We are now just five days from the start of the actual 2018 NFL Draft, and we’ve gotten nearly to the end of Round 1. We’re not going to make it all the way through Round 1, but hey. . .who cares? We’re going to make it to pick #30, which is the only first round pick that really matters at this point.
Let’s review how the last five selections have gone.
22. Buffalo Bills (from Kansas City Chiefs) - Leighton Vander Esch, LB, Boise State
24. Carolina Panthers - Josh Jackson, CB, Iowa
25. Tennessee Titans - Marcus Davenport, DE, Texas-San Antonio
That brings us to pick #26, which is held by the Atlanta Falcons. Let’s take a look at what they’ve done this offseason.
2017 record: 10-6 (3rd place, NFC South)
OL Brandon Fusco (free agent signing), DB Tyson Graham (free agent signing), TE Logan Paulsen (free agent signing), DT Garrison Smith (free agent signing), DT Justin Zimmer (free agent signing)
DE Adrian Clayborn (signed with New England), WR Taylor Gabriel (signed with Chicago), DT Dontari Poe (signed with Carolina), WR Andre Roberts (signed with New York Jets)
Defensive tackle - Grady Jarrett is emerging as a big-time force on the inside, but the Falcons lost Dontari Poe in free agency, and the Falcons could look to this year’s defensive tackle class to fill his spot. They also lost Adrian Clayborn, and since you can’t have enough pass rushers in this league, the Falcons could go in that direction as well.
Guard - The Falcons have one of the best centers in the NFL in Alex Mack, but their guards struggled in 2017. Andy Levitre missed much of the season with an injury, and he just restructured his deal to reduce his cap hit, but the Falcons need someone that can step in and fill the other guard spot, where the current crop of players haven’t inspired much confidence.
Running back - This is certainly not the Falcons’ biggest need or anything, as they have a very good 1-2 punch in Devonta Freeman and Tevin Coleman. However, Coleman’s contract is coming up soon, and Freeman is starting to develop quite an injury history (particularly in terms of concussions).
Wide receiver - With Taylor Gabriel having departed for Chicago, the Falcons could use a solid slot option to complement Julio Jones and Mohamed Sanu. They also lost Andre Roberts, so if they could find a guy that could double as a return man, that would be ideal.
Taven Bryan, DT, Florida - We’ve seen a few defensive tackles come off of the board thus far, and Bryan is the next one on the list. Bryan is actually a name that’s becoming more connected to the Falcons in recent weeks, so it sounds like he’s definitely an option here.
Derrius Guice, RB, Louisiana State - If the Falcons want to give themselves a guy that would be a solid complement to either Coleman or Freeman, Guice is someone they could consider. He’s a violent, powerful runner that could be a very solid half of a platoon going forward depending on how the Falcons handle their current backs.
Will Hernandez, G, Texas-El Paso - With the Falcons set at center for the immediate future, they don’t need a guy like Billy Price that they can flex around the interior. What they could use is a pure guard like Hernandez that can go out and maul people.
Christian Kirk, WR, Texas A&M - With the Falcons in need of a slot option and a guy that can return kicks, Kirk would appear to be a solid fit. He was an elite return man in college, and would immediately step in and be the Falcons’ #3 receiver.
Harold Landry, DE, Boston College - Landry is a guy that played both standing up and with his hand in the dirt for Boston College. He had a huge 2016 season, posting 16.5 sacks, and while he didn’t put up numbers like that in 2017, he is viewed as a potentially special pass rusher at the NFL level.
That’s a look at the Atlanta Falcons. Tomorrow we’ll be back with their NFC South rivals, the New Orleans Saints.
With the twenty-sixth pick in the 2018 Daily Norseman Community Mock Draft, the Atlanta Falcons (should) select ____________
This poll is closed
Taven Bryan, DT, Florida
Derrius Guice, RB, LSU
Will Hernandez, G, UTEP
Christian Kirk, WR, Texas A&M
Harold Landry, DE, Boston College