Atlanta Falcons Blog

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

D. Led's Mock 1.0: Falcons select Todd Gurley with 8th overall pick

FLOWERY BRANCH – The Falcons can’t mess this up like they did the last time they had the eighth pick in the draft.

They must pick the best player available (Todd Gurley) and not pick for need (pass rusher).

The best player available in Mock Draft 1.0 is former Georgia running back Todd Gurley and that’s who the Falcons should take.

Back in 2007, the Falcons were in need of a pass-rusher and selected Jamaal Anderson with the eighth overall pick. Anderson was stunned. He was told that he was a second-round pick.

It was a boom or bust pick. It went bust.

The Falcons picked Anderson to fill a need instead of taking the best player on the board. Running back Marshawn Lynch, cornerback Darrelle Revis and linebacker Patrick Willis were all still available.

Gurley reminds former Cowboys executive Gil Brandt of Minnesota running back Adrian Peterson.

“Peterson is taller than he is and probably weighs more than he does,” Brandt said on NFL Radio’s Late Hits show on Wednesday night. “I think that they are both about the same speed. I think Gurley is better coming into the league as a pass receiver and a pass protector than Peterson was when he came in as the No. 7 pick in the draft.”

After the Vikings selected Peterson, the Falcons turned in their card for Anderson.

Gurley, who tore his ACL in November, will not be ready until around five or six games into the season. There’s no need to rush him along.

Gurley has visited the Lions and the Panthers. He's set to visit 11 or 12 teams.

“His ideal playing weight is about 225 and at Pro Day I think he was 224 and at the combine he was right in the 220s,” Brandt said. “I’ll say this, whoever is lucky enough and fortunate enough to draft him...I think they are going to have a really great football player. They are going to have a guy who has the ability of Adrian Peterson, the back from Minnesota. That’s the kind of back that they are going to have.”

Peterson, who missed last season over his domestic violence case which involved the whipping of a child, has rushed for 10,190 yards and 86 touchdowns.

Gurley, who would also help the Falcons move those PSLs, gave an update on his recovery when he appeared on the show with Brandt and Alex Marvez.

“I’m feeling pretty good,” Gurley said. “I’ve started to run, do back pedaling and do jumps. It’s been going pretty good, going smoothly.”

Marvez tried to get Gurley to reveal some of his visits.

“A lot of teams (like the Falcons) don’t really what guys to talk about where they have visited,” Gurley said. “Out of respect (to the teams), I’m not going to say where I have been or where I’m going unless the team gives me (permission) to say something about it. I don’t want to get (anybody) upset. I don’t want to have to cancel any visits for that.”

Gurley will return to Indianapolis on April 17 and 18 to have his knee re-checked by league doctors.

(Sorry about the sideways video. Was breaking in the new selfie stick!)

Here’s how my Mock 1.0 stacks up:

  1. Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Jameis Winston, QB, Florida State
  2. Tennessee Titans. Leonard Williams, DE, USC
  3. Jacksonville Jaguars. Dante Fowler, OLB, Florida
  4. Oakland Raiders. Amari Cooper, WR, Alabama
  5. Washington Redskins. Vic Beasley, DE, Clemson
  6. New York Jets. Marcus Mariota, QB, Oregon
  7. Chicago Bears. Shane Ray, DE, Missouri
  8. Atlanta Falcons. Todd Gurley, RB, Georgia
  9. New York Giants. Brandon Scherff, G, Iowa
  10. St. Louis Rams. La'el Collins, OT, LSU
  11. Minnesota Vikings. Trae Waynes, CB, Michigan State
  12. Cleveland Browns. Kevin White, WR, West Virginia
  13. New Orleans Saints. DeVante Parker, WR, Louisville
  14. Miami Dolphins. Landon Collins, SS, Alabama
  15. San Francisco 49ers. Randy Gregory, OLB, Nebraska
  16. Houston Texans. Jalen Collins, CB, LSU
  17. San Diego Chargers. Bud Dupree, DE, Kentucky
  18. Kansas City Chiefs. Danny Shelton, DT, Kansas City
  19. Cleveland Browns. Melvin Gordon III, RB, Wisconsin
  20. Philadelphia Eagles. Kevin Johnson, CB, Wake Forest
  21. Cincinnati Bengals. Ereck Flowers, OT, Miami
  22. Pittsburgh Steelers. Marcus Peters, CB, Washington
  23. Detroit Lions. Andrus Peat, OT, Stanford
  24. Arizona Cardinals. Eli Harold, OLB, Virginia
  25. Carolina Panthers. D.J. Humphries, OT, Florida
  26. Baltimore Ravens. Jaelen Strong, WR, Arizona State
  27. Dallas Cowboys. Eric Kendricks, ILB, UCLA
  28. Denver Broncos. Denzel Perryman, ILB, Miami
  29. Indianapolis Colts. Jordan Phillips, DT, Oklahoma
  30. Green Bay Packers. Eddie Goldman, DT, Florida State
  31. New Orleans Saints. Malcolm Brown, RB, Texas
  32. New England Patriots. Breshad Perriman, WR, Central Florida


Falcons to focus on adding another cornerstone

Quinn-Dimitroff partnership off to a strong start

Q&A with Falcons head coach Dan Quinn at the combine

Falcons coach Dan Quinn fired up to watch pass-rushers

Q&A with Falcons general manager Thomas Dimitroff on moving forward

Falcons to keep character filter on draft picks

Falcons close to re-signing kicker Matt Bryant

Falcons LT Jake Matthews recovering from offseason surgery

Falcons plan to extend WR Julio Jones contract

Falcons could target Denver TE Julius Thomas in free agency

Falcons' roster gutting could have big names (i.e. Steven Jackson)

Cutting the Falcons roster -- Should they stay or should they go?


Todd Gurley speaks about autograph-signing caper

Bucs appear set to cast future with Jameis Winston

Todd Gurley intriguing prospect to NFL teams

Alabama stars Cooper, Collins headed for first round

Chris Conley puts on a dazzling show at the combine

Waller, Smelter out to prove NFL standing at the combine


Watch: D. Led -- Falcons news at the combine

Watch: NFL Network's Mike Mayock at the combine

Watch: Jameis Winston to throw at the combine

Watch: Todd Gurley has interviews set up with 24 NFL teams

Watch: Falcons general manager Thomas Dimitroff at the combine

Watch: Falcons coach Dan Quinn at the combine

Watch: Rams GM Les Snead on the pass-rush talent at the combine


Oregon DE Arik Armstead talked scheme with the Falcons

Falcons met with Alabama quarterback Blake Sims

Falcons to meet with Florida DE Dante Fowler Jr.

Falcons met with Wake Forest CB Kevin Johnson

Falcons met with Alabama safety Landon Collins


Photographs from the 2015 NFL scouting combine

Photos of players with Georgia ties at the scouting combine

Photos of NFL pass rusher set to enter free agency

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About the Author

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