Lukas Van Ness Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports Atlanta Falcons
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Falcons Go High-Risk/High Reward in’s Mock Draft

The Atlanta Falcons have poured two top-ten draft picks into the offense the last two NFL Drafts, and they still have big needs across every level of their defense.

Edge rusher is going to be one of the top priorities for the Falcons, and fortunately for Atlanta, this appears to be a deep class for edge rushers.

“I’d argue that EDGE is the strongest position group in the draft this year. No matter the scheme, there’s prospects for it,” wrote ESPN’s Jordan Reid on Twitter. “Outstanding group this year.”

A new name has been put forth by’s Daniel Jeremiah as a possible selection at No. 8 by the Falcons in the form of Lukas Van Ness of the Iowa Hawkeyes.

Van Ness is extremely explosive and has the versatility to play up and down the line. He is a finisher as a pass rusher and he can overpower blockers in the run game. He should test very well in the spring. — Daniel Jeremiah,

Van Ness is a name that has been rapidly ascending after the season because of the tools he brings to the table. At 6’5 and 265 pounds, Van Ness has tremendous athleticism, length and flexibility, but he’s relatively inexperienced.

He was a hockey player who didn’t begin playing football until the eighth grade according to the Draft Network.

He wasn’t a starter at Iowa yet still racked up 13 sacks in his two seasons with the Hawkeyes.

Van Ness will almost definitely go in the first round, but do the Falcons pass on players such as Clemson’s Myles Murphy and Bryan Breese on the defensive line or even quarterback C.J. Stroud of Ohio State.

Those are three of several players still available on Jeremiah’s mock when the Falcons pick.

The Falcons have the No. 8 pick overall and needs at premium positions that should be available when they pick… specifically edge.

Van Ness is just another good option as the Falcons turn their attention to the defensive side of the ball in 2023.

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Scott Kennedy
Scott Kennedy is an Atlanta native and 20 year media veteran including time as Director of Scouting at, Managing Editor at 247Sports, VP Content Operations at Sports Illustrated and more. Scott has appeared as a recruiting and NFL Draft analyst on dozens of media including ESPN, NFL Network, USA Today, NY Times, and more.