2014 Mock Draft: Atlanta Falcons Add Pass Rush


Mandatory Credit: Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports

The NFL season is almost over, and even before the confetti has fallen in New Jersey it’s already time to start thinking about the draft. The Falcons have plenty of needs to fill this year, including big issues to fix on both the offensive and defensive lines.

While bolstering the offensive line may be the most pressing of the two, good offensive lineman can fall in the draft but good pass rushers don’t. If the Falcons want to find themselves a game-changing player with the 6th overall pick they will need to grab one of the elite defenders who falls to them.

1. Houston Texans
Teddy Bridgewater
Quarterback, Louisville
The Texans need a quarterback, and even though Bridgewater’s stock has wavered recently they’ll go with the safe pick with the first overall selection this time around.

2. St. Louis Rams (from Washington)
Jake Matthews
Offensive Tackle, Texas A&M
With the pick that the Rams get from the Redskins, they’ll take the best offensive lineman available. Jake Matthews spent the last two years making Johnny Manziel look better than he really is, hopefully he can do the same thing for Sam Bradford.

3. Jacksonville Jaguars
Blake Bortles
Quarterback, University of Central Florida
The hottest commodity in the draft right now, Blake Bortles has gone from relatively unknown to a top-five pick in a matter of a few months. He has all the measurables you want in an NFL quarterback, and the Jaguars need a new face under center to get the taste of Blaine Gabbert out of their mouthes.

4. Cleveland Browns
Johnny Manziel
Quarterback, Texas A&M
Sorry, Cleveland fans, someone has to wind up with Manziel. Don’t worry, you’ll have a chance to take another quarterback in a few years when he’s out of the league.

5. Oakland Raiders
Jadeveon Clowney
Defensive End, University of South Carolina
With all the top quarterbacks off the board the Raiders would be smart to grab Clowney, who just might be the best player in the draft this year.

6. Atlanta Falcons
Anthony Barr
Outside Linebacker, UCLA
The Falcons need help at the pass rush, and with Clowney not available the next best option is the talented outside linebacker from UCLA, Anthony Barr. A natural athlete, Barr could reek havoc coming off the edge in the NFL.

7. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Greg Robinson
Tackle, Auburn
Tampa Bay has plenty of needs, but offensive line is at the top of the list. Greg Robinson helped pave the way for the Auburn running attack this season, the Bucs hope he can do the same thing for them.

8. Minnesota Vikings
Derek Carr
Quarterback, Fresno State
The Vikings need a quarterback, and Carr is the only one left with a first-round grade. They probably should go offensive line or defensive back here, but they won’t.

9. Buffalo Bills
Taylor Lewan
Offensive Tackle, Michigan
The Bills are quietly building a solid roster, and Taylor Lewan will help them bolster an offensive line that let them down too often last season.

10. Detroit Lions
Darqueze Dennard
Cornerback, Michigan State
The Lions need defensive backs and they stay in-state by taking Dennard, the best corner in the draft.

11. Tennessee Titans
Ha-Ha Clinton-Dix
Safety, Alabama
A little bit of a reach here, but Tennessee has serious needs in the defensive backfield. Clinton-Dix, a playmaker with great range, would be an immediate upgrade at safety for the Titans.

12. New York Giants
Khalil Mack
Outside Linebacker, Buffalo
A big, strong outside linebacker, Khalil Mack can immediately start for a Giants defense that finished 14th against the run last year.

13. St. Louis Rams
Sammy Watkins
Wide Receiver, Clemson
Already having addressed the offensive line earlier in the round, the Rams can take a chance on a playmaking receiver with this pick. Sammy Watkins has all the tools to be a game-changer at the NFL level, and would make a great duo with last year’s first-round pick Tavon Austin.

14. Chicago Bears
Timmy Jernigan
Defensive Tackle, Florida State
A big, tough defensive tackle made to play in a 4-3 system, Timmy Jernigan is a great pick for the Bears at this spot in the draft.

