In yet another Insider post from ESPN, Mel Kiper Jr. has done a full three-round mock draft. This is a very comprehensive mock draft, but it does not necessarily indicate he is saying EXACTLY these players will be going to each team. However, the players that go to each team have a legitimate shot of falling to each team at the spot they have a pick, and reflect the type of player available at need positions when that team’s spot in the draft shows up.
The Falcons only have two picks in the first three rounds, but Kiper has reflected the Falcons picks in his mock draft. He has Kelechi Osemele, an offensive lineman from Iowa State going to Atlanta in the 2nd round, and defensive end Olivier Vernon going to the Falcons in the 3rd round.
Osemele is a player that I am familiar with. He played offensive tackle at Iowa State, and was pretty good there. He is massive, and as a result of his huge size and lack of tremendous success protecting the blindside of the quarterback, Kiper believes that Osemele will be moved inside to guard by the Falcons, if they were to draft him. I don’t think that there is any doubt that Osemele would be an immediate and long-term success at guard, and maybe that is what the Falcons need. But right now there is a huge backlog of roster spots filled with players who will all be competing for the right guard position (Mike Johnson, Garrett Reynolds, Andrew Jackson, and Vince Manuwai), and I think that one of the younger players could be the option. Would it benefit the Falcons to take a player like Osemele to fill a need even though they have lots of players at the position, or should they take a tackle prospect like Donald Stephenson who may never pan out, but may be a huge success? I think that Osemele is just not a player with overwhelming talent, and the Falcons might be better off going with someone else along the offensive line.
Olivier Vernon is the player that Kiper has the Falcons taking in the 3rd round. He is a solid, yet unspectacular player. He is already solid against the run, and is a very versatile player. At the University of Miami he took snaps from both defensive end in a 4-3 scheme, and outside linebacker in a 3-4 scheme. Even though Vernon is not an overwhelming player, he is exactly the type of player that I imagine working with Mike Nolan. Everything that I have read about him as a defensive coordinator is that he prizes players who have high motors, who are willing and able to be versatile. Even though his instincts may not be off the charts great, he could definitely be a role player in the Falcons new defensive scheme, and help add bodies who can get after the passer to the defensive line.
What are your thoughts on Mel Kiper’s predictions, and the types of players he has the Falcons selecting?