Atlanta Falcons Blog

Atlanta Falcons blog by D. Orlando Ledbetter, the pro football and Atlanta Falcons reporter for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Cover 9@9: NFL mock draft 4.0 Falcons select Jabrill Peppers with 31st pick

Good morning! Welcome to The Cover 9@9 blog. Normally, it's our weekly blog of everything you need to know about the Atlanta Falcons, which is 9 items published at 9 a.m. each Wednesday morning. But this week, we drop the extended Mock 4.0, the last one before next week's Final Mock Draft.

FLOWERY BRANCH – The mock draft season is winding down.

We’ll have the final mock for you before the draft starts Thursday, April 27 and runs through April 29 from Philadelphia.

Here’s the mock draft 4.0:

  1. Cleveland. Myles Garrett, DE. Texas A&M: Some contend that he racked up his sacks against smaller schools and that you couldn’t find him in big games. He also showed that he was a bit petty when he wouldn’t do an interview with ESPN’s Booger McFarland because he didn’t like the critique of his play. “I think Myles Garrett has the most upside of any pass-rusher in this draft,” NFL Network analyst Mike Mayock said. “When healthy, he’s easy to do on tape. He’s (6-foot-5), 262 pounds. He’s got outside edge (rushing) ability.”
  2. San Francisco. Deshaun Watson, QB, Clemson: The record-setting quarterback from Gainesville High guided the Tigers to consecutive College Football Playoff appearances, and the school’s second National Championship in 2016. The two-time Heisman Trophy finalist led the Tigers to 28 wins over his final two seasons. He finished his storied career with a 32-3 record as a starter, best winning percentage in school history for a quarterback. He finished third in ACC history in total offense (12,094), behind only N.C. State’s Philip Rivers and former Clemson quarterback Tajh

    September 22, 2016 Atlanta - Clemson Tigers quarterback Deshaun Watson (4) warms up before their game against the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets at Bobby Dodd Stadium on Thursday, September 22, 2016. HYOSUB SHIN / HSHIN@AJC.COM

    Boyd. He passed for 10,163 yards and 90 career touchdowns and finished in Clemson history in career completion percentage (.674), passing efficiency (157.5) and total offense per game (318.3). He was a two-time team most valuable player and two-time All-ACC academic team (2015,16) selection.

  3. Chicago. Jonathan Allen, DT, Alabama: He was a force for the Crimson Tide. There is some concerns about his shoulders.
  4. Jacksonville. Leonard Fournette, RB, LSU: In 2014, he rushed for a freshman school-record 1,034 to earn All-SEC Freshman team honors. He followed up his freshman season with a 1,953 rushing yards and 22 rushing touchdowns, leading the nation with 162.8 rushing yards per game. Last season, Fournette battled injuries and finished second on the team with 843 rushing yards. “If you can get a running back that can control the clock a little bit, shorten the game, keep that defense fresh, I think the Jags could find themselves in a lot of close football games,” NFL Network draft analyst Daniel Jeremiah said.
  5. Tennessee. O.J. Howard, TE, Alabama: He passed on the NFL and returned to Tuscaloosa for his senior year. He set career-highs in 2016 with 45 catches and three touchdowns as he earned second-team All-SEC honors. “He's the best tight end in this draft,” NFL Network analyst Daniel Jeremiah said, a former scout. “What makes him unique, he not only can survive in the run game, but he's pretty darn good at it. You look at somebody that can create big plays down the field with his speed, height and weight.”
  6. New York Jets. Marshon Lattimore, CB, Ohio State:  He made 13 starts and led the Buckeyes in passes defended (13) and finished second in interceptions (four) to earn first-team All-Big Ten honors.
  7. Los Angles Chargers. Jamal Adams, S, LSU: Is physical in the run game. He also has elite speed and range.
  8. Carolina. Solomon Thomas, DE, Stanford: He made 62 tackles with 15 for a loss, eight sacks and one forced fumble.
  9. Cincinnati. Malik Hooker, S, Ohio State: A one-year starter, who had a breakout season with seven interceptions and three defensive touchdowns.
  10. Buffalo. Michael Williams, WR, Clemson: Williams waited his turn behind Sammy Watkins

