Falcons Mock Draft

Falcons 2021 NFL Mock Draft: A New Era Starts Off Right

  • 2021 NFL Draft
  • 2021 NFL Mock Draft
  • Atlanta
  • Atlanta Falcons
  • Caden Sterns
  • Carlos Basham Jr.
  • Charles Snowden
  • Cole Van Lanen
  • falcons
  • Josh Palmer
  • Michael Carter
  • mock draft
  • NFC
  • NFC South
  • NFL
  • NFl Draft
  • Penei Sewell
  • Quincy Roche
  • Talanoa Hufanga
By Alex Wood February 22, 2021 0 Comment
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With the NFL season officially behind us and #DraftSZN in full swing, this Atlanta Falcons Mock Draft looks at which players could become fully integrated members of the squad once selected at the 2021 NFL Draft later this year.

Just over four years ago, the Falcons were on their way to winning their first Super Bowl, with Tom Brady and the New England Patriots on the ropes. But after making the playoffs in 2017, the Falcons suffered three losing seasons in a row, which has not happened in Atlanta for twenty years. Long-time general manager Thomas Dimitroff and embattled head coach Dan Quinn were both let go after this past season. Now, the Falcons are in a transition season, with a new front office and a new head coach entering a new era.

It is safe to say the Atlanta Falcons’ roster has holes, and this draft can hopefully fix some of them. Additionally, there is the big question surrounding the quarterback position. Will the new era pull the plug on everyone and restart everything? Or will they give the players of the past regime a chance to prove themselves?

To mock this scenario, we utilized the Pro Football Focus Mock Draft Simulator. Not only does the simulator allow trades, but it will enable variability with sliders like “draft for team need” and “randomness.” One thing is always a certainty on draft day—anything can happen. So, while you may not think players dropping is fair, or if we messed with the system, it one hundred percent legitimate. It is a fun exercise that opens your mind to some potential possibilities. Moreover, it is a way to get to know some of these players in a deeper context.

Round 1. Pick 4 Penei Sewell (LT, Oregon)

Picture the thousands of Atlanta Falcons’ fans screaming at the screen if this pick happened; ushering in a new era with an offensive lineman? But turning down a player like Sewell is very difficult. In this particular draft, the top three quarterbacks were all taken with the top three picks. Sewell shores up the offensive line and gives Matt Ryan a chance for a resurgent Aaron Rodgers-like season. Ryan can turn in an MVP season as we saw back in 2016. If the flip side happens and ‘Matty Ice’ melts, next year’s class contains multiple promising prospects in Sam Howell and Spencer Rattler.

Sewell offers so much for the Falcons, especially in the run game; PFF ranked the Oregon alum first in Run Blocking last season. Sewell will also provide help on the offensive line’s left-hand side, where 38 percent of Matt Ryan’s pressures came from last season. Ryan also has been sacked 131 times since 2018, far too much for any quarterback. Protecting Ryan can help the Falcons win more games, plain and simple.

Round 2. Pick 35 Carlos Basham Jr. (Edge, Wake Forest)

Moving into the second round of this mock draft, the Falcons turn to the other side of the trenches. Getting to the quarterback, or the failure to, was a significant issue for the Falcons last season. The Falcons have multiple bendy, explosive pass rushers that work around different angles. But new defensive coordinator Dean Pees loves a powerful pass rusher. Basham Jr. is just that, offering great power and impressive technique. Teams may pass on Basham Jr. because he’s a bit of a tweener (6’3″, 281). But an imaginative coordinator like Pees should be able to design a role for Basham to succeed in.

Round 3. Pick 68 Michael Carter (RB, North Carolina)

Michael Carter had tremendous elusiveness, which complements Todd Gurley very well in the Atlanta Falcons running back room. Carter’s style is all about movement and energy. He’s super smooth, allowing him to perform jump cuts and direction changes with relative ease. He’s an extremely agile, elusive runner, and that’s at the forefront of all of his tape.

The production that Carter established in his final two seasons is nothing to shy away from, as he collected 2,669 yards from scrimmage and 16 touchdowns. The more astonishing fact is he did that sitting at 5’7″ and 202 pounds, which for any NFL player is slim. If you put that with a high 4.4 low-4.5 40-yard dash, Carter can be a weapon in any modern NFL offense.

Round 4. Pick 108 Quincy Roche (Edge, Miami)

With the first Day 3 pick of this Falcons mock draft, Atlanta grabs an explosive edge defender. After three seasons at Temple and earning AAC Defensive player of the year in 2019, Roche transferred to Miami for the 2020 season. Roche’s production dipped slightly for the Hurricanes. But the linebacker showed he can be flexible and athletic. The technique actively improved throughout the season, as Roche played more and more against better players, promising signs for another step up into the NFL. Provided he keeps his weight above 240 and plays in a two-point stance, teams will kick themselves for passing on Roche.

Round 5. Pick 149 Talanoa Hufanga (Safety, USC)

The Atlanta Falcons need defensive backs, and a late pick-up of Talanoa Hufanga is brilliant. The consensus All-American is a freak athlete who can play in most defensive positions. Hufanga chooses the most violent option on almost every play. He uses athleticism to seek out and destroy a running back. This is also where Hufanga needs to improve as well; durability is a huge thing in the NFL, and the Falcons will hope his shoulder issues are behind him. If Hufanga stays healthy, he will make a significant impact in the Falcons’ defensive back room.

Round 5. Pick 181 Caden Sterns (Safety, Texas)

This is the second of three fifth-round picks in this Falcons mock draft, due to trades and compensatory picks. Atlanta goes with back-to-back safeties, and they could not be more different. Sterns is not as physical as Hufanga, but his coverage ability is excellent. While using his speed and wingspan to force players outside, Sterns can function in both zone and man-to-man coverages with success. Sterns also reads the game brilliantly for a safety, and the rookies’ study of the game is of someone of different age.

Round 5. Pick 183 Charles Snowden (LB, Virginia)

For a linebacker, being 6’6″ is rare, and Snowden uses this to a colossal effect. Being tall, athletic, and gangly, he uses this to get in the way of running lanes, and he is effective in zone coverage. If you were watching Virginia over the past three seasons, it was impossible to miss Snowden. Despite his size, Snowden does need to work on how he uses his hands and keeping separation from blockers. A good developmental pickup for the Atlanta Falcons.

Round 6. Pick 189 Cole Van Lanen (OL, Wisconsin)

In the early sixth round, with their third pick in the 180s, picking up a player like Cole Van Lanen is a steal. What comes off on the tape of Van Lanen is power. It is freaky, along with good foot speed off the line, which creates good separation and gaps for the run game to get a hold of. Because of his size, Van Lanen can maintain stick to rushers. However, when dealing with vertical sets and holding players in place, the 22-year-old struggles. It might take time, but the Falcons will be happy with two good tackle prospects who can help either side.

Round 7. Pick 218. Josh Palmer (WR, Tennessee)

With the final pick in this Falcons mock draft, Atlanta grabs some depth for their wide receiver room. Frequently, great players who did not receive enough opportunities to let their talents flourish fall deep into the draft. Josh Palmer a perfect example of this. His tape is littered with exquisite catches of all types. The speed is not exceptional on Palmer. But the toughness and ability to make catches on balls that really have no business being caught are NFL-level tools. The downside of Palmer’s game is that Tennessee had him running simple routes. His route tree will need to expand to make a real difference in the NFL, but another good pick up with a high ceiling heads to the Atlanta Falcons.

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