Atlanta Falcons NFL Draft Prospect Mock Draft Lukas Van Ness - Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
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Falcons Go High-Upside Edge in Bucky Brooks’ Mock Draft

The NFL Draft seemed relatively simple a few weeks ago. Four quarterbacks would go high, and the Atlanta Falcons would have their pick of talented position players at No. 8.

The days leading up to the NFL Draft may have changed things with questions at the top of the draft, including quarterbacks.’s Bucky Brooks released his latest mock draft which shows the Houston Texans throwing a curveball at No. 2 and selecting Texas Tech edge Tyree Wilson.

The Texans get their quarterback at No. 12 when they select Kentucky’s Will Levis, but Florida’s Anthony Richardson is on the board until the Baltimore Ravens end his wait at No. 22.

With two quarterbacks falling out of the top 10, the Falcons sit back and watch edge Will Anderson, cornerbacks Christian Gonzalez and Devon Witherspoon, and defensive lineman Jalen Carter go in the top-seven picks.

Not an ideal situation for the Falcons.

With the eighth pick, Bucky Brooks has the Falcons taking high-upside edge rusher Lukas Van Ness from Iowa.

The Dirty Birds desperately need a high-energy pass rusher with inside-outside position flexibility. Van Ness is a talented technician with a nonstop motor and an intriguing set of tools.

Bucky Brooks,

This isn’t the first time Van Ness has been linked to the Falcons.’s Daniel Jeremiah had the Falcons taking Van Ness as early as January.

At 6’5 and 275 pounds with 4.58 speed, Van Ness is a physical package the Falcons haven’t had on the edge since John Abraham. From 2006 thru 2012, Abraham had 68.5 sacks in his seven seasons with the Falcons.

Van Ness is relatively new to the game of football, having been a hockey player growing up. The Falcons used a first round pick on a similar player in 1999 when they took former-lacrosse star Patrick Kerney. Kerney spent eight seasons with the Falcons, registering 82.5 sacks.

At No. 8, the Falcons are in an enviable position to trade back in the draft, something general manager Terry Fontenot alluded to in his media availability on Tuesday.

If Brooks’ mock holds to form before the Falcons pick, they should be able to make a deal with a team who needs a quarterback.

The Titans, Texans, and Patriots are all teams who could be in the market for a quarterback, each with picks in the top 15.

Atlanta could move back a few spots, pick up several more premium picks AND still get a player like Van Ness, or edge Nolan Smith, or running back Bijan Robinson among others.

The NFL Draft starts Thursday night at 8 p.m. EST, and it promises to be one of the more intriguing drafts in recent memory.

The Falcons are sitting at a pivot point in the draft. They could move up, down, or stay put and add a very talented player to a roster that has improved dramatically in the last two months.

Breaking Down Falcons Pick on the Falcons Podcast
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.