Round 2 Pick 3 (Trade with Raiders)
Jaylon Ferguson – Defensive End, Louisiana Tech
Nearly every season there is a pass rusher from a small college that fares surprisingly well in the NFL. Jaylon Ferguson could be that player in the 2019 NFL Draft. Ferguson is no longer a secret. He has been rising up the draft boards of many analysts as the annual event approaches. So I decided not to risk him being selected before the Falcons’ second round pick could come up and took him with the pick we acquired from the Raiders in our mock draft scenario.
Jaylon Ferguson provides good size on the edge standing 6’5 and weighing in at 271 pounds. He was extremely productive as a pass rusher, logging 45 sacks and 67.5 tackles for a loss, in his four-year college career for the Louisiana Tech Bulldogs. He led the nation in sacks with 17.5 as a senior this past season and was named Conference USA Defensive Player of the Year for his efforts. He was also named as an Associated Press Third Team All American for the first time in his career. Additionally Ferguson was named All Conference USA for the second time. He finished his college career as the All Time NCAA sack leader.
Jaylon Ferguson has an array of pass rush moves coming off of the edge, highlighted by his rip move. He has natural instincts as a pass rusher. Jaylon does a great job of freeing himself from blocks using his length and violent hands. He has a great burst and a strong lower body. Ferguson is also strong at the point of attack against the run. He showed terrific off-season work ethic after his junior year, returning noticeably stronger and with more muscle mass prior to his senior year.
The drawback on Jaylon Ferguson is that he can sometimes be out of control, losing his rush lanes and allowing offensive linemen to push him past the quarterback. He has good short area quickness, but chasing fast NFL running backs on the perimeter could prove problematic for Ferguson. Ferguson does not have exceptional bend for a pass rusher, causing him to sometimes play too upright. He also needs to improve his transitions from primary moves to counter moves.
Selecting Jaylon Ferguson would give the Atlanta Falcons another player to add to an anemic pass rusher rotation. He also provides a contingency plan should Vic Beasley not return to his 2016 league leading pass rusher form. Beasley is in the last year of his contract. Having Takk McKinley already entrenched as the other starter at defensive end, would allow Ferguson to work his way into the defensive line rotation without much pressure as he transitions from a smaller conference to the NFL. He would help boost the anemic Atlanta pass rush, while holding his own against the run. Some may say this pick is a reach, but good edge rushers are so rare that a slight reach is sometimes needed. Jaylon Ferguson is exactly the type of player the Atlanta Falcons need on the edge of their defensive line.
2018: 65 tackles, 26 tfl, 17.5 sacks, 2 ff, 1 fr, 3 pd
Expert Opinion: Lance Zierlein of NFL.com
Pro Comparison: Marcus Davenport (Saints)
Projection: Round 2
"Extremely productive edge defender with an NFL-caliber frame that continues to take shape. Ferguson plays with good toughness at the point of attack and became a much more disruptive run defender as the season progressed. He appears to have average athletic traits but benefits from an instinctive pass-rush approach. His pro day was somewhat disappointing and he’ll need to maintain better lean muscle mass. He’ll likely be targeted as an even-front defensive end with potential to become a good NFL starter."
Pro Football Focus breaks down Jaylon Ferguson on their YouTube NFL Draft Film Room below:
Round 2 Pick 13
Titus Howard – Offensive Tackle Alabama State
In the 2019 Atl All Day Mock Draft, the Atlanta Falcons select Alabama State offensive tackle Titus Howard with their original pick in the second round. Howard makes the second consecutive selection of a player from a non power five conference. Titus Howard who is 6’5 and weighs 322 pounds, was a First Team All SWAC Conference selection after starting all ten games as a red shirt senior. He became a starter about midway through his sophomore season and never looked back. Titus has experience playing both left tackle and right tackle.
Titus Howard is exceptionally quick and athletic for an offensive lineman. He was a quarterback in high school, before converting to tight end and ultimately offensive tackle in college. Howard possesses rare flexibility and bend for an offensive tackle. He runs well and slides his feet exceptionally fast to cut off opposing pass rushers, before they can reach his quarterback. Howard’s quickness also helps him in the run game, allowing him to quickly get to the edge on outside running plays, as well as run to the second level and block linebackers and sometimes even safeties.
The drawback with Howard is that he is very raw, having played against a lesser level of competition than many of the other tackles in this year’s draft. He also needs to get stronger in both upper and lower body. His lack of strength can sometimes cause him to hold an opponent when beaten, a maneuver that is certain to draw a flag at the NFL level. Howard also needs to strengthen his hands and improve the usage and placement of them.
The Atlanta Falcons and Titus Howard would be a great fit. The Falcons are believed to have interest in him, having met with him in March. Tim Weaver of Falconswire has the story of the meeting here. Having resigned Ty Sambrailo, Atlanta can afford to give Howard a year to develop and adjust to the speed of the NFL game. He would give Atlanta their right tackle of the future. The hope is Howard would fix the right tackle position that has been a problem since the release of Tyson Clabo, save for a few good years by Ryan Schraeder. Once developed, Howard would give the Atlanta Falcons an offensive tackle with the size to play in a power scheme but the quickness to also play in a zone blocking scheme. Though Howard certainly needs some work, he owns rare physical attributes that just can not be taught. Other potential second round picks for Atlanta include defensive tackles Jerry Tillery and Dre’Mont Jones, as well as cornerbacks Trayvon Mullen, Rock Ya-sin, Justin Lane and Julien Love.
Expert Opinion: Lance Zierlein NFL.com
Projection: Round 2
Pro Comparison: Desmond Harrison – Browns
"Ascending tackle prospect who will require additional work with technique and in the weight room to fully realize his potential. Howard is a gifted athlete with rare quickness and fluidity as both a run and pass blocker and his play issues are correctable with more work. While he will be dinged for level of competition, his upside was on full display with his play against Auburn. He needs development, but he’s much more than a developmental prospect and could find a starter’s spot within his first two years."
The Athletic Ability of Titus was on full display during this Best of Offensive Line Workouts at the Combine bought to us by the NFL YouTube Channel: