Now, let’s take a look at what these same sites are sating today.
Mel Kiper (ESPN) has the Falcons pursuing DE Bjoern Werner out of Florida State. Here is Kiper’s explanation:
“John Abraham was released, and this pass-rush looks pretty bleak without an addition. Werner’s stock has taken a recent hit, but he was extremely productive at Florida State as a pass-rusher and can step into a 4-3 ready to contribute. The key for him will be whether he continues to develop and adds wrinkles to his repertoire because he was late to football. But Atlanta needs a pass-rusher, period.”
I like this pick a lot. I’ve said over and over that the Falcon’s biggest weakness is on the defensive line. Adding a high-motor guy with a plethora of upside to the roster will pay huge dividends early. It is unclear if Werner, who was once considered the top DE in this class, will still be around by the time Atlanta picks but, if he is, it will be a great addition. Sign a veteran DE (Osi Umeniyora?) to take him under his wing and the Falcons could hit a home run on this one. Lot of upside.
Eric Galko (optimumscouting.com) has the Falcons selecting TE Zach Ertz out of Stanford. Here is his take:
“Even with Tony Gonzales returning, the Falcons need to find his eventual replacement. Zach Ertz is a Top 15 talent on our board, and is worth grabbing here and sticking behind the best tight end in NFL history for a year.”
Certainly makes sense. In today’s pass-heavy game, the best teams typically have two solid tight ends to line up inside or outside. Tony is coming back, but only for one season. The birds will eventually need to think about a long-term solution to the position. Ertz certainly fits the bill. Big target with exceptional hands. This would be a valuable pick.
Pat Kirwan (CBS Sports) has the Falcons selecting Alex Okafor, DE out of Texas. Here is his take:
“The Falcons have done many things to make another run at the Super Bowl but they have a glaring need at pass rusher. Okafor is a high character guy in the mold of the Falcons’ roster. He can play all down and distances and is talented enough to stand up and drop when defensive coordinator, Mike Nolan gets creative with the scheme.”
Alex Okafor blew my mind in the bowl game this past season when he recorded 4 ½ sacks against Oregon State. Since that game I feel like he has burst onto the radars of many scouts around the league. Okafor would be a great addition to the pass rush. He is a typical 4-3 pass-rusher who can add what the falcons have been lacking: sacks. Overall, this would be a great pick and a solid addition to the defense.
With the draft a little over a month away, mock drafts will continue to fluctuate as pro days come to a close around the country. One thing is certain; many analysts believe the Falcons need to add a pass-rusher. I think it is almost a foregone conclusion that Atlanta will bulk up the pass-rush department with the 30th overall pick.