2022 Falcons Draft Pattern: Week 18 Edition

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The Atlanta Falcons were officially eliminated from the playoffs following their loss to the Bills, and are now sitting at 7-9 with a game to play. A final showdown against the Hated Saints awaits, and it could legitimately go both ways. Depending on what’s going on with the Falcons and other teams, Atlanta could be ranked 7th or 13th in the 2022 NFL Draft Order.

With dreams of a possible 7th seed ending without ceremony, it’s time to officially turn our eyes to the draft. We have a very precise idea of ​​the team’s greatest needs: OL, EDGE, offensive weapons, LB. Some of these needs will need to be addressed in free agency, where the Falcons will have a little space. Most will need to be addressed in the project.

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I once again used The Draft Network’s Mock Draft Machine to perform this simulation. I will go without trades once again this week and will return to reviewing trades once the draft order is finalized. That means Atlanta has eight caps, let’s see what we can do with them.

Round 1, Pick 10: EDGE George Karlaftis, Purdue

The top 10 was a little different this time around, with two teams (Caroline, Washington) selecting QBs and two CBs also coming off the table. This led to the downfall of a player to the Falcons whom we have rarely seen, but if he is available Fontenot should definitely sprint to the podium. Purdue EDGE George Karlaftis is this year’s most technically advanced passing thrower in the class, which makes him very dangerous when combined with his explosiveness and raw power on the snap.

At 6’4, 275, Karlaftis is a big-bodied rusher who is more than capable of defending against OTs in the running game. However, he’s athletic enough to play as a standing or hand-in-hand dirt runner and has a lot of experience in both roles. Karlaftis is first and foremost a power rusher, and his strength and outburst is able to immediately overpower his opponents. Combine that with his hand use, impressive arsenal of moves, and huge football IQ and you’ve got a Day 1 impact starter in your hands. His ceiling isn’t as high as the top two prospects Kayvon Thibodeaux and Aidan Hutchinson, but his floor could be the highest in the class.

Round 2, Choice 45: WR John Metchie III, Alabama

With a run on the offensive linemen just before Atlanta’s second pick, I had to consider other positions to bolster the offense. While OL are arguably the biggest issue, the Falcons definitely need to add more weapons for Ryan. Fortunately, one of this year’s best-in-class receivers is still available: Alabama WR John Metchie III. Metchie probably would have been a first-round pick if he had played outside of Alabama. Instead, he’s had to split reps with other first-round talent virtually every year of his career.

Metchie has a good height at 6’0, 195, and his thicker build allows him to play a versatile role on offense. Outdoors, in the slot machine, in the backfield on gadget games, screens, Metchie can do it all at a high level. He’s likely to test himself as an elite athlete, and that, combined with his advanced technical skills and journey tree, will make him an instant impact starter in the NFL. Metchie’s main area of ​​improvement is his hands: while he’s not bad at it, he has a few drops on the board and hasn’t always followed the ball down the field well. The Falcons need a dynamic short-range selling point for Ryan, and Metchie can immediately fill that void.

Round 2, Choice 63: EDGE Kingsley Enagbare, SC

Choice received from the Titans.

In a very deep EDGE class, I think it’s entirely possible that the Falcons will choose to overtake at EDGE. This was arguably the weakest position on the entire depth chart in 2021, and she needs a massive infusion of talent. With limited space, the best option is probably to add more players through the draft. If someone like Kingsley Enagbare of South Carolina is still available at this time, Atlanta should take the opportunity to completely remake their depth-to-limit picture.

Enagbare is a tough, versatile EDGE with a 6’4, 265-pound long frame. Much like Karlaftis, Enagbare carries weight extremely well and has thrived in a hybrid role, taking shots both as a hand in the dirt and a standing player. Enagbare is explosive and strong, and has shown flashes of dominance to overwhelm opposing tackles. Unlike Karlaftis, Enagbare is technically rawer and doesn’t make as many extra plays against the run. However, it’s not a matter of strength or length, so I think he can be trained to be a real 3v player. Enagbare is a great value pick here and could potentially form a very good duo with Karlaftis for the next four seasons.

Round 3, pick 79: RB Zach Charbonnet, UCLA

Hopefully the Falcons re-sign Cordarrelle Patterson RB / WR in the offseason to give the offense some stability and a reliable playmaker. Even if they do, they have to add another impact player to the throwback to lighten some of Patterson’s load. Mike Davis is a possible candidate for the cut due to his ceiling savings, so the depth chart may be even more bare as the draft unfolds.