    August 30, 2014 Athens, GA: Clemson Tigers wide receiver Mike Williams heads up field after catching a pass in front of Georgia Bulldogs cornerback Aaron Davis during the first half against Saturday August 30, 2014 in Athens. BRANT SANDERLIN / BSANDERLIN@AJC.COM

    and Martavis Bryant. He became the No. 1 receiver as a sophomore and led the team with 1,030 receiving yards. He missed most of the 2015 season with a neck injury. He came back strong in 2016 and led the ACC with 98 receptions for 1,361 yards and 11 touchdowns.

  11. New Orleans. Derek Barnett, DE, Tennessee: He had 33 sacks over his 39-game career for the Volunteers.
  12. Cleveland. Mitch Trubisky, QB, North Carolina: He was Mr. Football in Ohio, but went to North Carolina after Ohio State signed J.T. Barrett. He redshirted in 2013 and backed up Marquise Williams for two seasons. He took over last season and completed 68.2 percent of his passes. He set single-season school records for passing yards (3,748), completions (304), total offense (4,056) and touchdown passes (30) while throwing only six interceptions.
  13. Arizona. T.J. Watt, OLB, Wisconsin: The younger brother of NFL players J.J. Watt (three-time defensive player of the year) and Derek Watt (Chargers’ fullback). He thrived for one season in Wisconsin’s 3-4 defense when he finished with 63 tackles, 11.5 sacks, 15.5 tackles for loss and two forced fumbles last season. "What I bring is just my work ethic,” T.J. Watt said. “I know it's a cliche, but I do have a motor that's nonstop. I'm just always going after the ball. I'm always going to give the team that takes me everything I have." He needs to get stronger and has an injury history.
  14. Philadelphia. Corey Davis, WR, Western Michigan: Davis led the Broncos in receiving for four straight years. He had a career-high 97 catches, 1,500 yards receiving and 19 touchdowns last season to earn the MAC offensive player of the year honors.
  15. Indianapolis. Garrett Bolles, OT, Utah: A late-bloomer, who overcame a difficult family situation after getting kicked out of the house by his father. A mission with the Mormons helped to change his life around.
  16. Baltimore.  Taco Charlton, DE, Michigan: He led the Wolverines in sacks with 9.5 and was named first-team All-Big 10.
  17. Washington. Charles Harris, DE, Missouri: He made 61 tackles, 12 tackles for a loss, nine sacks, two passes batted and two forced fumbles in 2016 for the Tigers. Harris had one of his better games against Georgia, when he had seven tackles and three sacks. He had a private workout with the Falcons.
  18. Tennessee. John Ross, WR, Washington: He ran the 40-yard dash in 4.22 seconds at the scouting combine, setting a new record.  The previous record of 4.24 was held by Chris Johnson and was set in 2008. Ross caught 81 passes for 1,150 yards and 17 touchdowns for the Pac-12 champion Huskies last season.
  19. Tampa Bay. Dalvin Cook, RB, Florida State: He’s electric in the opening field and can catch

    Former Alabama tight end O.J. Howard on the move against LSU. (Associated Press)

    the ball out of the backfield. Some teams favorably compare him to Falcons running back Devonta Freeman. He rushed for more than 1,600 yards in each of the past two seasons and 38 touchdowns.

  20. Denver. Takkrist McKinley, DE, UCLA: Most believe that he’s best suited to be an outside linebacker for a team that runs a 3-4 defensive alignment.
  21. Detroit. Tim Williams, LB, Alabama: Has 21.5 sacks over the past two seasons for the Crimson Tide.
  22. Miami. Forrest Lamb, OL, Western Kentucky: He lifted 225 pounds 34 times. He had a stellar performance against Alabama that NFL scouts are raving about. Lamp said he could play in the Falcons’ outside zone blocking scheme.
  23. New York Giants. Zach Cunningham, LB, Vanderbilt.  He led the SEC in tackles (125) as a junior in 2016, posting 16.5 tackles for loss and two forced fumbles to earn first-team All-American and All-SEC honors.
  24. Oakland. Malik McDowell, DT, Michigan State. He was ranked in the top 10 in pass-rush productivity over the past two seasons by Pro Football “Malik McDowell, it depends on how you classify him, if he’s going to play inside or outside,” ESPN draft analyst Todd McShay said. “He’s tall and long. He might be the most talented defensive lineman … from a skill standpoint. He can become a highly disruptive player. He’s probably going to come of the board in the 10 to 25 range.”
  25. Houston. Ryan Ramcyk, OT, Wisconsin: Started his career at Division III Wisconsin-Stevens Point before transferring to Madison. After redshirting in 2015 due to NCAA transfer rules,

