Monday, February 20, 2017

2017 NFL Mock Draft: First Edition

Now that the Super Bowl LI debacle is “behind us”, the Atlanta Falcons can now focus on a critical aspect, the 2017 NFL Draft. Last season, the 2016 Draft class was vital to the Falcons successful run. Rookies Keanu Neal, Deion Jones, Austin Hooper, and De’Vondre Campbell all played key roles that help the Falcons reach Super Bowl LI. 

Here is DBN Fanatics first full, 7-round mock draft for the Atlanta Falcons in the upcoming NFL Draft.

1st round, 31st overall: Defensive Tackle Caleb Brantley, Florida 

Brantley is an athletic defensive tackle that will be a nice addition at the 3-Tech position for Atlanta. We saw late in the season how much Ra’Shede Hageman improved as well as Grady Jarrett, who recorded a record three sacks in the Super Bowl. Adding Brantley to the rotation will give the Falcons arguably their best disruptor at the position. Three athletic defensive tackles are better than none. 

2nd round, 63rd overall: Defensive End Jordan Willis, Kansas State 

Willis provides another young up-and-coming pass rusher for a Falcons defensive line that can use another guy to take some of the pressure off the 2016 NFL Sack leader, edge rusher Vic Beasley Jr. 

3rd round, 95th overall: Guard Dorian Johnson, Pittsburgh 

Pitt offensive lineman Dorian Johnson (53) could be the first Belle Vernon High School player to be taken in the NFL draft since Bill Contz was chosen by Cleveland in 1983. - Courtesy Pitt

A solidly built offensive lineman with a dab of athleticism that will give the Falcons a younger option at guard with veteran lineman Chris Chester facing free agency. 

4th round, 135th overall: Tight End Jonnu Smith, Florida International 

Smith is under-the-radar at the moment but his skills translate well to the Falcons offense. Not elite in any category but overall solid. 
Florida International tight end Jonnu Smith (87) led all tight ends nationally with 61 receptions for 710 yards and eight touchdowns in 2014. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)

5th round, 176th overall: Outside LineBacker Steven Taylor, Houston 

Taylor provides quality depth at the linebacker position. The team may move on from Phillip Wheeler and possibly Brooks Reed this offseason and in that event, Taylor shores up the position. 

7th round, 252nd overall: Wide Receiver Isaiah McKenzie, Georgia 

McKenzie is electric in the open field. As a returner, McKenzie is a solid upgrade from veteran Eric Weems. A training camp battle between McKenzie and 2016 seventh rounder Devin Fuller will be interesting to watch.