Falcons mock draft: Atlanta lands Georgia LB, Penn State WR

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  • Atlanta Falcons
    Atlanta Falcons
    LiveTodayTomorrowvs--|
  • Nakobe Dean
    American football linebacker
  • Jahan Dotson
    American football wide receiver

As 2022 begins and the 2021 NFL season winds down, coverage of the draft is about to get ramped way up.

There are still two games remaining in the regular season and somehow the Atlanta Falcons are simultaneously on track for a top-10 pick and fighting for an NFC playoff seed. This year’s draft will be crucial as the Falcons front office continues to operate with very little cap space.

Using the Pro Football Focus mock draft simulator, we went through the first two rounds of the 2022 draft and made all three of Atlanta’s picks. Here are the results from our New Year’s Day Falcons mock.

Round 1 (No. 10): LB Nakobe Dean - Georgia

(AP Photo/John Amis)

Pick analysis: With the top edge rushers off the board, I felt the versatile Georgia linebacker made the most sense and brought the most value without reaching for need. Dean has primarily played off the ball, but his pass-rushing ability and effectiveness blitzing from pretty much anywhere make him a weapon Falcons DC Dean Pees could utilize perfectly. Dean has great speed and despite his small stature, he’s also very good against the run. Deion Jones hasn’t been a great fit in Atlanta’s 3-4 scheme. Dean would provide another long-term option at inside linebacker next to Oluokun, or potentially play more of an outside/EDGE role.

Round 2 (No. 42): WR Jahan Dotson - Penn State

Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports

Pick analysis: While it was tempting to go with a receiver or cornerback at pick No. 10, it seemed likely that a quality player at one of these two positions would be available in the second round. Dotson had a great season and offers good value here, while filling the team’s massive need at receiver. He doesn’t have great size (5-foot-11, 185 pounds) but with Kyle Pitts on the field, Dotson could do some serious damage. He’s got breakaway speed and a freakish ability to go up and get the ball like he’s 6-foot-4. Calvin Ridley’s future feels uncertain at this point, and beyond him, Russell Gage will need a new contract soon either in Atlanta or somewhere else.

Round 2 (No. 61): RB Breece Hall - Iowa State

(Photo by David Purdy/Getty Images)

Pick analysis: Finally a running back? Yes, there’s no excuse to pass on one again in this year’s draft. Cordarrelle Patterson has been a revelation and a fringe MVP candidate, but he’s only human and the team needs to get younger at the position. If Arthur Smith is looking for a physical back with a nose for the end zone, Hall has rushed for over 5.5 yards per carry and 20 touchdowns in each of the past two seasons. The Iowa State running back has also improved as a pass-catcher, adding a career-high 36 receptions for 302 receiving yards and three scores this season.

Mock draft recap:

(AP Photo/David Dermer)

  • Pick No. 10: LB Nakobe Dean – Georgia

  • Pick No. 42: WR Jahan Dotson – Penn State

  • Pick No. 61: RB Breece Hall – Iowa State

PFF's mock draft grade

(Image generated by Pro Football Focus mock simulator)

Overall, PFF gave our Falcons mock an A- grade. It’s still very early in draft season, but make sure to try it yourself and see if you can balance need and value, or if you just simply want to draft a quarterback.

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