There are a million NFL mock drafts every year, but when one is released on the official Atlanta Falcons site, it seems to have a little more juice.
Falcons digital managing editor Scott Bair released his first mock draft on Monday, and he had Atlanta getting a partner for cornerback A.J. Terrell.
Bair has the Falcons selecting LSU cornerback Derek Stingley Jr. with the No. 8 overall pick.
Says Bair of the selection:
“The Falcons add an elite talent at a premium position, teaming the LSU product up with A.J. Terrell to form what could be one of the NFL’s best cornerback tandems,” wrote Bair. “If Stingley can find and improve on the form he showed a few years back, the Falcons will have a true lockdown corner. The early runs on edge rusher and offensive tackle prevent them from going in that direction, but they still fill a need with the best player on the board.”
Stingley looked like a possible No 1. overall pick his freshman season at LSU, but his stock has dropped slightly the last two seasons in part because of concerns with a lingering-foot injury.
If Stingley gets a clean bill of health during the medical evaluations and has excellent workouts at the NFL Combine and/or his pro day, he might not be available for the Falcons at No. 8.
If the Falcons decide to go cornerback in the draft, Ahmad “Sauce” Gardner of Cincinnati is getting a lot of consideration as the top cornerback in this draft. Bair has Gardner going No. 10 overall to the New York Jets.
The Falcons desperately need help on both lines of scrimmage as well. They finished dead last in the NFL in sacks last season by some distance, so an edge rusher would seem to be a priority.
But if the right edge rusher isn’t available, adding another lock-down corner to the defense could indirectly help the pass rush by allowing defensive coordinator Dean Pees more options with bringing pressure with the blitz.
The Falcons have two second-round picks, and they could use one or both of those to address the deficiencies on the defensive line in what appears to be a deep class.