Atlanta Falcons Address Defensive Weaknesses in Mock Draft
By Joe Carlino
Round Seven (225th, 226th, and 246th overall): Elijah Higgins, WR (Stanford); Mohamoud Diabate, LB (Utah); Anthony Bradford, OG (LSU)
Usually in the sixth and seventh rounds, teams who select here are looking for the proverbial "camp body", but every so often there's a diamond in that rough. That's not to say any of these three will turn out to be such, but they all have their own tendencies that could cause the Falcons to look at them if they're available.
Let's start with Higgins, who went to one of the most reputable universities in terms of academia, Stanford. Lest we forget, this school has provided the NFL with players like CMC, Andrew Luck, and Richard Sherman, so that shows enough. Higgins is the prime size for a good slot receiver at 6-foot-3, and his 4.54 40 does showcase a good crossing speed, which in Arthur Smith's offense could bode well for targets. If he can be willing to learn how to block, the Falcons could find a great young threat in the seventh round.
With Diabate, like Abdullah before him, he was yet another four-star recruit that played well for a team like the Utes, but he transferred there from Florida prior. He likes to engage with offensive linemen and even attempted to play man coverage for both collegiate programs he was a part of. However, his inability to recognize the play action and zone coverage could come back to haunt him at the NFL level, so Atlanta getting him in the seventh might be the most ideal spot for him.
Finally, the Falcons attempt to address the offensive line once more with Bradford, and honestly, if he can work with last year's late round guard in Justin Shaffer, then Atlanta would finally have the reason to cut the worst pick in recent years, Jalen Mayfield, and finally address the left guard position. With Bradford being another pulling guard, his ability to work in the running game could assist Jake Matthews on the left side and Drew Dalman/Matt Hennessy on any runs up the middle. Furthermore, his power is raved upon by NFL scouts, so if he can slide in as a late round gem, maybe the Falcons will have their successor to Todd McClure at the position next to where the "Mud Duck" made his name?