2010 NFL Mock Draft, Fans Pick Edition: No. 19 - Atlanta Falcons
The Atlanta Falcons have the tools in place to be a competitive football team, and the 2008 draft was especially good to them, grabbing quarterback Matt Ryan and offensive tackle Sam Baker in the first round. They also took middle linebacker Curtis Lofton in the second round giving the Falcons three fantastic building blocks for the future.
General Manager Thomas Dimitroff has also added depth through free agency and trading bringing in running back Michael Turner in 2008 and tight end Tony Gonzalez in 2009, while signing the best available cornerback, Dunta Robinson, back in March of 2010.
So where does this team still have holes? Three areas of concern will be addressed in the 2010 draft -- outside linebacker, defensive end and the offensive line.
The Falcons are returning both outside linebackers from last season -- Mike Peterson and Stephen Nicholas -- but Peterson, while a team leader, isn't a spring chicken anymore and the unit could use an upgrade.
When it came to getting to the quarterback last year, the Falcons ranked 26th in the league with only 28 sacks. If the team can find the right edge rusher in the first round, they'll take a long look at getting someone opposite of John Abraham.
If the Falcons can't find the right value at defensive end or outside linebacker, they may look to the offensive line and grab a center. Todd McClure just finished his 11th NFL season and won't be around forever.
Previous Pick: Steelers -- Maurkice Pouncey, C, Florida; Next Up: Houston
(Note: The poll is now closed. Click here for the latest on the 2010 NFL Mock Draft, Fans' Picks Edition)
Brandon Graham, DE, Michigan: Leading the college football ranks in tackles for loss is proof enough that Graham can get into the backfield and wreak havoc. This will bode well for the Falcons' troubles in getting to the quarterback and can also help against the run.
Carlos Dunlap, DE, Florida: Dunlap registered 19.5 sacks, 26 tackles for loss, eight pass deflections and two forced fumbles in his three seasons at Florida. He's tall and tough to get around, which will definitely pose problems for opposing offenses.
Everson Griffen, DE, USC: Griffen had an impressive Pro Day running the 40-yard dash in 4.59 seconds and registering a 34-inch vertical jump. He also finished the season at USC with eight sacks and 9.5 tackles for loss and 45 tackles. Griffen is a fantastic athlete and a sack machine.
Jerry Hughes, DE/OLB, TCU: Hughes has nice speed and a non-stop motor which both help when it comes to getting to the quarterback. He played defensive end at Texas but can easily make the jump to outside linebacker in the pros, if needed. Hughes is small, but fast, and a very well rounded athlete.
Sergio Kindle, OLB/DE, Texas: Known as an extremely athletic and powerful football player, Kindle brings versatility to the Falcons, being able to play on the line and in the linebacker corps. He's an explosive playmaker and somewhat polished, meaning he can step in and produce early.