Round 4 Pick 15
Jamel Dean – Cornerback, Auburn
Now that the Atlanta Falcons have parted ways with cornerbacks Robert Alford and Brian Poole there is definitely a need for depth at the position. Isaiah Oliver is expected to take over for Alford as the starter at right cornerback. Damontae Kazee who tied for the NFL lead in interceptions as a free safety last season is expected to win the nickel back spot. Blidi Wreh-Wilson was resigned as solid depth, but outside of him there just aren’t many reinforcements, making it a must that Atlanta draft a cornerback in the upcoming draft.
Atlanta selects Jamel Dean with their fourth round pick in our Mock Draft. Dean offers good size at the position being 6’1 and weighing 206 pounds. He is a former track star who also posses excellent speed. Dean originally signed with Ohio State university, but transferred to Auburn after OSU refused to grant him medical clearance to play. This was based on two knee injuries he sustained in high school. After sitting out his freshman season with yet another knee injury, Dean recovered well enough to earn his way onto the field for the Tigers. He started 11 games and broke up eight passes as a sophomore. This past season as a junior, he started another 12 games for Auburn. He intercepted two passes and broke up another nine on the 2018 season.
Jamel Dean’s claim to fame is his blend of speed and height. He is very quick both when running in a straight line and moving laterally. He also accelerates extremely well. He has great length, which aids him in swatting the ball away to break up passes. Both his speed and his length help him to be able to provide press coverage, while staying attached to his man. His catch rate of 38.1 percent allowed, is the same as top cornerback prospect Greedy Williams. The major concern with Jamel Dean, is the fact that he has had multiple knee injuries. They have not zapped him of his speed though, as he ran an impressive 4.30 40 yard dash time at the NFL Combine. The knee problems cause Dean to play too high at times. He also has a tendency to grab and hold when playing off-man coverage, something that has to be fixed at the NFL level. In addition Dean needs to improve on his run support by being better at fighting off blocks and pursuing harder to the football.
Though drafting Jamel Dean is a risk, he’s simply too talented to pass up at this point in the draft. He has the talent of a first rounder, had he not suffered those injuries. He has shown to be healthy for two consecutive seasons which is a great sign. Even if he does suffer a set back that cost him some of his speed, he would do well at the role of free safety. Dean would compete for the fourth cornerback spot if drafted. He would add much-needed depth to the Atlanta secondary and a big press coverage cornerback, the type of corner that coach Dan Quinn loves. Dean also adds value as a special teams gunner.
2018: 30 tckls, 2 tfl, 1 sck, 2 ints, 9 pd, 1 fr
Expert Opinion: Lance Zierlein NFL.com
Projection: Rounds 2-3
"Dean’s combination of height, weight and speed will get the conversation started off in the right direction for NFL evaluators, but there is no way around the fact that multiple knee surgeries will be a cause for concern in those same circles. His length and ability to disrupt catch space is a big plus in his favor and he has the athletic ability to play in a variety of coverages. However, he needs more consistent competitiveness and better technique for the next level."
Round 4 Pick 35 (Compensatory)
David Long Jr. – Linebacker West Virginia
The Atlanta Falcons select David Long Jr. with their second pick of the fourth round, in the 2019 Atl All Day Mock Draft. Long is a 5’11 224 pound linebacker, who played college football for the West Virginia Mountaineers. After sitting out his freshman season under a red shirt, Long started 10 of the 12 games he played in at the will linebacker position. David went on to start every game he played in for the rest of his career. He eventually elevated his game to become the Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year as a junior in 2018, logging an incredible eight sacks as a blitzer. His performance earned him a spot on the First Team All Big 12 Team. He was also named an AP Second Team All American.
David Long Jr. is very adept at quickly diagnosing plays and attacking them. He accelerates and closes quickly on the ball. He is a hustle player who gives full effort at all times. Long is an agile linebacker who changers directions quickly. He is also very flexible which allows him to fit through small gaps in the offensive line. David has a high success rate on blitzes. He does well at disengaging from blocks in the run game as well. The main knock on David Long Jr. is his lack of size and arm length. This causes him to miss too many tackles. Long can sometimes be too aggressive and take bad angles. He is subject to fall for misdirection and play action fakes due to that aggression. He also needs to improve his zone coverage technique.
David Long Jr. would be a welcomed addition to the Atlanta Falcons, as he would bring previously lacking linebacker depth. The injury to star linebacker Deion Jones, exposed Atlanta’s lack of depth at the position last season. Duke Riley performed horribly replacing Jones, before being replaced by rookie Foye Oluokun himself. Long would give Atlanta a good backup at will linebacker. He would also play special teams. This year’s draft is shallow when it comes to 4-3 linebackers with the speed to pursue and cover, drafting Long at this spot ensures the Falcons don’t come away without a linebacker that fits their fast and physical mantra, in the 2019 NFL Draft. Other possible fourth round options for Atlanta are defensive tackles Renell Wren and Trysten Hill, guard Nate Davis, edge Shareef Miller,
2018: 111 tackles, 19.5 tfl, 8 sacks, 4 pd, 2 ff, 1 fr
Expert Opinion: Lance Zierlein NFL.com
Pro Comparison: Jatavis Brown (Chargers)
"Ultra-productive but undersized, teams will have to decipher how much of his production is translatable and how much came from his brazen, downhill approach. Long plays with a “scared money don’t make money” approach that hit jackpots but pulled him out of position more than NFL coaches will be comfortable, with, but teams would rather dial back aggression than try and coach it up. He plays with some twitch, but his lack of size and strength could push him into a role as a backup 4-3 WILL with eventual starter potential in the right scheme."