I wish Taven Bryan would be available, as he would be a great fit for the Falcons. Atlanta likes Bryan, but he's off the board.
With all of the top defensive tackles gone, the Falcons could look to plug a weakness they have at right guard. Billy Price has been medically cleared by doctors, so he could be back in first-round discussion.
*** OTHER 2018 NFL DRAFT POSSIBILITIES: ***
1. Taven Bryan, DT - Once again, Atlanta would love to get Bryan.
2. Sam Hubbard, DE - The Falcons need to replace Adrian Clayborn, so Hubbard would make sense.
Pick change; previously Taven Bryan, DT
Rd. 2, Pk. 26
B.J. Hill, DT/3-4DE/NT, N.C. State
Once again, the Falcons' defense was incredibly soft against the Eagles in the divisional round of the playoffs. They could use two of their initial three selections on the defensive line.
Rd. 3, Pk. 26
Jerome Baker, OLB, Ohio State
The Falcons will be looking to add a linebacker at some point in the middle rounds to further enhance their front seven.
Rd. 4, Pk. 26
D.J. Reed, CB, Kansas State
The Falcons could use some depth at cornerback after losing Jalen Collins.
Rd. 6, Pk. 26
Taylor Hearn, G, Clemson
The Falcons' lone hole on the offensive line is at right guard, which could be addressed much earlier than this.
Rd. 7, Pk. 26
Kurt Benkert, QB, Virginia
The Falcons need to develop a solid No. 2 quarterback behind Matt Ryan. They've shown interest in Kurt Benkert.
Rd. 7, Pk. 38
Donnie Ernsberger, TE, Western Michigan
The Falcons seem like they'll be looking for a new fullback at some point on Day 3.
The Falcons grab a right guard upgrade to finish off their offensive line.
Prior to a high ankle sprain that ended his practice week, Lamp (6-3, 305) performed well at the Senior Bowl after an excellent collegiate career. He made 39 straight starts and was a tough lineman at the point of attack. Lamp is a tough blocker who is well-rounded as a run blocker and pass protector. He lacks length, however, and should move inside to guard in the NFL. Similar to Cody Whitehair last year, Lamp's best position could be center. Team sources have said they could see Lamp going in the second round of the 2017 NFL Draft.
Rd. 2, Pk. 2
Budda Baker, S, Washington
The Falcons could use a free safety upgrade next to Keanu Neal, where Baker would be a perfect fit.
In 2016, Baker totaled 65 tackles with two interceptions and five passes broken up. He needs to get stronger to tackle in the NFL, but Baker is a fast safety who flies around the field. The 5-foot-10, 195-pounder has the ability to help in pass coverage and is a willing tackler in the ground game. Returning for his senior year and adding strength would have been his best route before going pro, but Baker decided to enter the 2017 NFL Draft.
In 2015, Baker recorded 49 tackles with seven passes broken up and two interceptions. He had 80 tackles, six pass breakups and an interception as a freshman.
Rd. 3, Pk. 3
Daeshon Hall, DE/3-4OLB, Texas A&M
The Falcons could use a base end to go on the other side from Vic Beasley.
In 2016, Hall collected 50 tackles with 13 tackles for a loss, 4.5 sacks, two forced fumbles and one pass batted. He had some good games for the Aggies, but wasn't consistent with his pass-rush production. The senior (6-5, 265) was solid against the run, however.
Hall looked poised to break out in 2015 after picking up an impressive four sacks against Louisville in Week 1. It turned out, however, that the performance was an anomaly, as the junior finished the year with a total of 54 tackles with 12.5 for a loss, seven sacks and two forced fumbles. Despite seeing great pass-rushing opportunities playing across from Myles Garrett, Hall wasn't consistent.
Rd. 4, Pk. 4
Charles Walker, DT, Oklahoma
Atlanta could use a more interior defensive line depth with Jonathan Babineaux aging.
In 2016, Walker totaled seven tackles with two for a loss and four passes broken up. He only played in four games because of a concussion and quit the team early in order to prepare for the 2017 NFL Draft. Walker was one of the few Oklahoma players who impressed in the 2016 opener against Houston, collecting three tackles, 1.5 for a loss and a pass batted. He had an impressive 2015 season with 36 tackles, six sacks and a forced fumble.
