Jan 1, 2015; Tampa, FL, USA; Auburn Tigers quarterback Nick Marshall (14) during the first half in the 2015 Outback Bowl at Raymond James Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
The 2015 NFL Draft is now only two days away. All of us here at Blogging Dirty are bursting with excitement to learn who the new additions to the Atlanta Falcons will be.
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In the meantime, we realized that each of us had differing ideas on who we thought the Falcons should target in each round and why. What better way to voice our opinions and pass the time until the real draft than by having our very own Blogging Dirty Writers’ Mock Draft?
The Writers’ Mock Draft works like this: each writer will make their pick for the Falcons in each round, based upon who they believe will be available and their perception of the team’s needs. They will then provide a short summary of the pick to explain the reasoning behind it.
This mock assumes no trades, and that the Falcons will be picking based on the official draft order. Let’s get drafting!
In the 7th round, most teams are looking for players with potential to become depth and that have a good chance of making an NFL roster. From time to time, players fall because of injury or character concerns, and the 7th is a good time to pick up some of the more risky project players. There are plenty of solid selections left at this point in the draft, so let’s see who our writers think can make a difference for the Falcons.
In case you’ve missed the previous rounds, here they are:
Round 1, Round 2, Round 3, Round 4, Round 5, and Round 6.
Keep in mind, the Falcons have two picks in this round. Who did our writers select with the Falcons’ seventh round picks? Let’s find out!
Previous Picks: Round 1 – OLB Randy Gregory; Round 2 – ILB Stephone Anthony; Round 3 – FS Damarious Randall; Round 4 – G Jarvis Harrison; Round 5 – RB Karlos Williams; Round 6 – TE Wes Saxton
Georgia. DeAndre Smelter. 225. player. 44. I realize this is the third different round Smelter has been selected in (he’s been taken in the 5th and 6th rounds of this mock), but I feel like the depth of this WR class will push him into the late 6th/early 7th. Smelter is easily a 4th round talent when healthy, but the ACL tear will scare some teams off. The Falcons need to find an eventual successor to Roddy White, and Smelter fits the bill perfectly. He’s got great size at 6’2, 226, and is a tough, physical receiver with great hands. Smelter is dynamic after the catch and uses his frame to box out smaller or less athletic defenders. His route running is raw, and there are concerns about his ability to create separation at the next level. But in the 7th round, you won’t find much better value than DeAndre Smelter.. WR
44. The Falcons need depth in the secondary, and they need to find someone that can be a long-term option at the nickel spot. Imoan Claiborne has been a favorite late-round selection of mine, and although his stock has been rising of late, the Falcons could get a bargain if he lasts this long. He’s an outside CB in the body of a nickel CB, with the coverage skills to line up against dynamic receivers but not the size. Claiborne is best in press-cover situations, and he’s a physical player who can help out in run support and as a gunner on special teams. He can get a bit grabby downfield and his long speed is questionable, but Claiborne has all the makings of a solid nickel CB in the NFL.. CB. Northwestern State. Imoan Claiborne. 249. player
Previous Picks: Round 1 – OLB Randy Gregory; Round 2 – FS Derron Smith; Round 3 – G Tre’ Jackson; Round 4 – RB David Johnson; Round 5 – DE Lynden Trail; Round 6 – WR Dezmin Lewis
Marshall has the ability to play CB. An elusive player with good vision who also possesses fluidity and acceleration. The next example of Quinn molding a diamond in the rough.. CB. Auburn. Nick Marshall. 225. player. 44
T. Oklahoma. Tyrus Thompson. 249. player. 44. Played left tackle at OU but possesses right tackle skills. Long arms and a broad frame.
