It is always fun taking a look at the various mock drafts that pop up all over the place after the NFL Combine. At this point, if a team has a pretty good scouting department, they should know where players stand regardless of their workouts. Still, it is fun to overanalyze every drill because it gives the so called experts something to do. Hey, give ’em something to talk about. Of course I am paying particular attention to the Falcons intentions and what they will do to build off a successful first year draft under new, superior leadership.
Pat Kirwan, Senior Analyst at nfl.com put together his mock draft that is fairly conservative, with little risk taking at the top. Kirwan has the Falcons taking Peria Jerry DT, Mississippi, with the 24th selection:
The Falcons have to beef up the middle of their defense with solid young run stoppers. Jerry is a 300-pound run stuffer who will not be available later in the draft. His 32 tackles for a loss in the last two years at Mississippi tells you the kind of inside force he can be.
It is not a surprise to me that UGA’s Matthew Stafford is the top QB (whether he deserves that honor is a different post), but it is surprising that he slips all the way to the Jaguars with the 8th selection. I do not disagree with the Lions taking an offensive tackle (Jason Smith, Baylor) with the top pick. Building inside out is the way to go. Besides the Lions have two first round picks, they need help across the board, and they are pretty much snake-bitten with their top selections. Go ultra conservative. A simple and safe approach should make for better Thanksgiving Day football.
Kansas City needs a QB, so maybe they are just posturing if they have Kirwan convinced that they are going to go LB (Aaron Curry, Wake Forest) with their first pick, number three overall.
I am not sure when the last time a running back was taken this late in the draft, but UGA’s Knowshon Moreno could be a steal if he actually slips to New England (24th selection).
OK, back to the Falcons. If they can get pressure up front, they will be able to somewhat hide an exposed secondary. Maybe. The Falcons are going to have to address the defensive line and secondary with their first two picks, so the order needs to be most likely to be successful, not necessarily the best talent on the board.