Final Mock Draft: Ryan Mallett is dropping like a lead rock

Arkansas' Ryan Mallet drop to the second round of the draft.  (AJC photo by Brant Sanderlin)

Arkansas' Ryan Mallet drop to the second round of the draft. (AJC photo by Brant Sanderlin)

UPDATED — To reflect Von Miller moving up to the No. 2 and Marcell Dareus moving down to No. 3. 9:32 a.m.

BIRDLAND – Here’s the final Mock Draft.

If the Falcons retain the 27th pick in the first round of the NFL draft, they should be on the clock around 11 p.m. Thursday.

While their options likely will include Miami cornerback Brandon Harris, Arizona defensive end Brooks Reed, Maryland wide receiver Torrey Smith and Mississippi State tackle Derek Sherrod, look for them to select UCLA defensive end/linebacker Akeem Ayers.

Here’s a look at The Atlanta Journal-Constitution’s final 2011 mock draft.

1. Carolina: Cam Newton, QB, Auburn. Newton will get a chance to join the elite quarterbacks of the NFC South in New Orleans’ Drew Brees, the Falcons’ Matt Ryan and the up-and-coming Josh Freeman in Tampa Bay.

2. Denver: Von Miller, LB, Texas A&M. Word leaking out of Denver is that John Fox loves Miller. He could be a force rushing opposite of Elvis Dumervil.

3. Buffalo: Marcell Dareus, DT, Alabama. The Bills gave up 169.6 yards rushing last season, which was last (32nd) in the league. Dareus would have an immediate impact at improve that number.

4. Cincinnati: A.J. Green, WR, Georgia. The Bengals are re-tooling at receiver, and Green and Jordan Shipley would make a nice tandem.

5. Arizona: Blaine Gabbert, QB, Missouri. Cardinals coach Ken Whisenhunt was intensely studying Newton at Auburn’s Pro Day, but will hitch his offense to Gabbert.

6. Cleveland: Julio Jones, WR, Alabama. The Browns have to surround quarterback Colt McCoy with some weapons.

7. San Francisco: Patrick Peterson, CB, LSU. The 49ers are looking for secondary help.

8. Tennessee: Nick Fairley, DT, Auburn. Tracy Rocker is Tennessee’s new defensive-line coach. He coached Fairley at Auburn.

9. Dallas: Tyron Smith, OT, USC. The Cowboys want to fortify their line.

10. Washington: Robert Quinn, DE, North Carolina. Quinn is considered the best pure pass rusher in the talented group of defensive ends.

11. Houston: Prince Amukamara, CB, Nebraska. The Texans must improve their secondary, which gave up 267.5 yards passing per game last season, last in the NFL.

12. Minnesota: Da’Quan Bowers, DE, Clemson. The Lions decide to get some value. Once considered the top pick in the draft, Bowers’ stock is sliding because of a knee injury.

13. Detroit: Aaron Williams, CB, Texas. The Lions continue to improve their secondary with this pick. Williams is solid in coverage and is a good at blitzing from the corner.

14. St. Louis: Aldon Smith, DE, Missouri. He could develop into a force in coach Steve Spagnuolo’s system.

15. Miami: Mike Pouncey, C, Florida. The Dolphins get someone to anchor their line for the next decade.

16. Jacksonville: Cam Jordan, DE, California. His father, Steve Jordan, was a six-time Pro Bowler at tight end for the Vikings.

17. New England: Anthony Castonzo, OT, Boston College. The Patriots elect to get some protection for Tom Brady, who’s not getting any younger.

18. San Diego: J.J. Watt, DE, Wisconsin. The former Badger, who spent time in the programs at Western Michigan and Minnesota, is considered a prototypical 3-4 defensive end.

19. New York Giants: Nate Solder, OT, Colorado. The Giants bring in some offensive-line help.

20. Tampa Bay: Ryan Kerrigan, DE, Purdue. The Bucs drafted defensive tackles Gerald McCoy and Brian Price last season. This year they try to get some help at defensive end.

21. Kansas City: Gabe Carimi, OT, Wisconsin. The Outland Trophy winner projects as a right tackle in the NFL. He played left tackle for the Badgers.

22. Indianapolis: Corey Liuget, DT, Illinois. The Colts draft a disruptive force for the middle of their defense. He was a wrestler in high school.

23. Philadelphia: Jimmy Smith, CB, Colorado. He is rugged with his hands in press coverage. He is a tall corner at 6-foot-2 3/8. He has some character issues, but the Eagles believe he could flourish in the right environment.

