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: The Final Mock Draft -- Falcons to select Reggie Ragland

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Before the NFL Draft begins, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution’s D. Orlando Ledbetter and CineSport’s Noah Coslov discuss the latest whispers at No. 17, the player to watch on Day 2 and the most intriguing late-round prospect.


  1. Los Angeles Rams. Jared Goff, QB California: His father Jerry Goff was a Major League Baseball player (1990, 1992-1996). He was a four-star recruit and started all 37 games of his career for the Golden Bears. He led Cal to a 7-5 mark last season and passed for 4,719 yards, 43 touchdowns while completing 64.5 percent of his passes.
  2. Philadelphia Eagles. Carson Wentz, QB, North Dakota State: Wentz didn’t get any major college offers and went to FCS powerhouse North Dakota State. He redshirted his first season. He spent two more seasons as a reserve before winning the starting job as a junior. He led the Bison to two consecutive FCS titles. Wentz, an academic all-American, dazzled pro scouts at the Senior Bowl and wowed coaches and executives with his football smarts at the scouting combine. But his critics point out that he threw just 612 passes over his career.

    March 16, 2016 Athens - Georgia outside linebacker Leonard Floyd (84) runs a drill at UGA Pro Day. Twenty UGA players participated in Pro Day. TAYLOR CARPENTER / TAYLOR.CARPENTER@AJC.COM

  3. San Diego Chargers. Jalen Ramsey, DB, Florida State: He’s the physical press corner who fits all schemes. He’s been compared to Xavier Rhodes and Antonio Cromartie by NFL scouts. He’ll whip receivers up at the line of scrimmage and run with them on routes. Some have questioned his production for the Seminoles, but pro scouts are drooling over him.

  4. Dallas Cowboys. Joey Bosa, DE, Ohio State: His father Joe was a first-round pick by the Dolphins in 1987 and his uncle Eric Kumerow was a first-round pick by the same team in 1988. He was named the Big Ten’s defensive lineman of the year and was a first-team All-Big Ten pick. He was a three-year starter for the Buckeyes and finished with 26 sacks and 50.5 tackles for loss.
  5. Jacksonville Jaguars. Myles Jack, LB, UCLA: He’s considered the top linebacker in the draft, but may slip because of medical concerns about his right knee. Former Falcons coach Jim Mora was Jack’s head coach and compares him athletically to Michael Vick and Julius Peppers. The former running back can play all three positions and make plays from sideline-to-sideline.
  6. Baltimore Ravens. DeForest Buckner, DE, Oregon: He was a destructive force for the Ducks with 10.5 sacks, 17 tackles for loss and 83 tackles last season in 13 games. He was named the Pat Tillman-Pac 12 defensive player of the year. Plays with power.
  7. San Francisco 49ers. Laremy Tunsil, OT, Mississippi: An elite prospect, who’s expected to protect the blindside of a NFL quarterback for the next decade. He’s big and powerful. He’s considered the prototypical NFL left tackle. While he’s no longer considered to be the top pick in the draft, he won’t stay on the board long. He credits facing Timmy Jernigan (Florida State/Ravens) in high school on a daily basis with helping develop into a strong football player. He played in 29 games and started 26 at Ole Miss.
  8. Cleveland Browns. Paxton Lynch, QB, Memphis: Was a late bloomer as a recruit. After

    Memphis quarterback Paxton Lynch passes against Cincinnati in the first half Saturday, Oct. 4, 2014, in Cincinnati. (Associated Press)

    impressing schools at a all-star, he started to get some attention. Florida started to recruit him late, but selected another quarterback who had family ties to the program. Last season, he completed 296 of 444 passes for 3,778 yards and 28 touchdowns. He had a poor bowl game against Auburn after former Memphis head coach Justin Fuente ran out on his team to take the Virginia Tech job. He’s the best athlete of the top-rated quarterbacks.  

  9. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Vernon Hargreaves, CB, Florida: He was a Jim Thorpe Award finalist after starting all 13 games and amassing 33 tackles, eight pass breakups and four interceptions. He was a three-year starter for the Gators. He’s the son of a football coach and plays with smarts. His Dad, Vernon played at Connecticut and is Arkansas’ linebackers coach.
  10. New York Giants. Leonard Floyd, LB, Georgia: He has excellent pass rushing ability and may be selected in the top 10. “Leonard Floyd is one of my most conflicted players,” NFL Network analyst Mike Mayock said. He noted that Floyd gets blocked easily if he doesn’t win with his speed. “That worries me,” he said.
  11. Chicago Bears. Ronnie Stanley, OT, Notre Dame: He was Notre Dame’s offensive player of the year and was named an All-American. He’s a big man with quick feet and that’s a winning combination to NFL Scouts. Had a left wrist injury and was excluded from bench-pressing at the scouting combine. He was penalized 11 times in 2015.
  12. New Orleans Saints. Shaq Lawson, DE, Clemson: Lawson led the nation in tackles for loss with 25.5 last season. He also had 12.5 sacks to help the Tigers reach the national championship game. “As many good splash plays as he has had, he has had too many, for me, plays where Shaq looks slow, sluggish and not very competitive,” ESPN front-office insider Louis Riddick said.  “Quite honestly, in scouting terms, he looks like just a guy. That concerns me.”
  13. Miami Dolphins. Ezekiel Elliott, RB, Ohio State: He powered the Buckeyes to the national

