Jake Matthews to the Falcons with the sixth overall pick isn’t a foreign idea. In the AtlantaFalcons.com Mock Monitor, the Texas A&M offensive tackle has been routinely linked to the Falcons’ first-round pick and this week, Matthews was selected by five different analysts, including ESPN’s Mel Kiper.
Kiper’s nabbed Matthews for the Falcons in his last three mock drafts and recently released a three-round mock draft that looks into other areas the Falcons may address on Day 2 of the draft (subscription required), after selecting Matthews.
Kiper looks to the defensive side of the ball, selecting Ohio State linebacker Ryan Shazier and Oregon State defensive end Scott Crichton in the second and third rounds.
Most would expect an athlete like Shazier not to fall to the Falcons in the second round, but it’s encouraging that Kiper believes it could happen. In Shazier, the Falcons would get an ultra-athletic linebacker that can cover, blitz and tackle. At his Pro Day in March, he ran in the 4.36 range in the 40 and at the Combine in February, Shazier’s 42-inch vertical was tops among every participant at the event. What he lacks in size (6-foot-1, 237), he makes up with explosive speed and quicks.
The 6-foot-3, 273-pound Crichton would make an interesting piece to add to the pass-rushing stable of young players on the roster already. Crichton won’t wow you with athleticism and even his height leaves a little to be desired, but he’s been a durable, three-year starter at Oregon State with good tackling ability, long arms and an ability to force fumbles in addition to seeking sacks (he has 10 career FFs).
As we get closer to the draft, mocks that include additional rounds will continue to come out. In a deep draft like this year’s, starting-caliber players will be available as late as the third round, so it’s going to be interesting to see who some of the experts think the Falcons will take. Kiper’s haul would turn out to be a pretty good one, adding talent to both lines and landing an explosive playmaker at linebacker.