Previous Picks: Round 1 – DE/OLB Bud Dupree; Round 2 – RB Ameer Abdullah; Round 3 – TE Clive Walford; Round 4 – DT Gabe Wright; Round 5 – G/T Chaz Green; Round 6 – WR DeAndre Smelter
player. 44. Tray Walker has received lots of interest from many teams around the league despite being a small school player. It’s possible Walker falls into the seventh, but based on how many visits he has received, it may take a 6th round pick to snag a CB with his potential. Standing at 6’2”, he has perfect long build for a Dan Quinn CB. He’s a raw prospect, but he already has the ability to disrupt receivers at the line of scrimmage, and he possesses great ball skills and hands. If beat though, Walker lacks the necessary speed to make up for it. Tray Walker has relied on his size to win up until this point, but under the tutelage of Raheem Morris and Desmond Trufant, he has loads of potential to be great.. CB. Texas Southern. Tray Walker. 225
249. player. 44. This is player that I’m surprised hasn’t received more interest. Akeem King came away from his Pro Day measuring in at 6’1”, running the 40 yard dash in 4.43 seconds, and benching 20 reps. Those are some very good measurables for a safety. This is a player that can be molded into the ideal Free Safety in Dan Quinn’s defense. The odds would be against him as a 7th round selection, but there is no denying that he is a physically gifted specimen. If Dezmen Southward does end up making the switch to CB for the Falcons, Akeem King could come in and be a safety of the future.. FS. San Jose State. Akeem King
Previous Picks: Round 1 – OLB Randy Gregory; Round 2 – TE Maxx Williams; Round 3 – CB Alex Carter; Round 4 – G Arie Kouandjio; Round 5 – ILB Bryce Hager; Round 6 – DE Ray Drew
Zach Zenner. 225. player. 44. The Falcons need another backup running back after letting Jacquizz Rodgers go in free agency. Small school Zach Zenner is their man in the 7th. He’s a physical running back who Atlanta will be able to use in an attempt to spell Devonta Freeman. Zenner has some decent speed (4.5 40 time), good size, and is good at getting through the hole in a hurry. The fact that he’s a small school guy will hurt his stock, but he rushed for over 2000 yards for three straight years in the FCS, and was excellent against top competition: had 103 yards (6.1 yards per carry) and two TDs against Missouri in 2014, and 202 yards along with two TDs against Nebraska in 2013. This would be a steal in the 7th round.. RB. South Dakota State
249. player. 44. Varga is a running back who converted to fullback. Atlanta hasn’t had decent production out of the fullback position since Ovie Mughelli retired, and will give Varga a chance to stake his claim for it. He’s a tough, muscular player with strong legs and big hands like that of an offensive lineman. He’s good at catching the ball out of the backfield, but would need some help learning to use his hands in pass protection. If he can learn that (and he’s willing), then he’d give Patrick Dimarco a run for the starting fullback spot.. FB. Yale. Tyler Varga
Previous Picks: Round 1 – DE/OLB Bud Dupree; Round 2 – CB/FS Eric Rowe; Round 3 – C/G Ali Marpet; Round 4 – WR Tre McBride; Round 5 – TE MyCole Pruitt; Round 6 – RB Synjyn Days
Norfolk State. Lynden Trail. 225. player. 44. I went four straight picks on offense and not defense and mainly because the prospects I kept facing just didn’t wow me as opposed to offense. This however changes with Lynden Trail. Trail is a raw prospect with the natural ability to be amazing. And I’m talking situational pass rusher/sleeper pick. He would immediately be a gunner on our team but has the ability to play OLB or DE with us. At the very worst, he’s a situational pass rusher that gets a couple sacks a season.. DE
Iowa. Louis Trinca-Pasat. 249. player. 44. A good overall aggressive DT. His motor alone will probably make him a higher pick but, he doesn’t have the size that people look for. Still, he’s an interesting prospect that could become a pretty good backup overall. I know there’s a lot of small school prospects here but, that’s because I believe in production over potential. Even if that is against lesser talent. However, I do believe with this draft, we find small gems everywhere that could improve all three phases of football.. DT
Previous Picks: Round 1 – CB Trae Waynes; Round 2 – OLB Eli Harold; Round 3 – RB Jeremy Langford; Round 4 – G Mitch Morse; Round 5 – FB Jalston Fowler; Round 6 – ILB Ramik Wilson
225. player. 44. With their first pick in the 7th round the Falcons select Darryl Baldwin. He knows how to block the zone scheme coming from the spread offense Ohio State ran, he is very strong and fluid tackle.. T. Ohio State. Darryl Baldwin
Mario Alford. 249. player. 44. Fast, athletic receiver from West Virginia. The Falcons need some competition at the slot receiver position. He will provide that and tons of speed.. WR. West Virginia
Previous Picks: Round 1 – OLB Randy Gregory; Round 2 – C/G Ali Marpet; Round 3 – DE Nate Orchard; Round 4 – S Durell Eskridge; Round 5 – RB David Cobb; Round 6 – TE Wes Saxton
Virginia Tech. Kyshoen Jarrett. 225. player. 44. With two picks in the seventh round, the Falcons should look to add athletic, high ceiling guys. Despite the team’s poor play in 2014, filling needs with seventh rounders is not advisable, so these should be projects. With that in mind, I’ve taken<br />SS Kyshoen Jarrett from Virginia Tech. Jarrett is a hard nosed, aggressive safety, and may fit as a tweener LB/S in certain packages. Limited in coverage, Jarrett sees the ball carrier and sells out for him, sometimes overcommitting. Leading the Combine in bench press reps and the 3 cone drill may help his stock, but he should be there for the Falcons.. SS
WR. Rice. Jordan Taylor. 249. player. 44. Taylor stands 6’5”, and ran a 4.5 40 yard. He is a project pick, but with the size and ability to gain some more muscle, Taylor shows enough outside the numbers that he could help soften the transition once Roddy White retires. You get what you get in the seventh round, and as such its understandable that Taylor is not strong enough for the NFL. However, around the goalline and after a few seasons in the weight room, Taylor’s speed and ability to cover the field with long strides means he’s probably worth the risk.