    FILE - In this Oct. 17, 2015, file photo, Ohio State running back Ezekiel Elliott (15) leaps over Penn State defender Trace McSorley (9) during an NCAA college football game in Columbus, Ohio. Elliott is expected to be a first round pick at the NFL Draft. (AP Photo/Paul Vernon)

    championship as a true sophomore when he rushed for 230 yards against Alabama in the playoff semifinal and for 246 yards against Oregon in the 2015 title game.  He passed Eddie George for second place on Ohio State’s all-time rushing list. Elliott ran the 40-yard dash in 4.48 seconds at the combine and can make defenders miss in the hole. Because of his electric running style, Elliott and Alabama’s Derrick Henry are  the only running back rated in Dane Brugler’s NFL Draft “Elite 60” preview of the draft.

  14. Oakland Raiders. Mackensie Alexander, CB, Clemson: With all of hype over the Tigers defensive ends Shaq Lawson and Kevin Dodd, some have forgotten about Alexander, who is potentially a shut-down corner. He was a first-team all-ACC selection who plays with swagger and confidence. He’s a press cornerback, who’ll have to adjust his techniques in the pros.
  15. Tennessee Titans. Sheldon Rankins, DT, Louisville: He played at Eastside High in Covington. He finished his career 10th all-time on Louisville’s sack list with 18. He also had 31.5 tackles for loss. Several scouts have compared him to Aaron Donald and have projected that he will be a inside force. “Best interior pass rusher (in the draft) without a doubt,” said ESPN analyst Louis Riddick, a former NFL executive.
  16. Detroit Lions. Darron Lee, LB, Ohio State: He was a second-team All-Big 10 pick. He has the range and speed to play in space in the NFL. He was a two-year starter for the Buckeyes. He was recruited as a safety and is one of the linebackers in the draft who could move back and play safety like Falcons coach Dan Quinn pointed out Thursday.
  17. Atlanta Falcons. Reggie Ragland, LB, Alabama: He’s considered the top middle linebacker in the draft. Ragland, who looked comfortable at strongside linebacker during the Senior Bowl, has loss some weight after showing up at 259 pounds. He returned for his senior season at Alabama after receiving a projected second-round grade before the draft in 2015.
  18. Indianapolis Colts. Jack Conklin, OT, Michigan State: If selected in the first round he will become the first Michigan State lineman drafted in that round since Tony Mandarich in 1989. He’s developed into a fine player after receiving just one offer coming out of high school and it was from Wayne State. He helped the Spartans reach the semifinal  game and was named an All-American.
  19. Buffalo Bills. Robert Nkemdiche, DE, Mississippi: Coming out of Grayson High, he was

    Shaq Lawson, back, and Kevin Dodd run drills at Clemson's NFL football Pro Day Thursday, March 10, 2016, in Clemson, S.C. (AP Photo/Richard Shiro)

    considered the top player in the nation coming out of high school, but is getting mixed reviews after his career at Mississippi. In review of his Ole Miss film, several NFL scouts have noticed his inconsistent play. Teams are also concerned about an arrest after he fell out of window from a Buckhead hotel. Because of his physical tools, Nkemdiche is still considered a potential first-round pick and will attend the draft in Chicago.

  20. New York Jets. Connor Cook, QB, Michigan State: A lot was made of the fact that he wasn't a captain during the pre-draft process and came off as an imbecile after the Big Ten championship when he disrespected Ohio State legend Archie Griffin. His lack of accuracy is a concern. He was never over 60 percent as a passer for the Spartans.
  21. Washington Redskins. A’Shawn Robinson, DT, Alabama: All of the quarterbacks in the SEC are celebrating because rambunctious Robinson is headed to the NFL. He was a two-year starter for the Crimson Tide and played a variety of positions. He can anchor at nose tackle and is stout run defender.
  22. Houston Texans. Josh Doctson, WR, TCU: Holds the school record for most receiving yards (2,785) and in a single game (267). He has a large catching radius. He went from walk-on to All-American status for the Horned Frogs. Last season he had 79 catches for 1,327 yards and 14 touchdowns in just 10 games.

