Atlanta Falcons: 2016 Seven-Round NFL Mock Draft
Oct 11, 2015; Atlanta, GA, USA; Atlanta Falcons head coach Dan Quinn leaves a defensive huddle in the second quarter of their game against the Washington Redskins at the Georgia Dome. Mandatory Credit: Jason Getz-USA TODAY Sports
The 2015 draft laid the foundation for coach Dan Quinn and his tenure in Atlanta. Selections of edge rusher Vic Beasley, DT Grady Jarrett and WR Justin Hardy, amongst others, added key pieces to the blueprint of Quinn’s remolding of the Falcons.
The 2016 NFL Draft holds equal importance and that’s not even mentioning that with only five picks, Quinn has to be precise with his selections. Today, I will take a crack at the selections and provide a mock draft for 2016. Let’s get started.
First round – Myles Jack, LB, UCLA – 6’1 230 lbs
September 5, 2015; Pasadena, CA, USA; Virginia Cavaliers running back Olamide Zaccheaus (33) runs the ball against the defense of UCLA Bruins linebacker Myles Jack (30) during the first half at the Rose Bowl. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports
It’s debatable that linebacker is the biggest need for the Falcons at the moment. Especially at the “Mike”/MLB spot. Although Jack may not be suited for the Mike spot, his athleticism is an absolute need for Quinn’s defense. A sideline to sideline freak of an athletic. While Carolina has Kuechly/Davis, Tampa with David/Alexander and New Orleans with Stephone Anthony, it’s time Atlanta has their elite, athletic linebacker.
More falcons: Top 20 games in Falcons history
Second round – Josh Doctson, WR, TCU – 6’3 200 lbs
Oct 29, 2015; Fort Worth, TX, USA; TCU Horned Frogs wide receiver Josh Doctson (9) runs with the ball during the game against the West Virginia Mountaineers at Amon G. Carter Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports
The release of WR Leonard Hankerson was clear evidence the Falcons are looking to improve their wide receivers corps. On top of that, the play of longtime Falcons wide-out Roddy White has been iffy at best as White has clearly shown his age. Third round receiver Justin Hardy has shown flashes of being a key player in the slot. Here is an injection of talent for the Falcons in the mold of a big body pass catcher to team with Hardy and Julio Jones in 2016.
Third round – Deon Bush, S, Miami – 6’1 206 lbs
Sep 13, 2014; Miami Gardens, FL, USA; Miami Hurricanes defensive back Deon Bush (2) tackles Arkansas State Red Wolves quarterback Fredi Knighten (9) during the second half at Sun Life Stadium. Miami won 41-20. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports
I’m quite confident that SS William Moore won’t return next season and the same could be said for FS Ricardo Allen. In Deon Bush, the defense gets even more athletic with the hard-hitting safety. One thing Bush can add as well is versatility as he has the ability to play free safety or strong safety. He provides a much better skill set in coverage than Moore.
Fourth round – Carl Lawson, DE , Auburn – 6’2 260 lbs
Nov 28, 2015; Auburn, AL, USA; Alabama Crimson Tide running back Derrick Henry (2) runs the ball as Auburn Tigers defensive lineman Carl Lawson (55) tackles during the third quarter at Jordan Hare Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Shanna Lockwood-USA TODAY Sports
The Falcons got a steal in the 2015 Draft when DT Grady Jarrett was still available it the fifth round. The same can happen here as Lawson has immense potential. Lawson has solid size, underrated pass rushing skills, and a habit to always find his way around the ball. DQ can have some fun with this guy.
Seventh round – Nate Sudfield, QB , Indiana – 6’6 235 lbs
Dec 26, 2015; Bronx, NY, USA; Indiana Hoosiers quarterback Nate Sudfeld (7) warms up prior to the game against the Duke Blue Devils in the 2015 New Era Pinstripe Bowl at Yankee Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports
A 2015 season that has seen ups and downs for QB Matt Ryan. His wishy-washy 2015 season has provoked most to think it may be time to groom a QB just in case Matty Ice doesn’t put this season behind him. Sudfield offers solid potential at this point with good size and a very good arm. Sudfield may not be needed in 2016 but to draft a guy like this and stash him may be worth it.