Dale Money | March 7th, 2020
Once again the Atlanta Falcons’ season was derailed by injuries and inconsistent play. The Falcons started the season 1-7, with their only win in week two against the Philadelphia Eagles. During their week nine bye, the Falcons made changes to the coaching staff, amid speculation that head coach Dan Quinn would be fired at the end of the season. However, during the second half of the season, the Falcons rallied behind Quinn and finished 6-2 over their last eight games, including impressive wins over the Saints in New Orleans and the 49ers in San Francisco. They finished the season 7-9, landing them the 16th pick in the first round.
With their season over before the halfway point, the Falcons were active at the trade deadline. The sent wide receiver Mohamed Sanu to the New England Patriots for a second-round pick (#55 overall). At the time it was a great move for the Falcons, who likely would have had to release Sanu for cap reasons anyways, and it is an even better move now. With three picks in the top 55 overall selections, the Falcons could make a move to jump into the top 10 of the draft if they want to. In total, the Falcons have seven draft picks.
To help with this mock draft, I used the Fanspeak mock draft simulator.
Make sure to check out all of our other NFL team mock drafts here.
Round 1, Pick 16: Javon Kinlaw, DL, South Carolina
Most mock drafts have the Falcons taking an edge rusher with this pick. However, after Chase Young, the value at edge rusher takes a major step down. Now I’ll be the first to admit, the odds of Kinlaw making it to pick 16 aren’t great. However, if he makes it to 16, the Falcons should take two seconds to turn in the draft card. Kinlaw is a physical freak who dominated SEC offensive linemen this year and would make for an excellent pairing with Grady Jarrett.
Same play… two different looks. Check out South Carolina DE 3 Javon Kinlaw. He’s a physical freak. Looking forward to seeing him workout at the Combine this weekend. pic.twitter.com/QLku7kwHEY— Todd McShay (@McShay13) February 24, 2020
Round 2, Pick 47: Cole Kmet, TE, Notre Dame
Austin Hooper all but confirmed on social media that he will be playing elsewhere next season. Many expect Hooper to reset the tight end market and easily become the highest-paid tight end in the league. With Hooper out the door, the Falcons need a new starting tight end. The duo of Luke Stocker and Jaeden Graham are nice, but neither is a starting caliber tight end. In his final season at Notre Dame, Kmet had career highs across the board with 43 catches for 515 yards and six touchdowns. He had a strong combine performance, especially during the drills and is in the running to be the first tight end off the board.
Round 2, Pick 55: Curtis Weaver, EDGE, Boise State
Alright, it’s finally time to give the Falcons an edger rusher. The Falcons’ twitter page announced that Vic Beasley won’t be re-signed (just don’t ask who the source is), while Adrian Clayborn is also a free agent and more than likely won’t be re-signed give the team’s cap situation. Last season, the Falcons were tied for the second-fewest sacks in the league with 28. With Beasley and Clayborn (and their 12 combined sacks) leaving, the Falcons MUST add some pass rush help. Weaver was close to unstoppable during his time at Boise State, registering at least 9.5 sacks in each of his three seasons and averaging 0.85 per game. He finished his career as the Mountain West’s all-time sack leader with 34.
Curtis Weaver with the ghost/rip— DLineVids (@dlinevids1) January 28, 2020
@curtisweaver_ feints with the inside hand to get the blocker off-balance. He then takes it away, rips & leans for the sack
Weaver is a 2x All-American who ended his career as the Mountain West's all-time sack leader with 34 #NFLDraft #PassRush pic.twitter.com/5vMg2VYI1O
Round 3, Pick 78: Malik Harrison, LB, Ohio State
Much like Hooper, starting linebacker De’Vondre Campbell likely won’t be back because of the Falcons’ cap situation. With Campbell gone, the Falcons will need to give Deion Jones a running mate. After the “big three” linebackers, the draft class takes a clear step down. However, Harrison has starting caliber talent and would be a great value in the middle of the third round. During his senior season at Ohio State, Harrison had a career year with 75 tackles, 16.5 for a loss and 3.5 sacks. Pairing Harrison with Jones and the rest of their defensive additions earlier, the Falcons’ defense is starting to come together nicely.
Round 4, Pick 116: Zack Moss, RB, Utah
Reportedly, the Falcons are considering releasing Devonta Freeman to open up some cap space. However, if they did, the Falcons would need to add a replacement running back. The trio of Brian Hill, Ito Smith, and Qadree Ollison won’t cut it, as all three are rotational backs. Moss isn’t getting the hype as other running backs in the draft class like J.K. Dobbins but he is an excellent value in the fourth-round. Moss had a great college career, averaging over 5.5 yards per carry and scoring 10 plus rushing touchdowns in each of his last three seasons at Utah. Moss has shown very good contact balance and an ability to gain positive yards when the play gets blown up in the backfield.
How does Zack Moss stay up after this? I mean, my lord. pic.twitter.com/lMnmS8k4QO— Kevin Fielder (@TheKevinFielder) February 22, 2020
Round 5, Pick 157: Antonio Gandy-Golden, WR, Liberty
After trading away Sanu, the Falcons were left with Julio Jones, Calvin Ridley, and a bunch of relevantly unknown guys at wide receiver. Replacing Sanu, Russell Gage had a solid second half to the season, topping 45 receiving yards in five of his last nine games. However, Justin Hardy is a free agent and likely won’t be re-signed, and the Falcons need to add some depth at wide receiver. AGG is a big physical receiver, who draft Twitter has a huge crush on. His ability to beat press-man coverage and separate makes him one of the better and safer wide receivers the Falcons could add on day three of the draft.
Biggest reason why bigger WR struggle transitioning from college to the NFL is that they lack the body twitch to beat press-man and create separation at the top of routes. @LibertyFootball WR Antonio Gandy-Golden (6035v, 222 lbs) won’t have those issues!#TheDraftStartsInMOBILE pic.twitter.com/PG8BNLybDJ— Jim Nagy (@JimNagy_SB) January 31, 2020
Round 7, Pick 228: Trevis Gipson, EDGE, Tulsa
With their final pick, the Falcons turn their attention back to the defensive side of the ball and add one of my favorite late day three edge rushers. Like I said earlier, the Falcons were tied for the second-fewest sacks in the league last year with 28. With Beasley and Clayborn (and their 12 combined sacks) both out the door, the Falcons need to add at least two edge rushers this offseason. Despite coming from a smaller school, Gipson already has developed several pass rush moves. Over his last two seasons at Tulsa, he recorded 24 tackles for loss and 12 sacks. To find that kind of production and skill this late in the draft is an absolute steal.
Tulsa DE Trevis Gipson (@15Gipson) is a #NFLDraft prospect to keep an eye on. Was at @VonMiller's pass rush summit this year & is going to have a huge season for #ReignCane— DLineVids (@dlinevids1) June 28, 2019
Gipson with the hesi/counter club sack! #PassRush #TulsaFB pic.twitter.com/NSZXXIx1ji
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