On Sunday, the Atlanta Falcons fired head coach Dan Quinn and general manager Thomas Dimitroff, essentially cleaning house. After starting the season 0-5, this move felt inevitable. This offseason, Atlanta will have their hands full as they upgrade talent and build for the future. In this mock draft, we’ll attempt to do just that for the Falcons. We’ll be using The Draft Network‘s mock draft simulator in this seven round mock.
Kyle Pitts, Tight End, Florida
First Round – Pick 10
This season, Kyle Pitts has set himself apart as one of the top pass catchers in this draft class, regardless of position. Even with Hayden Hurst on the roster for the Falcons, I still wouldn’t put it past the franchise to take a look at a vertical tight end, especially when he’s the best available player, as he is in this mock draft.
In drafting Pitts, the Falcons will give quarterback Matt Ryan an additional weapon and safety net. As we’ve seen this season at the University of Florida, Kyle Pitts has been money in the endzone. This may not be their most pressing need, but it’s one that will offer the highest rate of return.
Jevon Holland, Safety, Oregon
Second Round – Pick 42
In the offseason, the Falcons will have to deal with the safety position. Keanu Neal, Sharrod Neasman, and Damontae Kazee are all set to become unrestricted free agents in the offseason. Even if Atlanta is able to re-sign one or two of those players, they’ll still need to upgrade the position.
Jevon Holland is an outstanding safety in the 2021 NFL Draft class. Given that the Falcons are now 0-5 on the season and have fired their Head Coach and General Manager, the defense needs some help. By drafting Holland in this mock draft, then perhaps the Falcons will be able to stay competitive late in games.
Charles Snowden, Linebacker, Virginia
Third Round – Pick 74
In terms of passing yards allowed per game, the Falcons are nearly dead last. More so, Atlanta is average in rushing yards allowed per game. The franchise has depth at the position, but haven’t been able to execute on defense. Needless to say, they should be willing to address the defense early in the 2021 NFL Draft.
Charles Snowden is an absolute playmaker at linebacker. He excels at diagnosing plays quickly at the line of scrimmage. More so, he has a solid ability to tackle ball carriers in the open field. Regardless of who the Atlanta Falcons will hire as Head Coach and as General Manager, this is the type of 2021 NFL Draft prospect that they should target.
Kylin Hill, Running Back, Mississippi State
Fourth Round – Pick 105
Todd Gurley and Brian Hill are both working on the final year of their contracts. This season, Dirk Koetter, the offensive coordinator, has done an excellent job of limiting Gurley’s touches to keep him fresh throughout a game. Even if they are able to bring Gurley back, or sign a prominent free agent running back to replace him, they should spell him with a capable back.
Kylin Hill has looked explosive in Mike Leach’s air raid offense at Mississippi State. Hill is a capable receiver out of the backfield and would be able to take pressure off Matt Ryan should the pocket begin to collapse. Finding Kylin Hill in the fourth round of this mock draft would be a godsend for the Atlanta Falcons.
Tyreke Smith, EDGE, Ohio State
Fifth Round – Pick 137
Takkarist McKinley is set to become an unrestricted free agent after this season. At this point in our mock draft, there isn’t a perfect replacement for the Atlanta Falcons. Rather, I think they could put a band-aid on the position as they look to rebuild the franchise.
Tyreke Smith is likely best-suited to play defensive end in a 4-3 style defense. Even so, if the Falcons move to a different defensive scheme next season, I still think he’d be an asset. More so, Smith is the type of prospect that would provided much needed depth for the Falcons.
Zach Wilson, Quarterback, BYU
Sixth Round – Pick 169
When the 2021 season begins, quarterback Matt Ryan will be 36 years old. Needless to say, he’s on the backside of his career. In the short-term, Atlanta will need to reload as they push for a return to the Playoffs. However, in the long-term, the Falcons should look for a quality project quarterback in this mock draft.
Zach Wilson is an athletic quarterback that has been impressive pushing the ball downfield. I don’t know how many more years Matt Ryan can play at a high-level, but I do believe that Wilson will be able to play in this league. If the Falcons pull the trigger on Zach Wilson, as they have in this mock draft, the 2022 NFL season could be quite interesting.
Dyami Brown, Wide Receiver, North Carolina
Seventh Round – Pick 201
The last pick for the Atlanta Falcons in this mock draft is, perhaps, one of my favorites. Dyami Brown has been instrumental in the success of North Carolina this season. The Atlanta Falcons are pretty well set at the receiver position, but depth wouldn’t hurt, especially this late.
If the Falcons look to spread out the offense, and potentially go with an empty backfield, a wide receiver like Dyami Brown would be a nice addition. Going step further, he would become a solid asset for the Falcons down the road. Julio Jones, who has a steep contract, is set to become a free agent after the 2023 season. Calvin Ridley is set to hit free agency in 2023, but the Falcons have a club option for 2022. This move would be for the future, but has potential to impact in the short-term, too.