Previous Picks: Round 1 – OLB Randy Gregory; Round 2 – CB Jalen Collins; Round 3 – C/G Ali Marpet; Round 4 – RB Mike Davis; Round 5 – WR DeAndre Smelter; Round 6 – DT Tory Slater
T. Iowa. Andrew Donnal. 225. player. 44. Playing at Iowa, he has a lot of experience with zone blocking opposite Scherff. Similarly to him, he’s a better run blocker than he is a pass blocker. Donnal is a technician which makes up for his less than ideal athleticism. With experience at guard and tackle, he has the makings of a good backup.
249. player. 44. Pullard has been a tackle machine for USC and moves well showing good closing speed to the ball. He’s not great at handling blockers coming to the second level so needs to be kept clean but his angles and tackling ability are good. He’s also well known for his leadership which is never a bad thing to have and adds competition to a weak MLB position.. ILB. USC. Hayes Pullard
Previous Picks: Round 1 – DE/OLB Bud Dupree; Round 2 – CB Kevin Johnson; Round 3 – RB Ameer Abdullah; Round 4 – CB Steven Nelson; Round 5 – ILB Mike Hull; Round 6 – WR Darren Waller
The Falcons need to develop a pass rush. Cedric Reed brings good size at 6’5″ and 269 pounds. He has some athleticism despite his huge size. Consistency is the biggest concern, but he would provide the Falcons with raw talent they can work with, and would have a chance to develop his game under Dan Quinn. He finished his four years in Texas with 173 tackles, 18.5 sacks and eight pass defenses.. DE. Texas. Cedric Reed. 225. player. 44
Michael Orakpo. 249. player. 44. Atlanta can add another developmental prospect to their pass-rushing corps. The 6’1″, 232-pound Michael Orakpo finished his two years in Texas with 76 tackles (11 for a loss), 5.5 sacks, three defended passes and three forced fumbles. Orakpo only played one game in 2014 due to an ACL tear he suffered in a game against Navy Midshipmen. Providing he returns to full health in 2015, he has the raw talent and can become another pass-rusher to develop in the Falcons’ defensive rebuild.. OLB. Texas State
Previous Picks: Round 1 – DE/OLB Bud Dupree; Round 2 – FS Damarious Randall; Round 3 – WR Tre McBride; Round 4 – RB David Cobb; Round 5 – CB Justin Coleman; Round 6 – C/G Shaquille Mason
TE. Louisville. Gerald Christian. 225. player. 44. Gerald Christian seems to be a decent player, with good technique, abilities, and athleticism. He still needs to work on his blocking to have a role at the next level.
player. 44. Chi Chi Ariguzo plays fast and physical. He could definitely be a Dan Quinn type of player. The linebacker is also able to cover tight ends decently, and displays great athleticism. Although he needs to put in a lot of work on improving his technique, Ariguzo is a perfect developmental player who could have an impact in the NFL with efficient coaching.. LB. Northwestern. Chi Chi Ariguzo. 249
As is expected this late in the draft, there was a lot of variety in the final picks. There were a lot of positions selected, including TE, LB, RB/FB, WR, DE, T, CB, and S. No two writers ended up picking the same prospects, proving how many quality choices there should be for the Falcons at the conclusion of Day 3.
Round 7 seems to have bucked the trend of offense-heavy late rounds, with nine
offensive players taken to 11 defensive players selected. The secondary was the area that was addressed most commonly, with five total picks (three CB, two S). WR and T were also popular selections, with each position receiving three picks each.
This late in the draft, teams are looking for players that can come in and compete for a roster spot, or that they can stash on the practice squad to develop. Generally, these players will become your core special teamers and your rotational depth. It’s rare, but occasionally you can find a starter quality player in the 7th round or UDFA.
The Falcons have actually done well in this regard, with several 7th rounders and UDFAs contributing early on. In 2014, Kemal Ishmael (7th) and Paul Worrilow (UDFA) each played a large amount of snaps on defense for Atlanta.
That’s it for the Blogging Dirty Writers’ Mock Draft. We hope you’ve enjoyed reading it as much as we enjoyed putting it together. Stay tuned in the next few days for more draft coverage, as we get closer to finding out (at long last) who the Falcons 2015 draft class will be!
What do you think about the Round 7 picks? Is offense or defense more important to you at this point in the draft? Are there any priority UDFAs that you think the Falcons should pick up?
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