There are several different camps that fans divide into assuming the Spoon-Graham absent theory actually happens. Many believe the Falcons should take the best interior lineman available such as Maurkice Pouncey at Center or Mike Iupati at Guard. Others believe that the Falcons should try their best to trade back either in the first or second round to acquire more picks to make up for them not having a second rounder this year. Others believe that the Falcons should take the best player available that’s sure to drop if Brandon Graham and Sean Weatherspoon are both gone. So many possibilities that’s its hard picking one route.
In an effort to spur discussions and debate, the final version of Falcons Full Mock Madness will include the self-imposed rule of not allowing for any repeats until the official mock is put forth in our 2nd Annual Bird Cage Mock Draft Competition, starting on Monday, April 19th.
As much as I fought against doing this, no other prospects seemed to be an ideal fit or good value at #19. Even though it may be unlikely for a team to want to trade up in such a deep draft, there are several teams that have the depth and picks to move up into the first round to take two top-tier athletes instead of accumulating several players that might take time to develop. Thomas Dimitroff has made it known that he wants to get back into the second round if at all possible. Several teams are in a position to trade up and take two picks in the first round. The Falcons own the #19 overall pick which equals 875 value points according to the Trade Value Chart per DraftCountdown.com. These teams own the following picks and may want to move up:
44th pick (460), 47th pick (430), and 53rd pick (370)
44th + 47th (890) = 19th (875). The Falcons would have to offer something like their 6th round draft pick (15.8) to make it even.
Why? The New England Patriots are well known for their successful drafts and being able to acquire picks to add to their long-term depth and groom future starters. Even though they will continue to do well for years and years, there is a certain window that now exists with Tom Brady turning 33 before their first regular season game. They added 4 players in the second round alone last year in Darius Butler, Ron Brace, Patrick Chung, and Sebastian Vollmer. They created amazing depth and players to groom for the future, but they want to win now that the Tom-Brady-Window is closing. They could add two players like Jermaine Gresham (obvious need) and Sergio Kindle to immediately upgrade their team.
36th pick (540) & 50th pick (400)
36th + 50th (940) = 19th + 117th (935). Falcons would have to offer their 4th round pick to make it close to even (and might have to add more).
Why? The Kansas City Chiefs are in year 2 of a complete rebuilding mode and need immediate playmakers. Sure they understand that development of younger players will help, but nothing aids the process of rebuilding more than immediate playmakers. Two first round picks would allow them to grab their future left tackle (Bryan Bulaga or Russell Okung), while also adding either a playmaker on offense (Ryan Matthews or Golden Tate) or defense (Kyle Wilson or Dan Williams). They still would have plenty of picks for development, while also getting another pick in return.
37th (530) & 55th (350)
37th + 55th (880) = 19th (875) Almost a straight-up even trade. Falcons may have to give cash or a future late pick.
Why? The Eagles are loaded with 8 picks in this year’s draft and already have a pretty deep roster all-around. They have holes here and there, but they aren’t in a huge transformational phase even though they traded away their franchise QB Donovan McNabb and cut their long-time RB in Brian Westbrook. They desperately want Safety Earl Thomas and could add a defensive end such as Jason Pierre-Paul or Everson Griffen, or they could build their depth and add another playmaker like RB Jahvid Best or Ryan Matthews to pair with Lesean McCoy.
Using the New England Patriots Scenario……….
The Falcons have worked out both Jerry Hughes and Daryl Washington, which are expected to be on the fringe of the first round and could last into the second round. The Birds have obvious needs at outside linebacker and defensive end and this could be the best of both worlds if Brandon Graham and Sean Weatherspoon are both gone. Hughes will definitely need some time to develop at end and add muscle to his frame (6’2, 255), but has a lot of potential and consistently produced on the college level at TCU, where he averaged 13.5 sacks (high of 15 his junior year) and 18 tackles for a loss over his final two years. Very fast (4.69 forty time), quick, and a natural pass-rusher who could play up as an OLB in a pinch. Will need time to work on run support, but adds much needed depth and pass rushing potential to the defensive end roster.
