Falcons draft scenario number one

What happens if Shane Ray (pictured), Dante Fowler, Jr. and Vic Beasley are all off the board when the Falcons make their pick at number eight in the first round?

There are so many scenarios to play out for the Atlanta Falcons for the NFL Draft. They have the eighth pick in the first round, and while they is great they have that high of a pick to help improve their team, it might just be a dangerous spot.

The Falcons need a pass rusher. They need someone to hurt the quarterback. There are three main players who might be available in the first round who might fit the bill: Florida’s Dante Fowler, Jr., Clemson’s Vic Beasley and Missouri’s Shane Ray.

But what if all three of those players are off the board? What do the Falcons do then? There are several possibilities.

1- They could simply take the next best pass rusher.
That might be Nebraska’s Randy Gregory. That might be Kentucky’s Bud Dupree. But could the Falcons back out of the eighth pick and draft one of those two later in the first round, which at the same time could fetch the Falcons another draft pick if they moved down? Gregory is a gamble, since he is a freak athlete that is not as proven as the other three. Plus, Gregory failed a drug test at the NFL Combine and admitted he’s had a “struggle” with marijuana in the past. Can the Falcons afford to take a gamble on that? No way. They need more of a sure thing. Dupree might be that, but not at eight. That’s a reach. The Falcons could get him somewhere in the middle of the first round, perhaps in the teens.

2- They could take Iowa offensive lineman Brandon Scherff (or another OL).
The Falcons don’t act like they need another offensive lineman. They are trying to sell us a bill of goods that Mike Person is going to start at guard. This is a player that has played in 17 NFL games, and all of a sudden he’s replacing Justin Blalock. Well, they do need another offensive lineman. They would be foolish to ignore this position with this pick, especially if the best lineman in the draft (whomever they deem that to be) is available.

3 – They could take running back Todd Gurley
D. Orlando Ledbetter of the AJC predicted last week this could happen, and he might be right. The Falcons have said Devonta Freeman is the running back. Is he a running back, or the running back? They will draft a running back, and if they feel Gurley is a special talent, would they consider picking him at eight? They might believe they could grab Gurley lower and move down in a trade. But with more and more teams talking with Gurley, his stock might surge before the draft. The Falcons saw closely how great Gurley can be, as he played in their back yard at Georgia. If they believe his recovery from a torn ACL is going well, they would have to consider Gurley in this situation.

4 – They could take a player at another position
Maybe a safety? They need one. Alabama’s Landon Collins could be on the board at eight. They wouldn’t be tempted by Alabama’s Amari Cooper or West Virginia’s Kevin White, the two best wide receivers in the draft, would they? Doubtful. If one of those two slid to eight, the Falcons might consider the next option.

5 – They could trade down
In this scenario, with the three main pass rushers off the board, this remains a possibility. If they have no clear cut replacement, they could simply move down and get more picks. They need more picks. They have a lot of needs, regardless of the prettier picture they are trying to paint. If they’re not sold on Gurley being healthy, or if there is a debate about which offensive lineman is the best, then they just need to trade down if those top three quarterback hunters are off the board.

Listen to “The Bill Shanks Show” from 3-6 p.m. weekdays on WPLA Fox Sports 1670 AM in Macon and online at http://www.foxsports1670.com/. Follow Bill at twitter.com/BillShanks and email him at thebillshanksshow@yahoo.com.

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