Atlanta Falcons 2017 Draft: Roundtable Mock Draft First Round

Mar 4, 2017; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Youngstown defensive end Derek Rivers speaks to the media during the 2017 combine at Indiana Convention Center. Mandatory Credit: Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports
Mar 4, 2017; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Youngstown defensive end Derek Rivers speaks to the media during the 2017 combine at Indiana Convention Center. Mandatory Credit: Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports /

The NFL schedule has officially been released, and the draft is right around the corner. Despite the fact that the regular season doesn’t start until September, the NFL still gives us headlines in April, none bigger than the draft.

Falcons fans no doubt can’t wait to get back into the swing of things after witnessing a Super Bowl berth for just the second time in franchise history. Another great draft class could be what puts the birds over the top this year.

We’re all another year older, another year wiser, and hopefully another year closer to a Falcons Super Bowl title. The tradition of the Blogging Dirty writers’ roundtable mock draft will continue for a third consecutive year.

You can see last year’s mock draft here: Round 1, Round 2, Round 3, Round 4, Round 7.

The rules of this mock are simple: the writer will select the player he would take if he were the Falcons’ general manager. His selection must be a player whom he thinks will realistically be available at the time of Atlanta’s pick. To keep this mock draft from getting too convoluted, we’ll assume that the Falcons won’t make any trades.

Each day another round will be documented in the lead up to the draft. Today is Round 1.

Matt Karoly

DE. Kansas State. Jordan Willis. 31. player. 44. Jordan Willis recorded one of the historically great combines ever for a pass rusher in NFL history. While he did not always flash his athleticism on tape, most of that can be attributed to the scheme he played in at Kansas State. Off the field, Willis has a squeaky clean resume and is known as a film junkie and diligent worker. With hands-on coaching from Dan Quinn and continued mentorship from Hall of Fame guard Will Shields, the 2016 Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year has the makeup to be a good pro for a long time.

Adnan Ikic

Derek Rivers. 31. player. 44. I don’t think that big names such as Taco Charlton and Forrest Lamp will be available at pick 31 so I have the Falcons ignoring draft projection and selecting a player that will fit the scheme, for a second straight year. Rivers did everything he could at an FCS School (52.0 tackles for loss and 36.0 sacks in three years), and will bring size, versatility and athleticism opposite Vic Beasley to help further propel Atlanta’s pass rush.. DE. Youngstown State

Eric Robinson

The Falcons could use an edge rusher along with Vic Beasley to attack opposing quarterbacks. There is a void at right guard with Chris Chester retiring and Western Kentucky’s Forrest Lamp is high on the list for the Falcons. I personally feel that Lamp will be on another team by the time the Falcons on the clock. So the Falcons grab an athletic rusher in Rivers who brings solid size (6’4 248 lbs) and excellent athleticism.. DE. Youngstown State. Derek Rivers. 31. player. 44

Carter Breazeale

player. 44. I still think that there’s a convincing argument for Atlanta to trade out of the first round here, and acquire an extra pick that they surrendered in the Andy Levitre deal. But for the sake of keeping it simple, Atlanta uses its 31st pick on defensive end Derek Rivers.<p>The FCS pass-rush virtuoso has been rocketing up scout draft boards and generating an increasing amount of chatter in analyst hype circles. One of the quicker edge-rushing prospects in 2017, Rivers possesses superb footwork and exceptional body control and bend, scoring in the 90th percentile in the 3-cone drill at the 2017 NFL Scouting Combine.</p><p>Pairing Derek Rivers with Vic Beasley would immediately provide the Falcons with one of the fastest and most athletic young fronts in the league. The Beasley-Rivers duo bookending the line will prove a daunting task for opposing offensive tackles for years to come.</p><p>Atlanta demonstrated last year that they will not shy away from taking “their guy” a bit early. If they don’t trade out of the first to secure Rivers in the early second round, expect them to take him with their first pick.</p>. DE. Youngstown State. Derek Rivers. 31

Sinjin Snope

44. The Falcons have an obvious need at pass rusher opposite of reigning sack king Vic Beasley. Takk is a versatile player that can play EDGE and he can step in and be very effective in Dan Quinn’s defense. His biggest strength is his freakish athletic ability (ran a 4.59 40-yard dash) and that’s something the Falcons seem to covet on the defensive side of the ball. It’s a scary to imagine him opposite of Vic Beasley, and that’s great news for Atlanta.. DE/OLB. UCLA. Takkarist McKinley. 31. player

Jeremy Riggs

I’ve been back and forward on this one. Barnett, Willis, Taco, McDowell, Reddick are all guys that I really like in this spot as well, the problem is I think all of them will be gone. Part of me even thinks that Rivers would be gone. It’s no secret that Atlanta needs a guy opposite of Vic Beasley on the edges to create havoc. However, the glory of the Falcons defense is, Quinn is all about rotation. So it can afford to take a guy who won’t jump right in and get 12+ sacks. With Clayborn, Reed, etc on the edge as well, Rivers would fit in nicely rotationally as he hones his craft and technique. He has the motor, and he has a lot of faith which is something he shares with Beasley. I think these two guys would get along and compliment each other very very well. And for the stats lovers out there: How does 35 sacks, 52 tackles for loss, and 160 total tackles over the last 3 years sound? Some may downplay him because of the competition, but I can’t do it. He’d be a solid pickup.. DE. Youngstown State. Derek Rivers. 31. player. 44

Randy Gurzi

S. Connecticut. Obi Melifonwu. 31. player. 44. While getting a right guard would be ideal the best option — Western Kentucky’s Forrest Lamp — will be long gone. A defensive end would be good too, but in such a deep class they can probably find a starter in round two or later even. What they won’t find past round one is a safety with the combination of size (6-foot-4, 224-pounds) and range (4.40 seconds in the 40-yard dash) that Obi Melifonwu possesses. Taking a safety in round one back-to-back years may not be ideal, but pairing him with 2016 first round pick Keanu Neal would give Atlanta one of the best safety duos in the entire league.

Erik Sandelin

Western Kentucky. Forrest Lamp. 31. player. 44. Plug n’ play starter from Day One to replace Chris Chester.. OG

Next: The Morning Fix: Atlanta Falcons looking to move up?