Apr 26, 2013; New York, NY, USA; NFL former player Deion Sanders announces the number sixty overall pick to the Atlanta Falcons during the 2013 NFL Draft at Radio City Music Hall. Mandatory Credit: Debby Wong-USA TODAY Sports
We all get a little excited and giggle like school girls just by looking at the newest mock draft. That’s only me? Okay, that might just be me, but mock drafts do get us Falcons fans hyped about next year due to our less than eventful season we are currently enduring. So, based on what we need now, might need in the future, and what I would like to see, I have made my own mock draft. I’m not doing any picks after the 5th round, because I don’t feel like boring you with no-name guys out of college you’ve probably never heard of. That, and after the first few rounds, it gets extremely difficult to predict what direction a team will go in. Anyways, here we go…
1st Round: DE/OLB Anthony Barr, UCLA
Some of us are hoping for Clowney with this pick, but with at least 2 winnable games remaining on the schedule, Clowney could already be off the board. I can’t see Atlanta trading down here, so we take the best player available. Barr is an OLB who can be utilized almost anywhere, and isn’t afraid to get his hand in the dirt. The UCLA product will fulfill what Kroy Biermann was suppose to do this year; be Mike Nolan’s own defensive experiment.
2nd Round: OG Cyril Richardson, Baylor
Garrett Reynolds had a solid 2012 campaign until his injury, but his 2013 play has left much to be desired. In fact, we have seen Konz, and even Schrader in at right guard this season. The Falcons offensive line desperately needs a stable lineman to alleviate pressure from Matt Ryan, and give that extra push we need in the run game. Cyril has all the tools needed to be one of the most successful lineman in today’s game. He played left guard for Baylor this season, but I don’t see any reason as to why he couldn’t play right guard at the next level.
3rd: WR Kelvin Benjamin, Florida State
Roddy White isn’t getting any younger, and Harry isn’t the freshest set of legs either. We all know that the defense is biggest need, and that our skill positions are the strongest part of the team, but a developmental wide receiver can prepare us for life after Roddy. Kelvin Benjamin is a freak of nature at almost 6’5″ and 235 lbs. His 4.6 40 yard dash is a tad slower than the NFL elite, but his sure hands and refusal to go down make up for it. There is some question as to if he will actually declare for the NFL Draft, but if he does, Atlanta should keep an eye on him.
4th Round: DT Daniel McCullers, Tennessee
Atlanta currently has three of their defensive tackles scheduled to become free agents after this season. Assuming the Falcons will cut ties with at least one of them, Atlanta must draft one of the best available. Daniel McCullers (according to Tennessee’s website) is 6’8″ and 350 pounds. As a Tennessee fan, I might have a slight bias towards drafting McCullers, but I really believe he can develop into a game changer who anchors the middle of the line. Imagine the interior of our defensive line with Corey Peters and Daniel McCullers stuffing the run any time the opposition tries to run up the middle.
5th Round: RB/WR/KR Dri Archer, Kent State
Another offensive weapon here. I stated before that defense is Atlanta’s most glaring need, but Dri Archer is the definition of explosion. Will he asked to be a starting caliber wide receiver? Probably not. Will he take over at running back? More than likely no. Atlanta has severely lacked an exciting return man since Eric Weems, and this is exactly what Dri Archer can help replace for the Falcons. If he can break at least one return for a touchdown, that would be an improvement upon what we are currently fielding at KR.
Don’t forget, free agency starts a month prior to the NFL Draft, so the Falcons may already have some of their needs accounted for. Thoughts? Predictions? Feel free to share below!