Last week I looked at what the Atlanta Falcons might do with their 26th overall pick. This week I am extending that out to look at the strategy they might take in the first three rounds. Rather than just picking three players I would like to see the Falcons take I am going to look at a published mock draft. The mock draft I decided to use is the one published by walterfootball.com.
For a long time Walt actually agreed with the player I took in the Full Press Coverage mock, Taven Bryan. However, in his most recent mock he now has the Falcons selecting SMU’s wide receiver Courtland Sutton. Part of the reason for this is that he now has Bryan going number 20 overall to the Detroit Lions. However, interestingly he has Maurice Hurst going at number 32. Hurst is considered by some to be a better talent than Bryan and perhaps the best defensive tackle in the class. I have both Bryan and Hurst in the same tier and therefore if one was gone I would simply just choose the other.
If the Falcons did pivot and go Sutton they would be taking best player available rather than focusing on need. Sutton would be a good number two opposite Jones in that offense. Additionally, if Jones were to get inured then Sutton could be the number one with Sanu resuming his role as the number two.
Whichever direction the Falcons go with their first pick I am fairly confident they will address the other position in one of the first three rounds.
The walterfootball.com mock has Braden Smith, the guard out of Auburn, as the Falcons second pick. Had the Falcons not sign Brandon Fusco I definitely think the Falcons would have gone guard early. Now I am not so sure. If he falls, as many expect, my second round pick for the Falcons would be Arden Key, defensive end, LSU. Key has a ton of talent but off field issues and a slow start to 2017 have damaged his value. We saw last season for the Eagles and Jaguars how devastating a rotational pass rush can be and the Falcons have the chance to build themselves a good group. Putting Key together with Vic Beasley, Brooks Reed and Takkarist McKinley could be a fearsome foursome.
The back-up option here would to go for whichever position they don’t take in the first round. However, if Key is available then he will be the most talented player available at that pick and the Falcons would be crazy to pass up that kind of talent when he doesn’t have to be a starting piece in year one
If things fall the way I hope and the Falcons go wide receiver or defensive tackle in round one and get Key in round two then round three is where they get the position they passed up in round one. Walterfootball.com has Tim Settle, nose tackle, Virginia Tech as the pick here. However, I think Hurst or Bryan are the pick in round one so which receivers will be available? It would really come down to personal preference here. My preferences are Simmie Cobbs Jr.’s ability to win 50/50 balls or James Washington’s speed and comfort in a spread out passing offense.
Ultimately it will come to down to which position the Falcons believe has the depth. I like the depth of receiving options into the third round. It is also easier for third round receivers to make an impact than defensive tackles. However, the Falcons had success with Grady Jarrett in the third round and might believe they can find another gem. If Key doesn’t fall in the second I could see the Falcons going wide receiver/defensive tackle early. Then they would have the luxury to go best player available in round three when there might be nice value at other positions.