The clock is ticking. As of writing this updated mock draft for the Atlanta Falcons, there are 22 days until the first round of the NFL Draft. The memory of what could have been in Super Bowl 51 lingers in Hotlanta like your aunt’s sweet perfume. The Draft should go a long way toward helping this team find depth on defense and to write the wrongs of how New England stole one in Houston.
The additions of both nose tackle Dontari Poe and receiver Andre Roberts changed the draft strategy for this team. Defense is still the number one priority, but pass rushers are more in demand than fixing the interior of the line.
The Atlanta Falcons still may need another set of hands in the receiving corps, but Roberts’ addition does not make this an early round get.
Here is a look at the first four rounds of the draft, forecasted by yours truly.
Round 1, Pick 31 – Carl Lawson, Defensive End, Auburn
A fast-rising player on most draft boards. Lawson has the speed to play on the end or as a pass rushing linebacker.
I love the fact he is fast off the snap – faster than Teez Tabor. He might not be as tall as some scouts would like, but he is an intense pass rusher who helps makes the players around him better.
Lawson is quicker to the quarterback than his five career sacks would suggest, accelerating smoothly when he has a clear lane. Lawson’s power and balance show up in the running game.
Round 2, Pick 63 – Tyus Bowser, Linebacker, Houston
I’m sticking with this pick, mainly because it makes perfect sense.
Bowser is a ‘tweener who could play outside or work on the edge as a pass rusher. I like his size at 6-foot-3 and 247 pounds. He can cover a tight end off the line and pursue running backs in the middle of the field.
He also adds speed on the outside and would be a nice addition to the special teams unit. Bowser is one of those players who may move up draft boards as teams get closer to the Draft.
Round 3, Pick, 95 – Jake Butt, Tight End, Michigan
Butt is a solid pass catcher and can block on running plays. Few tight ends in this draft play harder. At 6-foot-5 and 247 pounds, he could stand to gain some weight, but that might slow down his speed and take away some of his agility. Butt was a four-year starter, including the past two seasons in Jim Harbaugh’s pro-style scheme, Butt was used all over the formation for the Wolverines and although he wasn’t the centerpiece.
He is solidly built and a precise route runner and most of all, he is another weapon for the Atlanta Falcons offense.
Round 4, Pick 135 – Jalen Reeves-Maybin, Linebacker, Tennessee
He is a player who may be better on the next level. A solid pass rusher who is better than his five career sacks in college would indicate. Another linebacker with speed to burn in the Atlanta Falcons defensive scheme.
Can spring quickly into action with bounce and explosion as lateral tackler from one gap to the next. Has coverage talent. Outstanding eyes. He can also play the middle or weak side in this defense.
Put him next to Deion Jones and see how much better he can be.