15. Pittsburgh Steelers
Zack Martin
Offensive Tackle, Notre Dame
The Steelers have plenty of areas to address in the draft, but the offensive line has to the top priority.

16. Baltimore Ravens
Mike Evans
Wide Receiver, Texas A&M
Mike Evans might be one of the top players in the draft this year. He’s big and strong, with the makings of a great red-zone target. The Ravens are smart to grab him here.

17. Dallas Cowboys
Kony Ealy
Defensive End, Missouri
The Dallas Cowboys are always a mystery, and all bets are off when it comes to Jerry Jones and the draft, but their best bet would be to take Kony Ealy here to start right away on the defensive line.

18. New York Jets
C.J. Mosley
Linebacker, Alabama
The Jets would be thrilled if C.J. Mosley falls to them here. A versatile linebacker schooled in the 3-4, Mosley is a great fit for the Jets.

19. Miami Dolphins
Cyrus Kouandjio
Offensive Tackle, Alabama
The Dolphins spent plenty of money last year getting weapons for Ryan Tannehill, but never gave him enough help on the offensive line to keep him upright enough to find them downfield. The smart pick here would be Kouandjio, but don’t be shocked if they reach for a receiver instead.

20. Arizona Cardinals
Justin Gilbert
Cornerback, Oklahoma State
The Cardinals have a gaping hole at cornerback opposite Patrick Peterson. Justin Gilbert, a big corner at 6’0″ 200 lbs., has a game that can translate to the NFL right away.

21. Green Bay Packers
Louis Nix III
Defensive Tackle, Notre Dame
Not really a need pick here, but if Nix falls this far the Packers will have no choice but to take him.

22. Philadelphia Eagles
Calvin Pryor
Safety, Louisville
The Eagles biggest need is defensive back, but don’t be shocked if they grab a speedy receiver like Odell Beckham Jr. to showcase in Chip Kelly’s up-tempo offense.

23. Kansas City Chiefs
Marqise Lee
Wide Receiver, USC
Kansas City needs playmakers on offense, and Marqise Lee is a potential big play receiver.

24. Cincinnati Bengals
Ryan Shazier
Outside Linebacker, Ohio State
An NFL-ready outside linebacker, Ryan Shazier is a tackling machine waiting to happen.

25. San Diego Chargers
Marcus Roberson
Cornerback, Florida
The Chargers have needs all over the defense, but most pressing is the need for some help in the defensive backfield.

26. Cleveland Browns (from Indianapolis)
Odell Beckham, Jr
Wide Receiver, LSU
The Browns need someone reliable at receiver to go with Josh Gordon, and Odell Beckham Jr. would immediately be an upgrade in the slot for Cleveland.

27. New Orleans Saints
Jason Verrett
Cornerback, TCU
A solid corner who has the skills to start right away for New Orleans, Jason Verrett would be a great addition to a defense that showed drastic improvement last season.

28. Carolina Panthers
Eric Ebron
Tight End, North Carolina
A steal for the Panthers if he falls this far, Eric Ebron is the kind of big-play tight end the NFL loves to feature these days.

29. New England Patriots
Kelvin Benjamin
Wide Receiver, Florida State
It’s no secret the Patriots need receivers. Kelvin Benjamin has size and speed, he could be just what New England needs.

30. San Francisco 49ers
Ra’Shede Hageman
Defensive Tackle, Minnesota
The 49ers don’t really have a need on the defensive line, but if Hageman falls to them here they would have to take the big-bodied defensive lineman who impressed scouts at the senior bowl this year.

31. Denver Broncos
Stephon Tuitt
Defensive Tackle, Notre Dame
The Broncos offense is all set, but the defense could use work help. Tuitt would be a good addition to the defensive line.

32. Seattle Seahawks
David Yankey
Guard, Stanford
Protecting Russell Wilson is the most important need for the Seahawks, and David Yankey would immediately compete for a starting job in Seattle.

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