Look, folks, let’s be clear.
Mock drafts are dumb.
At any point, at any time, mock drafts are stupid. They are baseless predictions that only come true if the fit is obvious/the news is already out there. Los Angeles taking Jared Goff last year? Obvs. You get no points for mocking that.
But then, the other 31 picks are just kind of there and make no sense to predict. But, we do it anyway. Why? Because they’re enjoyable. And they pass the time.
I have no clue what the Falcons will do in late April. No idea whatsoever. But, I’m going to do a mock draft anyway. Why? Because I like to. So, y’know, yeah.
And no, I’m not going to project them taking a cornerback. That ain’t me, man.
ROUND 1 – DT Caleb Brantley – Florida
This one ain’t original by any means, but it makes a lot of sense at this point.
Brantley is a Florida guy and is projected to be a late first/early second round pick. Dan Quinn recruited him while he was at Florida. Reading his NFL.com draft profile, he sounds like he’d be a perfect scheme fit for what Atlanta is trying to do on the defensive line. The pro-comp is Aaron Donald.
Read his strengths section from that piece: “Compact frame with lean muscle mass and thickness in his arms and legs. Has tremendous play strength and can dislodge guards with hip torque. Plays hungry and with passion. Able to plant his flag and stand his ground against double teams. When he gets the snap timed up, it’s over. Has the initial quickness and play strength to get into the gap and plow through any and all redirect block attempts. Wants blocker to feel the power in his initial punch. Works off blocks and towards the play. Better pass rusher talent than sack total would indicate. Quick punch and pry opens blockers’ edge allowing him to wedge into the pocket. Efficient mover with no wasted motion. Considers one-on-one blocks a sign of disrespect.”
Yeah, I have a feeling this guy might actually be the pick in April. So, this might be the first time I feel confident with a mock draft pick in February…if ever.
So, get your Brantley jerseys ready. ‘Cuz you know this one’s coming. And good! I want a guy who considers one-on-one blocks a sigh of disrespect.
ROUND 2 – DE Tarell Basham – Ohio
The Falcons like athletes and versatility. Ohio DE Tarell Basham has both. He’s a small-school guy who might be one of those diamond in the rough types. And, he’s likely got a chip on his shoulder coming from a smaller program.
CBS compared him to Seattle’s Cassius Marsh. I got very excited when I read that. Cassius Marsh is a nasty man. He’s a scrappy, do-damage pass rusher, and if Basham has that ability in him, then sign me up. They also say he’s a great locker room guy and has an infectious attitude. Sounds like a Quinn guy to me.
I like these first two rounds – adds some meat to the defensive line.
ROUND 3 – OLB Alex Anzalone – Florida
ROUND 4 – WR Josh Malone – Tennessee
ROUND 5 – ILB Jayon Brown – UCLA
ROUND 7 – DT Patrick Gamble – Georgia Tech
Anzalone is athletic and was a Quinn recruit, and there’s a need at outside linebacker. So, easy fit there.
For Malone, stick with me. The Falcons need to keep their receiver pool stocked with talent to keep their high-power offense going. Malone was a great deep threat at UT, and there’s no guarantee that Aldrick Robinson will be back next season. Might be worth grabbing him as the new WR5.
Brown is another athletic guy who has ties to the coaching staff with Jeff Ulbrich.
As for Gamble, I had them taking a defensive lineman in the seventh to add competition for training camp, and he’s a local guy, so why not. They may be able to get a close look at him at their local pro day.
I like that class a lot, actually. Brantley, Basham and Anzalone can be early contributors and two of them are very familiar with Quinn after having him as their DC early in their respective Florida careers. Malone could fill in for Robinson – an underrated important part of the roster. Brown would be a good depth guy, and Gamble would be depth competition at the defensive tackle position – could also be a good PS guy.
So, there you have it. The most inconsequential thing you’ll read all day. Go call your mom or something, or recycle. Just don’t look at anymore mock drafts. It’s February. Have some dignity.