With each “the Falcons should piece” argument, we will be posting a full seven round mock draft based on those arguments. Each mock has been run using the Pro Football Network’s mock draft simulator. Read the case to trade down here.
Round 1 – Pick 4: TRADE TO NEW ENGLAND
Opting to capitalise on the quarterback frenzy, as well as add some vital capital, both in 2021 and 2022, the Atlanta Falcons accept an offer to trade down with the New England Patriots. The Falcons give up picks 4 and 109, in favour of picks 15, 46, as well as a first rounder in 2022. With that additional early round pick, the Falcons are in a position to select a premier talent, while, crucially, remaining in the top 15 of the 2021 draft. They also gain a first round pick in 2022, which could easily be packaged to move up in that draft, depending on how 2021 shakes out.
Round 1 – Pick 15: Gregory Rousseau, EDGE, Miami
With the top 4 quarterback prospects off the board (New England picked Justin Fields with their new number 4), Atlanta elects to add a potential game-changer to their defense with Gregory Rousseau. As we’ve previously established, Rousseau sat out of the 2020 season, which has resulted in his stock dipping slightly. Had he played, however, there’s every chance he would be a consensus top 10 pick, possibly pushing top 5. Rousseau’s knack for getting to the quarterback is something the Falcons have lacked for a while, and he will start day one. In all the trade seemed to work out quite well.
Round 2 – Pick 35: Mac Jones, QB, Alabama
There’s not a great deal more to be said about Mac Jones that wasn’t said in the Offensive Lineman focused mock draft, but this really is an excellent scenario for Atlanta. The Falcons gain a player with the potential to become a top end quarterback, gaining an additional second round pick, and a future first rounder, in the process. Jones will sit behind Ryan in 2021, and have the opportunity to compete for the starting position in 2022. Of course, based on the buzz surrounding this years quarterback class, it remains to be seen whether Jones will make it out of the top 10, let alone the first round!
Round 2 – Pick 46: Asante Samuel Jr, CB, Florida State
Like Mac Jones, Asante Samuel Jr was taken in the second round of a previous mock. Also like Mac Jones, Samuel Jr is someone the Falcons should be very excited about. Capable of playing on the outside on day one, Asante Samuel Jr will be an excellent compliment to A.J. Terrell. With a pair of young cornerbacks with exceptional ability, the Atlanta Falcons have as exciting a CB1/2 pair since Desmond Trufant and Robert Alford.
Round 3 – Pick 68: Carlos Basham Jr, EDGE, Wake Forest
Atlanta’s pass rush has been so bad, the urge to double dip at the position is too great. Paired with Gregory Rousseau, Carlos Basham Jr will join a defensive front desperate for players capable of getting to the quarterback. On a shortened 2020, Basham Jr logged a total of 5 sacks, down from the 11.5 he registered the season prior. Nevertheless, he has considerable upside, and would be a more than capable contributor on day one. Should he develop in the way many thought he might coming out of 2019, Basham Jr has the potential to be a very consistent defensive end, something the Falcons have lacked for a while.
Having sent pick 109 to New England, Atlanta have 5 allocated picks on day three. Three in round 5, and two in round 6. With that in mind, here are the remaining picks on the final day:
- Pick 149: Chuba Hubbard, RB, Oklahoma State
- Pick 179: Robert Hainsey, OG, Notre Dame
- Pick 182: Tyler Vaughns, WR, USC
- Pick 187: Derrick Barnes, LB, Purdue
- Pick 218: Kylen Granson, TE, SMU
Having spent time looking at Chuba Hubbard, Robert Hainsey, and Kylen Granson already during this series, let’s see what Tyler Vaughns and Derrick Barnes can bring to the Falcons.
Tyler Vaughns is an interesting case, because he doesn’t necessarily possess the traits of a deep-ball specialist, nor that of a designated slot receiver. What Atlanta would be getting is someone who isn’t overly quick, nor is he particularly great at creating separation. What he lacks in those departments, he makes up for with exceptional hands, and an ability to win 50/50 balls at an alarming rate. Imagine what Mohamed Sanu brought to the Falcons, and that’s the sort of player you could expect, should he develop as expected. A steady addition late in the draft.
Derrick Barnes has the makings of a depth contributor, rather than someone with starter potential, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. Lacking the versatility to become much more than a situation rusher, Barnes broke out in 2019 with 7.5 sacks. While he struggled in 2020 (who didn’t?), it’s difficult to imagine him raising his relatively low ceiling at the next level. He makes up for that with a tenacious style of play that could impress coaches enough to help him develop.