Walker displayed enough speed, strength and versatility to play end or tackle for Oklahoma, allowing him to be disruptive at the point of attack. The 6-foot-2, 310-pounder is talented and was cleared medically at the combine.
Rd. 5, Pk. 5
Robert Davis, WR, Georgia State
The Falcons go with the best player available and add some wide receiver competition.
Rd. 7, Pk. 7
Elijah McGuire, RB, La.-Lafayette
The Falcons go with the best player available to add some running back depth.
Atlanta is another team with very few holes throughout its roster. After bringing in free agent guard Brandon Fusco, the Falcons have fille what might have been the most glaring need for the team. After winning the 2016 MVP and appearing in Super Bowl LI, quarterback Matt Ryan and the Atlanta offensive took a slight step back in 2017 under offensive coordinator Steve Sarkisian. With the entire cast returning with the exception of wide receiver Taylor Gabriel, the team is geared for improvement and another solid campaign on this side of the ball. The defense is lead by what is one of the best two linebacker cores in the NFL with Deion Jones, De'Vondre Campbell, and Duke Riley. The secondary also seems to be in pretty good shape lead by superstar cornerback Desmond Trufant and safety Keanu Neal. This position sector did take a hit as the team had to cut corner Jalen Collins after his fourth suspension was issued this offseason, but the team brought in nickel corner Justin Bethel to join Trufant, Robert Alford, and Brian Poole.
The Falcons hope to return to the Super Bowl after blowing a huge lead and losing to the New England Patriots in the big game two years ago. The team is most likely to address a position on the defensive line, especially with the losses of defensive tackle Dontari Poe and end Adrian Clayborn. A few names to look at for at this selection are wide receiver Christian Kirk, defensive tackles Maurice Hurst, Taven Bryan, or Harrison Phillips, guard Isaiah Wynn and safety Ronnie Harrison. In this mock though, general manager Thomas Dimitroff and defensive-minded head coach Dan Quinn look to pair defensive tackle Grady Jarrett with a late rising pass rushing interior force in Florida prospect Taven Bryan.
Bryan has been linked to the Falcons as of lately as they seem to be very infatuated with the potential in the prospect. Bryan was only a one year starter at Florida after just showing glimpses of his explosiveness during his sophomore season. During his junior campaign, though, he was able to thrive on a disappointing team by recording 37 tackles, 6 for loss, and 4 sacks. Bryan continued his season with a good showing at the NFL combine by posting a 4.98 40 yard dash, 30 reps on the bench, and a 35 inch vertical. Bryan value varies greatly team to team, but all it takes is one team to fall in love with you to be drafted highly and in the first round.
FALCONS TRADE - 2018 1st (1.26) + 2018 2nd (2.26)
Atlanta, in this draft, needs serious help on its DL, and one of the two best options is still left on the board (ahead of several teams that can certainly justify selecting him). Seattle, meanwhile, does not have a great deal of draft capital and has what I can only quantify as a smorgasbord of needs with their recent departures and issues on both lines. Seattle can take the trade down, get back the second rounder they were missing, and Atlanta can obtain the professional large man Da'Ron Payne.
**TRADE** Falcons trade 2018 First Round Pick (26 overall), 2018 6th Round Pick (200 Overall) and 2019 3rd Round Pick to the Cowboys.
Why the Cowboys do this trade: Hurst doesn't necessarily fit what the cowboys need on the d-line, and the Cowboys needs don't really fit . One Hurst comparison is Maliek Collins, who is already on the Cowboys D-line. The Cowboys really need a 1-technique rather than a 3-technique.
Why the Falcons do this trade - Hurst fits much more what they need with Grady Jarrett filling the 1-tech role, and is the last of the first round DTs on the board, who could fill a potential need for both the Lions and the Bucs (or Bills for that matter if they stay put).
Hurst is the next in the John Randle/Aaron Donald line of smaller interior d-lineman that use initial burst and quickness to get up the field and in the backfield. His punch and disengage is incredibly quick and helped him lead interior defenders in college football with 49 QB Pressures. However, he also uses those same strengths to become a dominant run defender as he also lead CFB interior defenders with 31 run stops. His motor and quickness give him the position versatility to play inside or kick out to the end and play as the Michael Bennett role (who the Falcons are reportedly interested in trading for) on Dan Quinn's d-line.
