The Falcons are a team that looks to have finally accepted a rebuild. Franchise quarterback Matt Ryan is in Indianapolis, and more key players could follow him out the door. While Atlanta doesn’t have a ton of extra picks, they did pick up a few from the Julio Jones and Matt Ryan trades. The Falcons are projected to have a ton of cap space next year, but they will only have 25 rostered players, barring any other extensions or multi-year signings. If Atlanta wants to get some more bodies in the fold, they could look to trade down from the 8th pick. I’m usually in favor of trading down – I like a lot of day two prospects, and I want more bites at the apple to add talent to a roster that badly needs it. As always, I’ll be using the Draft Network’s Mock Simulator for trades and player selections. If you want to check out any of my previous mock drafts, they’re listed below:
Jake’s Falcons Offseason Mock Draft 1.0 (7 Rounds)
Jake’s Falcons Offseason Mock Draft 2.0: Post Senior Bowl (7 Rounds)
Jake’s Falcons Offseason Mock Draft 3.0: Post Combine (7 Rounds)
Jake’s Falcons Offseason Mock Draft 4.0: Matt Ryan, Grady Jarrett, & Deion Jones Trade Scenario (7 Rounds)
Falcons Trade: Pick 8
Packers Trade: Pick 22, Pick 28, Pick 59, Future 2nd Round Pick
Perhaps the Packers make a big move to get Aaron Rodgers one of the big-time receivers in this class, but this looks to be a pretty deep group. Regardless, it’s just a trade hypothetical in a mock draft. Who cares. I’ll be using the Draft Network’s Draft Simulator, and as always, I’ll be looking for testers with traits.
Round 1, Pick 22 (From Green Bay): CB Andrew Booth Jr. – Clemson
How about another lockdown Clemson corner to pair with AJ Terrell? This is an incredibly talented cornerback class, and the Georgia native might be the best one. Andrew Booth has been one of the most impressive defensive players in college football, a rare combination of a sticky man corner with good zone instincts and top tier ball skills. Booth can take away a team’s best receiver, and with AJ Terrell playing like an All Pro, you’re looking at a franchise duo at cornerback. If Isaiah Oliver can come back healthy in 2022 and play the slot as well as he was to start 2021, the Falcons secondary will be looking much better.
Relative Athletic Score: N / A
Round 1, Pick 28 (From Green Bay): EDGE George Karlaftis – Purdue
Karlaftis is a great athlete, and he gets a ton of push up front and has powerful hands that can help him set the edge against the run. He has one of the higher floors in the entire group. Not only does he provide Atlanta with a lot of help against the run immediately, but he also has tremendous athletic upside to develop into a cornerstone pass rusher.
Relative Athletic Score: 9.2 / 10
Round 2, Pick 43: WR Christian Watson – North Dakota State
I’ll take all of your Christian Watson stock right now. Watson moves like a receiver half his size at 6’5 and 210 pounds. He’ll have to get used to an NFL route tree, but with his raw gifts and insane catch radius, I’m calling my shot and saying he’ll be one of the best receivers in this entire class. I had Watson third on this list before the combine, but after he blew me away with his athleticism, I’m comfortable taking him this early in the draft.
Relative Athletic Score: 9.96 / 10
Round 2, Pick 58 (From Tennessee): LB Quay Walker – Georgia
Walker made an incredible jump as a Senior at Georgia, and he was a huge part of the National Championship effort. He is a freak athlete that can cover both sidelines well. With Deion Jones’ future cloudy and Foyesade Oluokun in Jacksonville, the Falcons pick up a potential cornerstone at linebacker. Walker, Karlaftis, and Booth give the Falcons three solid pieces at all three levels of the defense, and adding Watson helps deplete a very weak wide receiver room.
Relative Athletic Score: 9.63 / 10
Round 2, Pick 59 (From Green Bay): EDGE Josh Paschal – Kentucky
Paschal is a prospect I’m really excited about – he is very diverse in his skillset, and he tested off the charts. He moved all around Kentucky’s defense like a chess piece, but he still shows a lot of explosiveness off the edge as a pure pass rusher. He’s a guy that could easily be a massive steal on day two.
Relative Athletic Score: 9.7 / 10
Round 3, Pick 74: RB Breece Hall – Iowa State
I think running back is a luxury pick at this spot, but with an extra third round pick, just take the best player on the board. I was honestly shocked Hall fell this far. I really liked him in the last draft, but he came back to Iowa State and is now one of the most decorated backs in team history. There are a lot of miles on Hall’s legs, but he’s a shifty runner that can move through lanes well. Jonathan Taylor kind of put those “too many miles” arguments to rest in 2021. Hall is a great athlete with tons of upside who can give an NFL team quality carries from day one. He tested off of the charts athletically and really helped out his own draft stock.
Relative Athletic Score: 9.96 / 10
Round 3, Pick 82 (From Indianapolis): IDL Travis Jones – Connecticut
Jones had a fantastic week at the Senior Bowl, showing his ability to rush the passer while plugging holes up the middle at 6’4 and 330 pounds. He’s a stout run defender and a plus athlete that teams will be very interested in on day two.
Relative Athletic Score: 9.39 / 10
Round 4, Pick 114: WR Alec Pierce – Cincinnati
Pierce caught a lot of my attention while watching Desmond Ridder and Jerome Ford. He’s a big bodied receiver with a great catch radius. He seems to grasp Cincinnati’s offense very well, and he fights for the football at the point of attack. Throw in the fact that he went nuclear at the combine, and you’ve got a really, really good looking prospect. The Falcons need help at receiver badly, and Pierce and Watson are a nice young combo to develop in a year that will be focused on development.
Relative Athletic Score: 9.81 / 10
Round 5, Pick 151: P Matt Arazia – San Diego State
A punter in the fifth round may sound crazy, but hear me out – I’ve made this pick before. Thomas Morestead is gone, and the Falcons need a punter. If you know who Matt Araiza is, it will all make sense. He set an FBS record with 51.19 yards per punt in 2021. He also set the NCAA record for punts of 50 yards or more with 39 and the record for punts of 60 yards or more with 18. He also had two punts of 80+ yards in 2021, including an 86-yarder. Why not take a special teams weapon like that in the fifth round? Someone is going to.
Relative Athletic Score: N / A
Round 6, Pick 190: OT Max Mitchell – Louisiana
One of my favorite sleepers in this whole class, Mitchell looks like the perfect candidate for a team looking to develop a starting right tackle. He is a good athlete who played well against top competition, and I think he has the body and skillset to develop into a great player in the NFL. His technique is pretty advanced for a Sun Belt player, making him a fantastic pickup on day three.
Relative Athletic Score: 5.86 / 10
Round 6, Pick 214 (Projected Compensation Pick): TE Daniel Bellinger – San Diego State
Bellinger posted freakish numbers at the combine, and his vertical came in higher than I anticipated as well. He has a great catch radius and is a tough run blocker. While he doesn’t burn anyone on tape or create a lot of separation, he has the makeup to be a mismatch at 6’4 while running a 4.63.
Relative Athletic Score: 9.64 / 10