    August 2, 2012 - Rossville, Ga: Ridgeland High School defensive back Vonn Bell is one of the AJC Super 11 shown at his high school Thursday morning in Rossville, Ga., August 2, 2012. Bell was a first-team all state in 2011 with over 1,000 total yards, 100 tackles. Consensus No. 4 recruit in Georgia. JASON GETZ / JGETZ@AJC.COM

  23. Minnesota, Jarran Reed, DT, Alabama: Played the run well as he led Alabama defensive linemen in tackles each of the last two seasons. The Falcons are impressed with Reed. He started his career at Hargrave Military Academy and went the junior college route. He’s very strong and can bench-press 500 pounds.
  24. Cincinnati Bengals. Corey Coleman, WR, Baylor: A dazzling play-maker for the Bears in college. He set school records for touchdowns receptions in a single season (20) and career (33). He also finished in the top five in receiving yards (3,009) in school history.
  25. Pittsburgh Steelers. Eli Apple, CB, Ohio State: He was the Buckeyes top cornerback during their national championship run. He started 14 of 15 games and had 53 tackles, 10 pass breakups and three interceptions in 2014.  He started all 13 games last season and was named the defensive most valuable player in the Fiesta Bowl.
  26. Seattle Seahawks. Noah Spence, DE, Eastern Kentucky: He started his career at Ohio State, but was suspended after a second failed drug test and was later ruled permanently ineligible. The five-star recruit had a spectacular sophomore season, leading the Buckeyes with eight sacks, 14.5 tackles for losses and was named to the All-Big Ten team. With the Colonels, Spence had 22.5 tackles for losses and 11.5 sacks. He has all of the pass-rushing traits that teams look for, but there’s an issue of trusting him to stay away from drugs after he signs a multi-million dollar contract.
  27. Green Bay Packers. Kevin Dodd, DE, Clemson: The late-bloomer ranked second in the nation in tackles for loss with 23.5. He also had 12 sacks and a dominating showing in the national championship game.  He’s still considered a raw prospect. He was not a highly recruited prospect and a project who Clemson coach Dabo Swinney took a flyer on. He had a breakout season in 2015.

    123115 ATLANTA: Houston wide receiver Chance Allen catches a touchdown pass past Florida State defensive back Jalen Ramsey for a 14-3 lead during the second quarter in the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl football game on Thursday, December 31, 2015, in Atlanta. Curtis Compton /

  28. Kansas City Chiefs. William Jackson III, CB, Houston: His ball skills are elite. He led the nation with 23 pass break-ups, which is the second highest total over the past 20 years behind only Aquib Talib (28) in 2006. He had eight career interceptions.
  29. Arizona Cardinals. Taylor Decker, OT, Ohio State: He was originally headed to Notre Dame, but Urban Meyer got him to change his commitment after he was hired by the Buckeyes. He started the last 42 games for the Buckeyes, splitting time between left tackle and right tackle. He controls the point of attack with discipline and power.
  30. Carolina Panthers. Vonn Bell, FS, Ohio State: He’s from Ridgeland High in Rossville. He started 28 of 42 games played for the Buckeyes over the past three seasons. He finished with 15 pass breakups and nine interceptions. He has range and coverage skills.
  31. Denver Broncos. Emmanuel Ogbah, DE, Oklahoma State: He is one of the most prolific pass rushers in the draft with 28 sacks in three seasons with the Cowboys. He played at George Bush High in Houston. He has visited the Falcons and the Panthers, who have the 30th pick. Critics contend that he amassed his sacks against average tackles and that he needs to learn how to play against the run.

    * There will be only 31 picks in the first round in 2016, with New England’s first-round pick forfeited.


Sunday, April 17 -- QUARTERBACKS

Rams quest for franchise quarterback behind big trade --Wentz or Goff?

D. Led’s breakdown of the Quarterbacks

A look at the top 10 Quarterbacks in the draft


D Led’s breakdown of the Running backs -- Is Derrick Henry the next Charles Muncie?

A look at the top 10 Running backs


D. Led’s breakdown of the Wide receivers

A look at the top 10 Wide receivers

Wednesday -- TIGHT ENDS

D. Led’s breakdown of the Tight ends

A look at the top 10 tight ends


D. Led’s breakdown of the Offensive linemen

A look at the top 10 offensive linemen


D. Led’s breakdown of the Defensive linemen

A look at the top 10 defensive linemen 

Saturday, April 23 -- LINEBACKERS

Falcons searching for hybrid linebacker/safeties

D. Led’s breakdown of the Linebackers

A look at the top 10 linebackers

Sunday, April 24 -- CORNERBACKS

D. Led’s breakdown of the cornerbacks

A look at the top 10 cornerbacks

Monday, April 25 -- SAFETIES

D. Led’s breakdown of the Safeties

A look at the top 10 Safeties

Tuesday, April 26

D. Led’s breakdown of the Specialists, kickers, punters and returners

A look at the top 5 punters and top 5 kickers

Wednesday, April 27

Final mock draft

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About the Author

D. Orlando Ledbetter is the Atlanta Falcons beat writer for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.