2023 Atlanta Falcons Mock Draft: what best player available looks like after the initial free agent rush

Jalen Carter explodes through the line to chase down C.J. Stroud
Jalen Carter explodes through the line to chase down C.J. Stroud / Steve Limentani/ISI Photos/GettyImages
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Trenton Simpson
Trenton Simpson (22) was a leader for Clemson's defense / Eakin Howard/GettyImages

Round 2, No. 44 overall: LB Trenton Simpson, Clemson

2022: 12 Games Played, 72 Tackles, 4.0 Tackles for Loss, 2.5 Sacks, 5 QB Hurries, 2 Fumbles Forced, 3 Pass Deflections
2021: 13 Games Played, 64 Tackles, 12.0 Tackles for Loss, 6.0 Sacks, 5 QB Hurries, 2 Pass Deflections
2020: 12 Games Played, 28 Tackles, 6.5 Tackles for Loss, 4.0 Sacks, 2 QB Hurries, 1 Fumble Forced

Continuing with the best player available theme, the Falcons take Trenton Simpson here. Simpson is a great linebacker from Clemson who fits in well with the Falcons' new defense under Ryan Nielsen.
He's solid in coverage but truly shines as both a run defender and blitzer who moves around the front seven. He's a freakish athlete who compares favorably to Ryan Shazier and has shown that he can cover a ton of ground quickly and would complement the current Falcons linebackers.

The Falcons would be able to add him to a unit that already has 2022 second-round pick Troy Andersen and veteran Mykal Walker as the presumptive starters. This pick would turn what was a weakness for the Falcons into a strength. Simpson and Andersen as the long-term starters with recent signing Kaden Elliss as the main three linebackers in 4-3 sets could allow Nielsen to run his defense as a heavy-blitzing, high-pressure one that should succeed in the NFC South.