UCLA’s Zach Charbonnet definitely fits the mold of what Arthur Smith loves: tall, physical, decisive, and wicked. Charbonnet is 6’1, 220 and he plays like that – he’s a murderous runner with excellent contact balance and able to get through weaker defenders. His vision and instincts with football are very good, which makes him a trustworthy weapon for the courts and the red zones. Athletically, his high speed and elusiveness are just average, but for a player of his size, that’s more than enough. Charbonnet can be overlooked because he’s not a flashy runner and his receiving ability isn’t too special, but he has the potential to be a longer term starter who handles most of the work on field.

Round 4, Pick 114: LB Quay Walker, Georgia

The Falcons will almost certainly move on from linebacker Deion Jones this offseason via trade – although with the way Jones’ second half of the season has gone, they could get very little compensation in return. In that case, Foye Oluokun is likely to get a big extension and Mykal Walker will fit into the starting job alongside him. However, the team must continue to add depth and potential, and Georgia LB Quay Walker is the perfect candidate at the start of Day 3.

Walker is an excellent height at 6’3, 240 and looks like an elite athlete on tape. He is long and strong, and is able to tackle blocks and block opposing runners in space. When it comes to coverage, he has all the tools to make a difference and has the ability to play men’s coverage against TEs. Questions with Walker come from his limited experience and production: He became a starter in 2020 and only really took off this season. Walker is a high potential prospect and huge value at the end of the draft.

Round 5, Pick 152: G Emil Ekiyor, Alabama

The Falcons missed the addition of offensive line assist earlier in the draft, so they’re likely going to take a close look at available free agents. However, there’s still room to add depth and potential, and Alabama’s Emil Ekiyor has NFL-level starting potential. At 6’2, 324, Ekiyor lacked length but made up for it with a strong lower half. He uses his small size to his advantage, playing with good leverage and impressive anchor in pass protection.

Ekiyor is not particularly conspicuous and lacks elite mobility. However, it is more than enough and has enough capacity in space to be successful indoors. His greatest strengths are his advanced use of the hand and his footballing IQ. He is a very intelligent player who understands his mission and takes blitzes well. His lack of length and average athletic ability won’t help him stand out, but Ekiyor is a top player who should be able to deliver reliable shots to either the right or left guard.

Round 6, Pick 188: TE Charlie Kolar, Iowa State

The Falcons still need to add weapons, and the need for another TE could be significant if Hayden Hurst goes into free agency. While the impact, the TE1 types all took place much earlier in the draft, there is still a quality TE2 contender in Charlie Kolar of Iowa State. A traditional full bodied tight winger, Kolar is 6’6, 260 with excellent length. He is an aggressive player who has an unpleasant attitude in his work as a blocker and receiver.

Kolar’s best attribute is his ability to catch football. He has strong hands, a huge catch radius, and very competitive demeanor at the catch point. Kolar is an expert at coaching small defenders and winning contested strike situations, and he’s fearless in the middle. Which is good, because he’s nothing special as an athlete and doesn’t come off particularly well. He’s also pretty average as a blocker and definitely needs to get stronger to have an impact there at the NFL level. Kolar is a complementary piece who can deliver quality receiving ability in shorts and the red zone – he’s racked up 23 touchdowns in the past 3 seasons.

Round 6, Pick 212: WR Jaquarii Roberson, Wake Forest

To this end of the draft, you are looking to find the best contributors and depth material available. Fortunately, one of my favorite end-of-round receivers is still on the board: Wake Forest’s Jaquarii Roberson. I’ve laughed at him before with the Falcons, and here’s how I described his skills:

Roberson has grown strong over the last two seasons of his career, acting as one of the main threats to Wake Forest. He racked up 71 receptions for 1,078 yards (15.2 YPR) and 8 touchdowns in 2021, demonstrating his ability to produce consistently. Roberson isn’t the elite when it comes to long speed, but he’s quick and slippery with the ball in his hands. He is a dynamic threat to the YAC and travels crisp routes at all levels of the terrain. Roberson doesn’t have a tall build (6’1, 180) so can struggle in contested capture situations, but he offers a skill that the Falcons currently lack. Love his potential as a potential WR3 / 4 at the end of the project.

What do you think of this draft class simulation for the Falcons? Post your own fictional drafts way too soon in the comments below!

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