As we prepare for the draft on April 30, we want to go through several scenarios as to how things may fall for the Falcons when they pick at number eight in the first round.
Here is the first of several mock drafts we will do to simply see who might be available for the Falcons when they are on the clock.
1. Tampa Bay- Jamies Winston – QB – FSU
There doesn’t seem to be much drama here. If the Bucs were to choose Marcus Mariota there would be immediate drama, but they seem content on taking Winston with the first pick.
2. Tennessee- Marcus Mariota – QB – Oregon
This is where the drama begins. We will go ahead and put Mariota here for this scenario, but the Titans could take Leonard Williams or they could even trade the pick to San Diego.
3. Jacksonville- Dante Fowler, Jr. – DE – Florida
The Jags could take Leonard Williams here. They could take Amari Cooper to give Blake Bortles an elite receiver. This is as much of a wildcard as any pick in the top eight.
4. Oakland - Amari Cooper – WR – Alabama
They have been linked with a receiver for so long that it’s hard to think that won’t be the way they’ll go, but it’s the Raiders. Williams is a possibility, as is West Virginia’s Kevin White.
5. Washington - Leonard Williams – DL – USC
The Redskins should be thrilled if Williams slides down to number five. They may be tempted with Vic Beasley, but if Williams is still on the board he’ll likely be the selection.
6. NY Jets - Vic Beasley – LB – Clemson
Who knows? If Mariota is gone, this pick could be traded. And there will be a trade before the Falcons pick. It could be Kevin White here. They may take Shane Ray. It’s wide open.
7. Chicago - Kevin White – WR – West Virginia
The Bears could give Jay Cutler a huge target, so it could be either White or Cooper. There has been talk they could trade this pick.
So if this is how it falls, here are the players who would be available to the Falcons:
Shane Ray – DE – Missouri
Bud Dupree – DE – Kentucky
Randy Gregory – DE – Nebraska
Brandon Scherff – OL – Iowa
Trae Waynes – CB – Michigan State
Todd Gurley – RB – Georgia
The defensive ends to pick from would be Ray, Dupree and Gregory. Ray’s stock has seemed to drop a bit recently, at least in some of the mocks out there. Many believe Ray could fall into the middle of the first round.
Scherff is the best offensive lineman in the draft, and it’s likely he would be picked by the Giants at number nine right after Atlanta’s selection. Waynes is the best cornerback in the draft, and with new head coach Dan Quinn a fan of tall cornerbacks, Waynes should not be ignored as a possibility.
Would the Falcons be tempted here to take Gurley, who could immediately help the situation at running back? Also, owner Arthur Blank may not say it publicly, but he knows the former Georgia Bulldog would help sell his personal seat licenses in the new stadium.
Who would the Falcons take here in this scenario? I think their need for a pass rusher would make them pull the trigger on Ray. I would not agree with this pick. I would take Scherff, Waynes or Gurley, with Scherff the likely favorite for me as I am not convinced Atlanta’s offensive line is in good shape.
It seems Fowler and Beasley are better scheme fits for the pass rushers. If they are off the board, it could be a very interesting selection for the Falcons at number eight.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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