24. New Orleans: Adrian Clayborn, DE, Iowa. Clayborn’s “stock has dropped,” according to ESPN draft analyst Mel Kiper, because he has Erb’s Palsy in his right arm. It’s a condition suffered during birth, and his right arm is weaker than his left.

25. Seattle: Jake Locker, QB, Washington. He will get a chance to watch Matt Hasselbeck for a year or two. Locker is athletic, but needs to work on his accuracy.

26. Baltimore: Brandon Harris, CB, Miami. He was a three-year starter for the Hurricanes. The Falcons held a private workout for him in Miami.

27. Falcons: Akeem Ayers, DE/LB, UCLA. He had 14 sacks and 29.5 tackles for losses over his career.

28. New England: Cameron Heyward, DE, Ohio State. He’s a perfect scheme-fit for the Patriots’ 3-4 defense.

29. Chicago: Derek Sherrod, OT, Mississippi State. The Bears look to improve their offensive-line play with this pick. Sherrod is athletic and could anchor the left side for the next decade.

30. New York Jets: Justin Houston, OLB, Georgia. The Jets will count on Houston to develop into a big-play artist in their 3-4 scheme.

31. Pittsburgh: Brooks Reed, DE/OLB, Arizona. He started 34 games for the Wildcats.

32. Green Bay: Mark Ingram, RB, Alabama. The Packers look to improve their rushing attack.

On the fringe: Ryan Mallett, QB, Arkansas; Andy Dalton, QB, TCU; Ryan Williams, RB, Virginia Tech; Phil Taylor, DT, Baylor; Stephen Paea, DT, Oregon State; Torrey Smith, WR, Maryland; Muhammad Wilkerson, DT, Temple; Mikel Leshoure, RB, Illinois; Jonathan Baldwin, WR, Pittsburgh; Danny Watkins, OL, Baylor.

–D. Orlando Ledbetter, The Atlanta Falcons beat blog

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43 comments Add your comment

fanoffalcons

April 27th, 2011
9:15 pm

where is everybody?

ROZEMAN13

April 27th, 2011
9:32 pm

Watching the tornadoes going through north ga.

Paddy

April 27th, 2011
9:34 pm

Houston will drop like a rock also!

ROZEMAN13

April 27th, 2011
9:35 pm

I dont buy Falcons pick at 27 though. I dont think they have made up their mind yet

RambleOn84

April 27th, 2011
9:44 pm

I’d rather trade down out of 27 than reach for Ayers. I’m not convinced that Ayers (or anyone else available there) is better than the BEER MAN.

And let’s not give up on Sidbury either…

ROZEMAN13

April 27th, 2011
9:50 pm

agree with you Ramble get out of that slot and go down with more picks

E man

April 27th, 2011
9:57 pm

Falcons need impact players!! better get AJ or get beat-down again!!

southside falcon fan

April 27th, 2011
10:00 pm

i’m hoping td will live up to his promise of adding impact players , either and both sides of the ball

D. Orlando Ledbetter

April 27th, 2011
10:05 pm

RambleOn84 — BEER MAN’s playing time increased and his sacks dropped 5 to 3.

Sam

April 27th, 2011
10:17 pm

Still think Justin Houston will go in the first even though he flunked his drug test?

Dr. Warren

April 27th, 2011
10:37 pm

Package Michael Turner to Cincinnati for chance to draft A.J. Green. Promote Snelling to starting RB. The Burner will be burning out soon enough. Let’s get the speed we need to complement Roddie White. Sounds crazy?

robert

April 27th, 2011
10:42 pm

now that the judge has ordered the season to start tonight, will free agency, and or trades be coming along with the draft tomorrow.?

Falcon Crest

April 27th, 2011
11:12 pm

It is crazy Dr. Warren because teams are not allowed to trade current players due to the lockout. No matter what any judge says no team will trade players during this draft. I can’t see the Bengals making that deal anyway given the short careers and low value of RB’s in the league today.

Falcon Crest

April 27th, 2011
11:16 pm

Here are my first four Falcon picks

Round 1 – Akeem Ayers – OLB – UCLA
Round 2 – Jernel Jurnigan – WR – Troy
Round 3 – DeMarco Murray – RB – Oklahoma
Round 4 – D.J. Williams – TE – Arkansas

Let the games begin

The Finn

April 27th, 2011
11:30 pm

J.J. Watt came to Wisconsin from Central Michigan – not Western – and never spent any time at Minnesota.

why would ATL take anything other than Defense?