I know the Falcons would love it if Florida defensive tackle Taven Bryan were an option at this pick, but he could easily be gone by the time they are on the clock. Atlanta needs an upgrade at guard, and Wynn is a good scheme fit. He could be a plug-and-play starter for the Falcons to help get their offense back to where it was during their Super Bowl season. <br> <br>
Wynn impressed scouts in 2017 as an excellent run blocker for the Bulldogs. The 6-foot-2, 308-pounder blocks with aggression and has a temperament that is hard to find in college blockers. In pass protection, he was very dependable as well. Because Wynn is shorter and doesn't have ideal length, some sources think that he could move to guard or center in the NFL. Wynn started at left guard in 2016, but scouts think he is athletic enough to also play center. Wynn's size and skill set has drawn comparisons to Kelvin Beachum, who is undersized but has managed to carve out a career at left tackle in the NFL.
Everyone seems to love the Dontari Poe signing for the Falcons, but I have a few things to be worried about that deal. For one it's a one year deal so if he does excel than the Falcons will either lose him in free agency or have to over pay an overweight and oft-injured talent. The other issue is he is moving to a pass rushing 4-3 defense where his skill set of plugging holes is not very useful. Plus, the Falcons need linemen with a high stamina to keep up with their quick scoring offense just look at the Super Bowl where their defensive line turned into zombies in the 4th quarter after being on the field for so long. Vea is a younger more explosive version of Poe with a much better pass rushing skill set. Playing in a passing league in the Pac-12 and playing in a 4-3 defense will provide him with a lot of experience to come in right away and play at a high level. He and Grady Jarrett can provide a solid one-two punch in the middle of their defense to move passer like Drew Brees, Jameis Winston, and Cam Newton of their spot in division play.
Last Weeks Selection: Christian Wilkins DT Clemson at Pick # 21
Show/Hide Other Mocks with Vita Vea Going to Falcons
Rd. 1, Pk. 26
Calvin Ridley, WR
Everyone was expecting the Falcons to pick a defensive lineman, or perhaps a blocker. Those would've fit the greatest needs, but receiver makes a ton of sense as well. The Falcons' offense collapses whenever Julio Jones gets hurt - they lost at home to the Bills without him this past season - so acquiring a legitimate No. 2 wideout was very necessary. Ridley was once projected as a top-10 prospect, but this range makes more sense. Still, Ridley is a nice bargain at No. 26, and his terrific route running will allow him to develop quickly and contribute as soon as possible. I like this pick a lot, despite Ridley's perceived declining draft stock.
Rd. 2, Pk. 26
Isaiah Oliver, CB
I thought the Seahawks would move down for Isaiah Oliver into the 25-35 range. This is a big slip, and it's unclear why. Oliver is a lengthy, athletic cornerback in the mold of Richard Sherman. Given that the Seahawks were interested in Oliver, it would make sense that the Falcons would be. This is a great pick, as Oliver and his size will help defend against the tall receivers in the NFC South.
Rd. 3, Pk. 26
Deadrin Senat, DT/NT
Deadrin Senat is a powerful nose tackle, but doesn't have good length, which could be a problem in the pros. There's some potential here for Senat to be a quality, rotational player, however, and I think the range makes sense for him in the third round. This is a decent choice.
Rd. 4, Pk. 26
Ito Smith, RB
Meh. Ito Smith was a late-round prospect and doesn't fit a need at all. The Falcons had bigger priorities than adding someone who could maybe become the No. 3 running back. This seems like a poor selection.
Rd. 6, Pk. 20
Russell Gage Jr., WR
Russell Gage may not have been on many draft radars before his pro day, but he thrived then. He posted some terrific numbers and then looked great in the drills, prompting some teams to schedule visits for him. Gage certainly has loads of potential, and the Falcons needed a couple of receivers because they had nothing beyond Julio Jones.
Rd. 6, Pk. 26
Foye Oluokun, OLB
The Falcons needed depth at linebacker, and I actually thought they'd address this earlier. Still, better late than never. Foye Oluokon is someone who has been discussed in the sixth or seventh round, so this is a logical choice.