What a Potential 2018 Atlanta Falcons Draft Could Look Like

CHICAGO, IL - APRIL 28: A detailed view of the pick is in for the
CHICAGO, IL - APRIL 28: A detailed view of the pick is in for the /
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My 2nd round pick in Mock Draft 1, was Texas A&M WR Christian Kirk. Christian is 5’10 200 lbs and ran a 4.47 in the 40-yard dash at the combine. He is a good route runner and is great at eluding tacklers after the catch. His strength allows him to beat press coverage. Kirk also offers value as a dangerous return man.

SI’s Andy Staples sees him as one of the draft’s top sleepers, and offered this analysis of Christian Kirk’s game:

"“I always include a smallish receiver on this list because they’re the ones who typically get lumped together in the draft even though some are clearly better than others. The 5’10”, 208-pound Kirk projects as a second- or third-rounder, but he may be able to provide first-round value.” “Unlike Lockett at Kansas State, Kirk did play in an offense with other capable targets. He played alongside Josh Reynolds for two seasons, and last year freshman Jhamon Ausbon—whose measurables NFL teams will love—caught 50 passes. But Kirk led the Aggies in catches in all three of his seasons in College Station and led them in receiving yards as a freshman and as a junior. He also was one of the nation’s best punt returners all three years, even though teams got wise and only gave him 10 returnable kicks last season.”"

Mock draft #2 flowed such a way, that I selected South Carolina TE Hayden Hurst in round 2. Hurst is 6’4 250 lbs and ran a 4.67 at the combine.

Hurst, a former MLB draft pick, and minor league pitcher is a great athlete. He has glue-like hands and is quick for his size. Hurst plays very physical and is a capable blocker. The addition of Hayden Hurst would allow The Atlanta Falcons to use more 3 TE sets, as previously deployed under Kyle Shanahan. The Atlanta Falcons have greater needs, but Hurst was just too good to pass up here.

SI Kid Reporter Griffin Clark named Hurst as one of the drafts most intriguing players and described him this way:

"“Hurst will fit in an offensive system that utilizes his receiving ability. With over 1,200 yards receiving at South Carolina last season, he proved to NFL scouts that he has the talent. There are two teams that could be particularly interested. Jason Witten, the longtime Dallas Cowboys tight end, appears set on continuing his career, but at age 35, he won’t play for much longer. Delanie Walker, the productive 33-year-old tight end for the Titans, is also nearing the end of his career. Another team that may have interest is the New Orleans Saints, who hold the 27th overall pick and could use a tight end. Hurst should go either in the late first round or early in the second round.”"

Virginia Tech DT Tim Settle is my 2nd round pick for draft 3. Settle is a mountain of a man, standing 6’3, and tipping the scales at 335 lbs. He possesses rare quickness for a man his size. He’s also very strong and should regularly require a double team from opponents.

The MMQB staff offers this synopsis of Settle:

"“He might be a heckuva consolation prize for any team that misses out on Vita Vea. Settle was up and down at Tech, but showed the ability to play all over the line and not only eat double teams, but occasionally bring interior pressure in the pass rush. He has some work to do, but the movement skills are outstanding for his size.”"

Mock Draft #4 was interesting in that the computer simulation offered trades. The Baltimore Ravens made an offer I couldn’t refuse. I exchanged the Atlanta Falcons 1st Round pick #26, for Rd 2 pick #11, and Rd 2 pick #20. This move gave me 3, 2nd round picks, for the Atlanta Falcons in the simulation. I used the picks to draft UGA DE Lorenzo Carter, and LSU WR DJ Clark, as well as the aforementioned Tim Settle from Virginia Tech.

Lorenzo Carter is a 6’5 250 Edge Rusher. He is an incredible athlete that also has the versatility to play outside linebacker, in Dan Quinn’s 4-3 defense. He would offer depth behind Vic Beasley and Takk McKinley. I believe it’s essential that the Falcons add another DE to cover for the loss of Adrian Clayborn.

The MMQB staff ranked him 54th in their top 100:

"“He has the measurables and the five-star recruit pedigree, though Carter was never dominant at the collegiate level. He can set the edge and has experience dropping into coverage as a 3-4 OLB, but he’s a work in progress as a pass rusher, even after four seasons in one of the nation’s premier programs.”"

DJ Clark is a 6’3 199 lb speed WR. He ran a blazing 4.34 40 yard dash at the combine. He’s still raw but oozes potential. If drafted by the Atlanta Falcons, he would likely play outside, while Mohammed Sanu moves into the slot, in 3 WR sets. Clark would benefit greatly from playing with Matt Ryan, as Ryan is far better than any QB Clark caught passes from at LSU. DJ also offers value as an electric Punt Returner.

The MMQB staff gave their thoughts on Clark:

"“Another LSU receiver with underwhelming production but big-time measurables, teams will have to decide how much untapped potential Chark has coming out of a program that seems to be on a never-ending search for a quarterback. He’s had a promising postseason though, shining at the Senior Bowl and at the combine (4.34 forty, 40-inch vertical leap). He’s a developmental prospect who at least has the explosive speed to concern opposing defenses as a situational deep threat.”"