April 28th, 2011
12:00 am

they have to beat green bay and/or new orleans to get to the superbowl. and the current defense is nowhere near the required level.

FACTS

April 28th, 2011
12:32 am

No way Ledbetter, Ayers is a Hybrid or a Tweener he will get handled by OTs just like Weatherspooen did & Spoon has more of a lower base on him. This will be another wasted pick if we take Ayers, I’m so sick & tired of our first round pick being garbage just because everyone says this is what we need. Ayers is not enough to upgrade a mediocre defense at best, stop wishing for Christmas on draft day, tell the truth DOL. This offense needs that shot in the arm that Norwood was suppose to provide, my son at 9 can predict the Falcons first 2 series on offense. TD should take Ricardo Lockette, he will be the steal of the draft.

Ayers will be no better than our bench guys, until he learns our system , catches up to the game speed, & gets some NFL meat on his bones.

FACTS

April 28th, 2011
12:44 am

Justin Houston is 6′3″ 270 Akeem Ayers is 6′5″ 255——– I know everyone is worried about the test, but Warren Sapp also flunked, even our fullback Ovie Mughelli would eat Ayers for lunch in the hole!

Sean Bennett

April 28th, 2011
1:21 am

He’s dropping because of his speed, he’s as slow as a turtle. Peyton Mannings 40 time was Carl Lewis like compared to Mallett.

Gwinnett Fred

April 28th, 2011
1:58 am

Lead Rock???

Can’t honestly say I’ve heard that one before. Not really sure a rock can be made of lead either.

10cents and a cup of coffee

April 28th, 2011
3:05 am

How the Falcons do not go after some help in the defensive backfield is unreal. The GB game illustrated that the DB’s cannot cover or shutdown any wideouts. If they do not use their first four picks on defense then we have to reevaluate GM Dimi..!

How many games did the offense bail out the defense last year? 5 or 6 times.

10cents and a cup of coffee

April 28th, 2011
3:09 am

I would even take a chance on Cheech and Chong wanna be former Gator J Jenkins in the supplemental draft. He still had a great year while under the influence of the pipe.

Steck Money

April 28th, 2011
3:13 am

O.Led I hope you are blowing a smoke screen or having one blown in your face cause you are wrong about Ayers, I pray we dont draft him, I want you to go on Youtubeer now and watch footage of Ayers, not highlights, but individual game film, then I want you to watch tape of Kerrigan from Purdue, now that is a football player! never be able to trade up to get green or Julio but we could trade up 7 spots to get that monster. CONSPIRACY THEORY- the falcons pushed to have the info on Justin Houston released so no one will draft him so we can find a way to trade up and get him if we don’t take him at 27. Anybody Agree?. How come he is the only one you hear about who failed a drug test.

mgdawg

April 28th, 2011
6:36 am

Steck money, maybe the reason is because houston was the only one dumb enough to test positive this year. Actually I heard one more guy did, but he doesn’t have ties to georgia so that why it isn’t as big. Not to mention, a lot of the mock drafts I’ve seen have had houston being taken after the falcons pick in the first round or down into the second round. It looks really bad though, I think it takes a month for the stuff to get out of your system, if you can’t go without it for a month knowing it could cost you that much, you are probably addicted.

RambleOn84

April 28th, 2011
7:53 am

UNderstood, DOL…but I still don’t think Ayers is any better…he is a tweener and not what we need for a 4-3. I would much rather have Houston at that spot if we are going to go with a DE…midnight tokin and all.

O-me

April 28th, 2011
8:33 am

steak money..you craz man, the falcons wouldn’t do that. FGM knows what he’s doing.

D. Orlando Ledbetter

April 28th, 2011
9:21 am

RambleOn84 — I can’t see them taking Houston. Ayers can play DE or WLB in the nickel. He’s a versatile scheme fit. He worked out for TD, Smith and VanGorder on April 9.

Nik

April 28th, 2011
9:36 am

Is it safe to say Brooks Reed is kind of a poor man’s Clay Matthews?

lennium2k

April 28th, 2011
10:02 am

If the falcons move up, they need to take the best corner back at 7 or 8. Move Grimes to nickel back and get ready to win a Superbowl. This move will bring your 22 rank pass defense up into the top ten. We always can find a good pass rusher in the later rounds. A DE will fall late in this draft.

Hoof Hearted?

April 28th, 2011
10:06 am

I don’t see choosing Ayers when you still have Heyward, and Brooks Reed on the board.

