Well, here we go; Arthur Smith is going into the year ready to draft another offensive player in the first round. Due to the unique nature of their division, the Falcons sit in the middle of the draft. Desmond Ridder has shown grit, but his talent level isn't there to lead this team to a Super Bowl.
Atlanta has a strong defense and excellent potential on offense. They need the right coach and QB, which, in my opinion, isn't Ridder or Arthur Smith. They both need to go to start a new regime.
All these weapons are still young, and the defense is top-notch. The new coach could be a whole different article so that I won't speculate there just yet. This piece is about a three-round mock draft with no trades for the Falcons.
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Round 1 Pick 19: Bo Nix QB Oregon
This is more about a position of need for the Falcons than a player I genuinely love. Still, despite my gripes about Nix, he has turned himself into a competent Dual Threat quarterback who can run an offense with talent around him tailored to his skill sets. Throughout college, he has attempted 1901 passes and completed 1258 for a completion percentage of 66.2 for 14,989 yards, 108 touchdowns, and 26 interceptions. He has also added 404 carries for 1608 yards and 38 touchdowns.
"Nix's footwork and mobility allow him to extend plays outside the pocket, and his arm talent, especially off-platform throws, is evident. However, his on-field IQ needs polishing. He occasionally displays sloppy mechanics and lacks pocket awareness, leading to questionable decisions under duress." NFLDraftBuzz.com
Nix isn't the best QB prospect in this draft, but he does have a solid ceiling and what should be a high floor. The decision here was between Nix and Penix; I went with Nix because of mobility, and Penix has some medical issues that could cause problems with his career in the NFL.
Round 2 Pick 53: T'Vondre Sweat DL Texas
Calais Campbell has been a great addition to this Atlanta team, but he could retire after an incredible career, so they should add to this defense with a player like Sweat. He is a great run stuffer and gets interior pressure on the QB. At 6'5 and 364 pounds, this guy is a game wrecker at the next level.
"Combines strength and footwork to fill holes inside, as well. Recovers from cut blocks or falling on his way to make a tackle. Penetrates through gaps, often forcing running backs to elude him or the back end of the offensive lineman he's pushing before they even reach the line." NFLDraftBuzz.com
Sweat paired with Ebiketie, Onyemata, and Bud Dupree is a very underrated but dangerous line. If Campbell does stay, then Sweat can learn from him, and the Falcons have a veteran in the rotation to come in on big downs.
Round 3 Pick 84: Calen Bullock USC
No one is questioning that Jessie Bates is the guy in Atlanta; he has made more game-winning plays than Ridder, but Richie Grant, Hellams, and Dee Alford are more rotational pieces. Bullock could start opposite of Bates to form an even better secondary unit. Bullock is a freak out there, has good ball skills, and is typically in the correct position.
"His length and leaping ability allow him to high-point the ball and make plays. Bullock would have had bigger interception numbers in college had opposing quarterbacks not gone out of their way to avoid him. He’s also very good in zone coverage, showing a great understanding of routes and the ability to close quickly." NFLDraftBuzz.com
At 6'3 " and 190 pounds, it allows him to take up a lot of space in the back end of a defense; with more and more teams using a two-high safety look, he would fit nicely alongside a playmaker like Bates.
End Of Rant
The Atlanta Falcons came into the season with one of the most promising offensive skill player groups in the league but has ultimately disappointed. However, they are still in the driver's seat for the NFC South and could make the playoffs.
If they fall out of that spot, they could be picked earlier in the draft, which could change these results, but as of this article, Nix, Sweat, and Bullock are who I am going with. A new QB and some exciting pieces for the already good defense.