Falcons Mock 2.0

It's coming up quickly. The NFL Draft is only 31 short days away and the Falcons have been meeting with plenty of players they want to focus on. AFI Draft Guy Scott Eklund makes his second attempt at a "Falcons only" draft and who he sees them taking throughout the two days of the annual selection meeting…

Below is a look at how things may fall and an explanation of why I see the team going one way or the other with the pick...

Round 1: TE Brandon Pettigrew, Oklahoma State

In our latest first round mock (post link here) we had the talented tight end falling to the Falcons at the 24th selection and he was just too good to pass up.

Last year, Falcons tight ends caught only 19 of rookie QB Matt Ryan's 265 completions. That has to change and Pettigrew would immediately upgrade the position and would be a starter the moment he arrives in Flowery Branch.

USC LB Rey Maualuga would be tough to pass up, but the Falcons are set in the middle with Curtis Lofton and neither would be able to move outside and be very effective.

If Pettigrew is available, the only way I see the Falcons passing on him is if USC OLB Brian Cushing where still on the board.

Round 2: S Patrick Chung, Oregon

This one is tough to call. If Clint Sintim is still available early in the middle of the second round, it wouldn't surprise me at all if the Falcons traded up to select him.

However, assuming he goes earlier than that, Atlanta would then look to fill their strong safety position with a young ball-hawk who can be a leader and Chung fits that bill perfectly.

He's a heady player who has the necessary ball-skills and tackling ability to be successful at free or strong safety.

Other possibilities here include USC DT Fili Moala, Missouri S William Moore or Connecticut LB Cody Brown.

Round 3: LB Nic Harris, Oklahoma

Harris played safety for the Sooners, but he'll need to play linebacker in the NFL because he just isn't fluid enough to play safety at the pro level.

He's a heady player who has outstanding athleticism and he hits like a ton of bricks. He should be able to cover tight ends or flare out to cover backs out of the backfield and with his quickness and football I.Q. he could be a steal at this point in the draft.

If the draft falls this way, I expect an outside linebacker to be selected in this position, but if not the Falcons could look at players like Virginia Tech CB Victor Harris, San Jose State CB Coye Francies, Georgia CB Asher Allen or San Jose State DT Jarron Gilbert.

Round 4: OT Sebastian Vollmer, Houston

The Falcons need to look at adding a prospect to take retired Todd Weiner's right tackle position and at the very least provide depth.

Vollmer, along with Oregon's Fenuki Tupou and Oklahoma's Phil Loadholt would be good selections in the fourth round to put on the opposite side of Sam Baker who struggled some as a rookie, but should settle in at left tackle.

Vollmer (6-8, 320) is huge and he's got good feet for such a big man. Because of Houston's scheme, he's already a solid pass-blocker and he could end up being an upgrade over Tyson Clabo.

Round 5: CB Dominique Johnson, Jackson State

Johnson comes from a small school, but he's big (6-2, 195) and he plays a physical game. Where he struggles is in man-to-man, however, with so much zone being played in the NFL, his game should transition nicely.

Also, with his size, Johnson is also a good tackler and he could even move to a free safety position if necessary.

Johnson is a player who can come in and provide depth for a season before challenging for playing time in his second year at either safety or corner.

Round 6(a): LB Jonathan Casillas, Wisconsin

Casillas has plenty of speed and he's a heady player, but because of his size, teams have started to question whether he can hold up at the next level in a linebacker role. He isn't fluid enough to play safety and he's been durable, so until proven otherwise, Casillas could be a solid special teams contributor and possibly a situational player in the NFL at outside linebacker.

Round 6(b): DT George Hypolite, Colorado

Hypolite is underrated.

Because he is undersized (6-3, 285) and he isn't an elite athlete, he's been a bit overlooked, but he's a high motor-guy who is also a leader and he's exactly the type of player teams want on their rosters.

Hypolite has been super-productive the past three seasons for the Buffaloes, starting 36 games and notching 146 tackles, 12.5 sacks and 33 tackles-for-loss.

He'd add solid depth to the Falcons line and could push for a regular position in the rotation early in his NFL career just because of his intangibles and his value at this point in the draft would be off the charts.

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