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Tori's 7-round mock draft: Two trades allow Falcons to reload at edge rusher and wide receiver

The Falcons make a play for Iowa's Lukas Van Ness, while a top running back option drops into Atlanta's lap in the second round. 

Editor's note: Over the course of the next few days, Scott Bair and Tori McElhaney will publish two separate 7-round mock drafts in preparation for this year's NFL Draft, which begins on Thursday night. With these mock drafts, they attempt to speculate which direction the Falcons could go through the weekend's picks. Tori is up first.

FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. -- Trade alert! That's right, I'm taking calls and would you look at that, I like an early offer. I - of course - wait until after the No. 7 overall pick is made before agreeing to the trade, because you never know who will be available night of.

One of my top targets has already been taken off the board, though, but one of my other favorites may be on the board a bit longer. I am willing to risk moving down a little bit to gain some more capital in the second round. So, without further explanation, let's get to the picks.


TRADE: The Atlanta Falcons send the No. 8 pick to the Tennessee Titans for the Titans' 11th overall pick, their No. 41 overall pick in the second round and a future fourth-round pick in 2024.

Pick No. 11, first round: EDGE Lukas Van Ness (Iowa)

If the Falcons can get an extra pick in the second round and Van Ness? Do it. If there's a run on quarterbacks early, the Titans may be a willing trade parter to move a few spots up into the top 10 to have a shot at one of the quarterbacks before they get snatched. This would be good news for the Falcons who should be playing a heavy hand to continue to strengthen its defensive line forces. With Van Ness trending in the right direction and with the Falcons having already improved their interior through free agency, this could be just the right fit for everyone.

Iowa defensive lineman Lukas Van Ness (91) in action against Rutgers during an NCAA football game on Saturday, Sept. 24, 2022, in Piscataway, N.J. (AP Photo/Adam Hunger)

Pick No. 41, second round via Titans: RB Jahmyr Gibbs (Alabama)

Teams can be a bit finicky when it comes to using a first-round draft pick on a running back. That's why I think that - despite many saying Gibbs will go in the late picks of the first round - I see him falling into Day 2. With the Falcons having acquired the No. 41 overall pick, perhaps they come in at just the right time to pick up an overlooked Gibbs, who, draft analyst have said at times, doesn't have the ideal size for an NFL back. If he's overlooked and underestimated? Great. That means the Falcons have a better shot at him.

Gibbs is originally from Rome, Ga., and if drafted by the Falcons could play close to home and partner with another young running back in Atlanta, Tyler Allgeier. Gibbs and Allgeier, along with Cordarrelle Patterson, would be a fun trio to watch work on Sundays.

Alabama running back Jahmyr Gibbs (1) carries the ball as Kansas State safety Josh Hayes (1) and safety VJ Payne (19) pursue during the second half of the Sugar Bowl NCAA college football game Saturday, Dec. 31, 2022, in New Orleans. (AP Photo/Butch Dill)

Pick No. 44, second round: IDL (or EDGE) Adetomiwa Adebawore (Northwestern)

This is my draft crush. I really, really like Adebawore and the versatility, speed and power of which he plays. Though used as an edge rusher in college, I do think he still has the size to play within the interior from time to time. He's someone that Ryan Nielsen could have a bit of fun with within various personnel packages early in Adebawore's career.

He was the only player over 280 pounds to run a sub 4.5 in the 40-yard dash at the combine this year, the only player of that size who's been able to do that in the history of the combine, in fact. Personally, I'm itching to see what he could do working with and around veterans like Grady Jarrett, David Onyemata and Calais Campbell.

Northwestern defensive line Adetomiwa Adebawore reacts as he bench presses weights during Northwestern Pro Day for NFL football coaches and scouts Tuesday, March 14, 2023, in Evanston, Ill. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)

Pick No. 75, third round: WR Marvin Mims, Jr. (Oklahoma)

In Dane Brugler's draft guide for The Athletic, he said Mims' bread and butter will always be his field-stretching speed and finishing skills. You know what the Falcons need in their wide receivers room? That.

With Drake London and Kyle Pitts, you have targets with significant size. Throw Mack Hollins in there, too, who's long frame takes up space as well. You also have Scotty Miller who has the potential to be a trusted slot player. What you're missing is that field-stretching speed of which Brugler says Mims has. So, go get it.

Oklahoma wide receiver Marvin Mims Jr. (17) catches a touchdown pass against Texas Tech during the first half of an NCAA college football game Saturday, Nov. 26, 2022, in Lubbock, Texas. (AP Photo/Justin Rex)

Pick No. 110, fourth round: Tre Tomlinson (TCU)

It shocked me, too, that it took me so long to draft a cornerback. I've had a top cornerback on my list since the beginning of this offseason. I've said time and time again that I could see the Falcons drafting a corner at No. 8, but then they went out and got Jeff Okudah and it made me rethink my priorities. Call it false hope, but I tend to think that sometimes a change of scenery can change someone. So, I do have high hopes for Okudah in Atlanta. That means that I'm not pressed to find a starting cornerback right away. That doesn't mean a corner comes off my board, though, which leads me to this pick.

Tomlinson is on the smaller side, yes, but what he may lack in size he makes up for in quick decision-making skills and competitive nature. Some teams may like him at nickel. Like Okudah, Mike Hughes is also only guaranteed to be in Atlanta for a year, if the Falcons feel like they need a slot corner for the future, Tomlinson has an upside to him.

Pick No. 113, fourth round: G Anthony Bradford (LSU)

Though the Falcons have locked up Chris Lindstrom with a long-term deal, the left guard position remains an area of discussion for the Falcons (as it has for many years now). The Falcons are still searching for a reliable, long-term answer at left guard. Who's to say it couldn't be someone in this draft class?

When it comes to linemen, the Falcons are relatively set at the moment, but one can never become too comfortable with this group, especially with one singular spot up for grabs. Bradford is a large force who has played primarily at right guard in college. With some time to maturate, though, it wouldn't be a difficult move to the left side of the protection after Bradford gets his feet under his large frame as a professional.

TRADE: The Atlanta Falcons trade their Nos. 225 and 245 overall picks plus a future fifth-round pick in 2024 for the Green Bay Packers' No. 149 overall pick in 2023.

Pick No. 149, fifth round via Packers: WR Parker Washington (Penn State)

Yep, another receiver is dropping in. This time he comes via a trade, one that sees the Falcons move back into the fifth round where they have found a few diamonds in the rough in recent years (think Tyler Allgeier, Ta'Quon Graham and Avery Williams). By trading away some of their late-round picks and a future fifth-rounder, the Falcons continue to add to the receiver room with Washington. He's an option in the slot for the Falcons. Though they have Scotty Miller, he's only on a one-year deal. If the Falcons feel they could develop their own talent, Washington in the fifth round has the potential to be a steal.

Pick No. 224, seventh round: LB Charlie Thomas (Georgia Tech)

When you get to the seventh round you really are just trusting your gut and looking for the best player available from your big board. This pick is just that for me: Trusting what I've seen with my own two eyes.

Prior to my own jump to the league, I covered Georgia Tech for a year and a half. My time at Georgia Tech crossed with Thomas, who I really enjoyed watching. He's a kid from Thomasville, Ga., and has made a name for himself in Atlanta already. With the Falcons accounting for Troy Andersen, Kaden Elliss and Mykal Walker at the ILB position in 2023, Thomas could simply be a nice depth piece with speed. He may be of more value on special teams, though, where he has the potential to shine.

Take a look as the Atlanta Falcons put in that work for the 2023 season.

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