft.

Peter King, NBC Sports

  • Date: Apr. 4
  • Falcons pick: No. 8 overall
  • Selection: QB Malik Willis, Liberty

Analysis: "Lots to be concerned about here, because Willis needs a redshirt year under a smart QB coach like Arthur Smith, and he needs to be schooled in working his progressions most importantly. But Smith is a patient teacher, and he won't need to play this year with Marcus Mariota in the saddle for at least 2022. There's something about Willis' fit. He's a local kid from Roswell High (23 minutes from downtown Atlanta), teammates love him, very positive, and he has a big arm. Owner Arthur Blank could view him as a perfect long-term pilot of his franchise. I'm fascinated with the prospect of this."

Pete Prisco, CBSsports

  • Date: Apr. 5
  • Falcons pick: No. 8 overall
  • Selection: QB Kenny Pickett, Pittsburgh

Analysis: "They could opt to pass on a quarterback here, but this is another team that badly needs to fill the position. Receiver and corner could also be in play here."

Peter Schrager,

  • Date: Apr. 7
  • Falcons pick: No. 8 overall
  • Selection: EDGE Jermaine Johnson, Florida State

Analysis: "When it's all said and done, Johnson could certainly go this high. Atlanta has a slew of needs and are in Best Player Available mode. I think Marcus Mariota, who spent years with Arthur Smith in Tennessee, is not just a "for now" QB. Hence, passing on Malik Willis and others."

Todd McShay, ESPN

  • Date: Apr. 5
  • Falcons pick: No. 8 overall
  • Selection: WR Drake London, USC

Analysis: "The Falcons didn't do a whole lot to clean up a lackluster receiver room in free agency. They are currently relying on Olamide Zaccheaus and Damiere Byrd as their top two targets for new quarterback Marcus Mariota. We've only seen teams use top-10 picks on pass-catchers in back-to-back drafts three times since 1967 (Atlanta took tight end Kyle Pitts at No. 4 last April), but London is a perfect pick here. He is a former basketball player who can box out defensive backs and make tough, contested catches. London is returning from a right ankle fracture but should be ready to go for training camp.

As for the quarterback conundrum, Atlanta could address the future there with one of four picks on Day 2, wait until a more exciting signal-caller class in 2023 or execute some combination of both paths."


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