Joe Tess Fis House

April 28th, 2011
12:15 pm

Droping like a lead rock? That is just dum.

VB

April 28th, 2011
12:17 pm

I think Ryan Mallett is still going in the first round! He will surprise you all!!

mike

April 28th, 2011
1:02 pm

go ryan —do u idiots really think he is only one in this draft to smoke some pot or drink beer–why u try to make him a sacrificial lamb?

jerseyfalcon

April 28th, 2011
1:08 pm

Funny how when you look back and find that explosive players in the draft failed a weed test and drop like a stone..remember when Sapp and Moss had “issues” and now they are both HOF players. Take Houston because he’s like like Abraham..pick up a wr in the second, cb in the 3rd, rb 4th, ot/g 5th, another wr in the 6th, and since they have three 7th round picks always pick the best player available…do not trade up and waste picks when they have so many holes in other positions. Odd how a 13-3 team has so many needs….

[...] WR, Pittsburgh 4.27 – Walter Football (Greg Cox): Kyle Rudolph, TE, Notre Dame 4.27 – Atlanta Journal-Constitution: Akeem Ayers, LB, UCLA 4.26 – Draft Season (Lupagus): Kyle Rudolph, TE, Notre Dame 4.26 [...]

coloradobulldog

April 28th, 2011
2:59 pm

Ayers can’t hold a candle to Houston’s bong. Houston is bigger, twice as strong, ran a faster 40 and had more sacks in a better league. I am not sure Falcons will risk a 1st round pick on someone dumb enough to have drugs in their system at the combine. But no way, TD picks Ayers. We have better LBs already on our team. I more see him taking best OL available with 3 starters being FAs and then moving back up to top of 2nd round to get Houston or a that WR from Pitt.

coloradobulldog

April 28th, 2011
3:12 pm

D Led, apart from the NJ thing, can’t understand why you keep harping on Ayers as a versatile scheme player and say Houston is not a fit? Did not Houston play DE for 2 years and OLB for 1? You do realize Ayers ran a slow 4.81 40 while Houston ran a 4.62 right? You do know that Houston benched 220lb for 30 reps while Ayers could only do 18, right? You are aware that Houston is a beast as a rusher and had 20 career sacks while Ayers had 10, right? I am sure TD is.

coloradobulldog

April 28th, 2011
3:13 pm

meant ‘MJ thing’

DawgFan

April 28th, 2011
3:15 pm

Falcon Crest – April 27th, 2011 – 11:16 pm
Here are my first four Falcon picks

Round 1 – Akeem Ayers – OLB – UCLA
Round 2 – Jernel Jurnigan – WR – Troy
Round 3 – DeMarco Murray – RB – Oklahoma
Round 4 – D.J. Williams – TE – Arkansas

Let the games begin
____

I just have a feeling Murray will be gone before the Falcons pick in Round 3. Here’s what I’m seeing for the first three rounds for our hometown team:

Round 1 – Adrian Clayborn – DE – Iowa (or Kyle Rudolph, TE, Notre Dame)
Round 2 – Randall Cobb – WR – Kentucky (or DeMarco Murray, RB, Oklahoma)
Round 3 – Titus Young – WR- Boise St. (or Clint Boling, G, Georgia)

The biggest thing to me is that it’s tough to see Atlanta going back-to-back offense in the first two rounds.

[...] Atlanta Journal Constitution (blog) [...]

Not bad......

April 28th, 2011
4:35 pm

I’ll take Ayers, he addresses a need even though he isn’t the best choice here. Both the fellas at ESPN have us taking a great end…..one has Clayborn from Iowa, the other has Bowers falling to us. Either pick would make me ecstatic. If we can get a guy like Randall Cobb in round 2 we’d be in great shape. Maybe in round 3 we can look at a LB or, possibly, the Arkansas TE here to follow Tony Gonzalez.

Matt

April 28th, 2011
10:07 pm

D-Led – getting a little mixed up with your metaphors, my man. “Dropping like a rock” (falling quickly) is an expression. “Going over like a lead ballon” is another (meaning a bad idea). I like Sherrod for my Bears big time. I hope they are thinking the same thing, or else trade down and get him early in the 2nd.

W/E

April 29th, 2011
12:40 pm

lead isn’t a rock, it’s a mineral. Goals of good journalism are accuracy, clarity, precision, and efficiency. C’mon I know plenty of Journalism majors across the Southeast who are desperately looking for work and would not have made this mistake.