    BATON ROUGE, LA - OCTOBER 25: Leonard Fournette #7 of the LSU Tigers runs the ball against the Mississippi Rebels at Tiger Stadium on October 25, 2014 in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)

    Ramczyk started all 14 games at left tackle last season and earned consensus All-American and first-team All-Big Ten honors

  26. Seattle. Dan Feeney, OG, Indiana: Finished his career with 46 starts and spent time at right guard and right tackle.
  27. Kansas City. Christian McCaffrey, RB Stanford: The fleet son of former NFL standout Ed McCaffrey. He was named the Pac-12 offensive player of the year after his sophomore season.  He was one of college football’s top running backs the past two seasons, displaying his versatility rushing, receiving and returning. He led the FBS in all-purpose yards per game in both 2015 (276.0) and 2016 (211.5). Turned some heads by skipping the team’s appearance in the Sun Bowl and by not electing not to undergo any private workouts for NFL teams.
  28. Dallas. David Njoku, TE, Miami: A fluid route-runner, who’s also willing do the dirty work as a blocker. He was lined up in-line and flexed in the slot for the Hurricanes over the past two seasons as a starter. He made five starts in 2016 and finished third on the team with 43 catches for 698 yards and eight touchdowns.
  29. Green Bay. Cam Robinson, OT, Alabama. He was a three-year starter at left tackle for the Crimson Tide.

    090316 Atlanta: North Carolina Tar Heels quarterback Mitch Trubisky throws as Georgia Bulldogs linebacker Davin Bellamy leaps over a defender during the second half of the Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game at the Georgia Dome Saturday September 3, 2016. BRANT SANDERLIN/BSANDERLIN@AJC.COM

  30. Pittsburgh. Kevin King, CB, Washington: Turned heads with a spectacular showing at the scouting combine.
  31. Atlanta. Jabrill Peppers, FS, Michigan: He ran the 40-yard dash in 4.46 seconds, which is faster than Seattle All-Pro free safety Earl Thomas. He could roam the field at free safety and blow up receivers. If a tight end is a problem, he's fast and physical enough to cover the tight end.  “It’s a matchup game,” Mayock said. “Jabrill Peppers is a matchup player. On first down he might be in one place and on third down he might be in another place. He can play in the middle of the field because he has great range.”
  32. New Orleans. Patrick Mahomes, QB, Texas Tech: He played as a freshmen and took over as a sophomore and completed 63.5 percent of his passes for 4,653 yards, 36 touchdowns and 15 interceptions. As a junior he completed 388 passes for 5,052 passing yards and a 41-10 touchdown-interception ratio. “I hear the buzz from teams, they're fired up about him,” Jeremiah said. “He has a huge personality, a big arm, teams want to work with him. I think the buzz is definitely legitimate.”


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HBCU prospects for the 2017 NFL draft


Sunday, April 16 — QUARTERBACKS

Why is finding a NFL quarterback a crapshoot?

Deshaun Watson is under intense scrutiny at the NFL combine

Deshaun Watson has spectacular Pro Day

A look at the top 10 Quarterbacks in the draft

Monday, April 17 -- RUNNING BACKS

Top 10 running backs in the 2017 NFL draft

Tuesday, April 18 -- WIDE RECEIVERS

Top 10 wide receivers in the 2017 NFL draft

Wednesday, April 19 -- TIGHT ENDS

Top 10 tight ends in the 2017 NFL draft

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