Atlanta Falcons Pre Free Agency Seven Round Mock Draftby Mike Fanelli March 7, 2021 0 comments
After cleaning house in both the front office and coaching staff, the Atlanta Falcons face their most important draft in over a decade. The last time Atlanta had a top-five selection was in 2008 when they selected former Boston College quarterback Matt Ryan with the third overall pick. This year the Falcons have the fourth overall pick after finishing the season with a 4-12 record. Before free agency kicks off, let’s take a look at how Atlanta could attack the 2021 NFL Draft in this seven-round mock draft.
To help with this mock draft, I used The Draft Network’s mock draft simulator.
Make sure to check out all of our other NFL Team Mock Drafts.
Round 1, Pick 4: Justin Fields, QB, Ohio State
Ryan will turn 36 years old in May. However, he threw for 4,581 yards last season, making in the 10th year in a row that Ryan threw for 4,000 or more yards. The problem for the Falcons is they likely won’t have a top-five pick again anytime soon. Furthermore, Ryan has an out in his contract after next season that the Falcons will likely exploit. In his two seasons at Ohio State, Fields totaled 78 touchdowns compared to only nine interceptions. He also completed a career-high 70.2 percent of his passes in 2020. Some have concerns about Fields’ ability to make multiple reads. However, sitting a year behind Ryan will give him the time needed to develop his game.
For more on Fields, check out our scouting report on him here.
Round 2, Pick 35: Gregory Rousseau, EDGE, Miami
Almost a year ago to the day, the Falcons handed Dante Fowler Jr. a lot of money when they signed him to a three-year contract. However, despite coming off a career-year 11.5 sacks in 2019, Fowler failed to live up to his contract’s expectations. The Falcons had only 29 sacks in 2020, while Fowler had a career-low three. Given their cap situation, the Falcons could move on from Fowler. Even if they don’t, they need to add help at defensive end. Meanwhile, Rousseau opted out of the 2020 season, but the last time he stepped on the field, he had 15.5 sacks for Miami. If Rousseau makes it to the Falcons with this pick, it might be the steal of the draft.
15.5 sacks ✔️
2019 ACC Defensive Rookie of the Year ✔️
2019 Freshman All-America ✔️
Gregory Rousseau delivered one of most dominant seasons by a defensive lineman in Miami history. 🙌 pic.twitter.com/rrrMVynb91
— ACC Football (@ACCFootball) March 30, 2020
Round 3, Pick 68: Chazz Surratt, LB, North Carolina
On paper, the Falcons don’t have a hole at linebacker as Deion Jones is one of the best in the league, and Foyesade Oluokun had a career-year in 2020. However, Oluokun is entering a contract year and might not be back with the team in 2022. Furthermore, two of the Falcons’ backup linebackers are free agents in a few weeks. Surratt is new to the linebacker position, only playing it for two years. However, in those two years, Surratt had 206 tackles, including 22.5 for a loss and 12.5 sacks. While he is still learning the position, Surratt has already shown plenty of promise. With Oluokun entering a contract year, Surratt could turn into a critical starter in 2022.
Round 4, Pick 108: Ar’Darius Washington, SAF, TCU
A few weeks ago, the Falcons released veteran safety Ricardo Allen. However, that move leaves the Falcons with several holes at the safety position. Both starting safeties, Damontae Kazee and Keanu Neal, are upcoming free agents. Furthermore, reserve safety Sharrod Neasman is also a free agent in a few weeks. Hopefully, the Falcons can squeeze out the needed cap space to re-sign one of the veterans but still need depth at safety. Over his last two seasons at TCU, Washington had 86 total tackles and five interceptions. Given the Falcons’ situation at safety, Washington might start as a rookie.
For more on Washington, check out our scouting report on him here.
Round 5, Pick 149: Rhamondre Stevenson, RB, Oklahoma
Many mock drafts have the Falcons selecting Najee Harris with their second-round pick. However, Harris might end up going in the first round, and the Falcons have more critical needs than running back to address. Instead of spending a top pick on Harris, the Falcons can target Stevenson on day three. In six games last season, Stevenson had seven rushing touchdowns and averaged almost seven yards per carry. Stevenson’s physical style of running would fit new head coach Arthur Smith‘s offense perfectly.
We gotta start talking about Rhamondre Stevenson in this draft cycle. The Oklahoma running back is a TANK that can scoot for a big man. He's a nightmare to tackle. I could see him being a target for a team late day two/early day three. pic.twitter.com/oYPVVmxvHf
— Zack Patraw (@NFL_Zack) January 10, 2021
Round 5, Pick 181: Shaka Toney, DE, Penn State
Given the Falcons’ problems rushing the pass last season, it should be no surprise to see them use multiple picks on defensive ends. Not only was Fowler a disappointment last season, but his running mate, Charles Harris, is a free agent. Given his struggles last season, Harris likely won’t be back in 2021. During his time at Penn State, Toney had 28.5 tackles for a loss to go along with 20 sacks. Even after adding Rousseau in the second round, the Falcons would be wise to double up and select another pass rusher on day three.
Round 5, Pick 183: Shakur Brown, CB, Michigan State
Last year the Falcons used their first-round pick on cornerback AJ Terrell. It wasn’t the only recent pick the Falcons used on the position. They also used a 2019 fourth-round pick on Kendall Sheffield and a 2018 second-round pick on Isaiah Oliver. However, in the NFC South, you can’t have too much depth at cornerback. Despite a shortened 2020 season, Brown had a career-high five interceptions. Brown might never turn into a starter for the Falcons; however, with Oliver heading into a contract year, adding depth at cornerback is needed.
Two-pick Shakur. 😉
— Big Ten Network (@BigTenNetwork) November 14, 2020
Round 6, Pick 189: Shi Smith, WR, South Carolina
The Falcons have one of the best wide receiver duos in the league as both Julio Jones and Calvin Ridley are Pro Bowl players. Furthermore, Russell Gage has developed into an impactful third receiver. However, Gage will be a free agent after the 2021 season, and the depth behind him is thin. In his final season at South Carolina, Smith had a career-high 57 catches for 633 yards and four touchdowns. Then he had a great week at the Senior Bowl. While adding a wide receiver isn’t a critical need for the Falcons, adding one on day three is the smart move to make.
For more on Smith, check out our scouting report on him here.
Round 6, Pick 218: Alaric Jackson, OT, Iowa
Starting offensive tackles Jake Matthews and Kaleb McGary are under contract for the next three seasons. However, backup tackle John Wetzel is a free agent, and the depth at offensive tackle is already thin. Iowa has a history of producing NFL level offensive linemen, and Jackson is no different. As a four-year starter, Jackson is ready for the NFL game. However, Jackson is inconsistent from one snap to another. Despite the inconsistent play, the Falcons can secure their new swing tackle with this selection.