The last time the Falcons took two teammates in one draft it was Jamaal Anderson and Chris Houston from Arkansas. Anderson’s still here, but Houston is now in Detroit and most fans will cringe at the thought, but this is a new regime. Don’t make light of Thomas Dimitroff and Co. working out BOTH prospects in their limited private workouts. Washington has the natural size for a weakside linebacker, but will need to add some bulk. His speed (4.66 forty) and college production also would give an immediate impact at the weakside position where his pass cover skills (3 ints) could flourish. Like his teammate Hughes, he would need to add some bulk and improve his rush stuffing ability. His biggest attribute is the fact that he’s a tackling machine, wrapping 109 total tackle as a senior.
Many sites are torn on which center is next after the consensus number one prospect in Maurkice Pouncey. NFLDraftScout.com has Matt Tennant as the next best center draft pick, but DraftCountdown.com has JD Walton as the second best O-Line captain. Walton has a nice build at 6’3, 300 and has the all-important nasty streak with a killer instinct, something that Coach Smith and OL Coach Paul Boudreau highly covet. Has a non-stop motor and is an extremely hard worker. Possibly limited in being versatile to guard, but did have a private workout with the Falcons. Could be cross-trained to play guard with his physical demeanor.
Shipley’s may not have the eye-popping variables that some scouts look for (5’11, 193), but his college production was off the charts (1,485 yards, 13 TDs) and is a player that just finds ways to make plays in the passing attack. A superb route runner that catches everything thrown his way and makes excellent plays after the catch. Some teams may stay away from him due to his 40 time (4.60) but he is “football fast” and can play every wideout position on the field. One of the best route runners in the draft and the Falcons had a private workout with him as well. Could flourish as a #3 receiver, which is what the Falcons are looking for. Shipley has an uncanny way of getting open and moving the chains.
Once thought a potential first round talent, Hernandez has possibly slipped due to his failure to be a viable in-line blocker and could have slipped by not putting up good combine numbers. Hernandez may not have necessarily dropped, but is being bypassed by other tight ends. That would be good news for the Falcons. Hernandez has very nice size (6’3, 245) and couples that with excellent speed (4.56 forty) with great route-running ability and superb hands. Was a huge difference-maker for Tim Tebow and the Gators in their pursuit of back-to-back National Championships. Hernandez was a 3rd down conversion machine and was known for coming up with the big catch. Runs hard and tough after the catch. Will need some work in blocking, but can learn from the best in Tony Gonzalez.
Joseph would provide excellent depth and the big body that the Falcons really crave (6’5, 328). Is extremely quick for such a big defensive tackle and is a tackling machine. Has a surprising burst that would not only draw double teams, but would also allow him to control the line of scrimmage. Although possibly looked at as a big nose tackle, Joseph was able to nab 13 tackles for loss and even collared 3 sacks. Joseph would be an excellent complement in allowing the smaller and quicker DTs (Babineaux, Jerry, Walker) to penetrate and rush the backfield.
The Falcons are looking to bolster their offensive line for immediate depth and even towards a potential starter. Lauvao possesses the wide versatility that the Falcons covet. The Arizona State guard has started games at left tackle, left guard, and right tackle. Is very good in pass-blocking and will need to improve in his run blocking. Played mostly tackle, but can offer very good flexibility and would flourish under the tutelage. Had one of the best reps on the bench of 225 with 33, while most guards had under 30. Would need development, but already has experience in moving up and down the O-Line.
Jefferson would add the much needed size to the cornerback corps, sitting at 6’0, 193 lbs. He also possesses very good speed (4.42 forty) and quickness. Extremely good in zone coverage and has good recovery speed. Even though he needs some development in man-to-man, Jefferson can use his size and strength to give a solid press on opposing receivers. Can come and compete for a 5th CB position and develop rather slowly as opposed to having to come in and immediately produce. The Fresno State CB also adds a much needed boost to special teams as a kickoff and punt returner.
So there you have it Bird Cage, the 4th Falcons Full Mock Madness is in the books. The original goal was to not entertain the trade-back theory, but after looking at many possibilities, there simply was no ideal fit for the Falcons to justify a #19 pick. Initial thoughts would have that teams aren’t willing to trade up in such a deep draft, but clubs like the Eagles and Patriots aren’t that far away, could sacrifice a few draft picks, get several immediate impact players, and still have plenty of draft picks left.
-Have at it Bird Cage Guys and Gals……Fire Away
-Give your own Falcons Full Mock 4.0
-Should the Falcons trade back or stay put?
-A mistake taking teammates?
Use this as your final “mock” mock, because the next one will be for real in our 2nd Annual Bird Cage Mock Draft Competition.