Tuesday, April 5, 2016

2016 NFL Mock Draft: Raekwon's Perspective

1st Round: Outside Linebacker/Safety Su'A Cravens (USC)

Su'A Cravens Pick Six against Oregon State

At 6'1, 228 pounds, Su'a Cravens spent most of his college career at USC playing both safety and linebacker and proved to be one of the most versatile players in this year's draft. He has nice combination of speed, power, and ball skills. All are traits that the Falcons need for Dan Quinn’s defense. 

Su'a Cravens making a solid tackle against Notre Dame

Now at 17, drafting Cravens could be a steep price to pay and if Atlanta is left with Cravens as their choice, we could possibly consider trading down into the mid-20's. With only five draft picks to spare and the possibility of choosing Cravens, news of a Draft Day Trade should be on the horizon. 

2nd round: Offensive Guard Nick Martin (Notre Dame)  

There are multiple glaring needs on Atlanta's roster heading into the 2016 season but none have been ignored more than the issues at the guard position. Last season, guard Chris Chester held the right guard position but now he's a free agent and it seems that Mike Parson may be transitioning to guard. I don't know how good the front office or Falcons fans feel having Person start in the guard position; fortunately,  there are some solid options available in this draft class. 

Nick Martin, brother of all-pro guard Zack Martin, is a lineman in his own right. Playing most of his career at all five positions at Notre Dame, Martin brings a great blend of toughness, versatility, and intelligence to any team that selects him during the month. At 6'4, 300 pounds, size isn't the issue; however, teams are concerned about his ability to move onto the second level; however, drafting Martin in the second wouldn't be a bad selection. 

3rd round: Linebacker Deion Jones (LSU)

Deion Jones pick six against Eastern Michigan

I’m sure that anyone that’s following NFL draft updates or even updates are hearing about linebacker Deion Jones from LSU. The speedy linebacker whom reportedly ran around the 4.3 - 4.4 range at his Pro Day, impressed scouts throughout his first season as a true starter, the Senior Bowl week, and with private workouts. 

Deion Jones getting pressure on Dak Prescott (Courtesy- Murf Baldwin)

At only 6'1, 228 pounds, many speculated a move to safety would better for Jones but many evaluators view him as a weak-side linebacker who will excel in space. Honestly, there aren't many defensive players with the athleticism similar to Jones in the current draft and some of his best attributes are seen when he’s making an impact in space or his solid skills to read and react to an opponent’s game plan. 

Selecting Jones in the third would be a great value pick, especially with the depleting talent at linebacker for the Falcons. 

4th round: Safety Miles Killebrew (Southern Utah)

Killebrew making a solid tackle!

Versatility is a huge aspect in Dan Quinn's defense and it doesn't go unnoticed. Safety Miles Killebrew brings a great element of physicality and toughness when he plays along the line and will remind fans of a very familiar player….. Former Falcons safety and Pro-Bowler William Moore. 

Miles Killebrew with a pick six against Nevada
Defensive coordinator Richard Smith loves to put three safeties sets on base downs and Killebrew could fit into that scheme as a nickel linebacker. His ability to cover in close space isn't as impressive as most safeties, but he plays to his size by becoming a physical presence.  

Killebrew's physical presence could boost Atlanta's defense

Getting Killebrew would mean that Atlanta is truly dedicated to fixing their defensive problems not only with our glaring need at safety but with another critical need for the Falcons defense, which is the  linebacker core.

7th round: Defensive Tackle Darius Latham (Indiana)

Darius Latham getting after the quarterback

Building solid depth at the interior defensive line position could prove to be critical to the development of the Falcons' defense. Adding a player like Latham could bring in a guy who could help rotate during run situations. This also could be a move more to pushing Tyson Jackson.

- Raekwon Gilbert (@RXGilbert97)

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