NFL Draft Rumors: Falcons Pushing to Move Into Top-Five

Julio Jones

Getty Julio Jones, #6 overall pick by the Atlanta Falcons, poses with family on stage during the 2011 NFL Draft.

The Atlanta Falcons have recently been rumored to be the most aggressive team in the 2020 NFL Draft. ESPN’s Chris Mortensen said the Falcons could move into the top-5 of for a cornerback.

It’s no secret the Falcons are in need of a difference-maker on defense, a couple for that matter. They will get their first pick at No. 16 but if they want who they have their eyes on, they’re going to have to make a drastic jump to get one of them. And Mortensen has no doubt they’ll do so.

Mortensen has the Falcons aiming for a cornerback, but there are multiple gaps the Falcons need to fill defensively.

If Mortensen is right and the Falcons are aiming for a corner they’ll most likely jump to grab Clemson’s Isaiah Simmons or Ohio State’s Jeff Okudah.

Isaiah Simmon’s Scouting Report

The 6-foot-4, 238-pound linebacker, Simmons flourished as a Tiger. He led all defensive players with 97 tackles in 2018 and accumulated seven pass defenses and a pick-six.

The following season, Simmons only continued to improve at linebacker, registering 104 tackles, 16.5 tackles for a loss, eight sacks, eight pass defenses and three interceptions. At the end of the 2019 season, he was awarded the Butkus Award as the nation’s top linebacker for his efforts.

As a Clemson Tiger, Simmons has learned to adapt in more than just one position. He’s been moved around from safety, edge, and linebacker.

Simmons is “all in” with the new trend in the NFL where teams are working with only the best players and figuring out where they can perform their best at, regardless of where they’ve played in the past.

“I think it’s beneficial for me. I know years ago it wasn’t good to be a positionless guy,” Simmons said at the combine. “But now it’s become a benefit for me just because of all the versatility I’ll be able to do, play linebacker, play safety, whatever it is, I feel like it just helps me out.

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Jeff Okudah’s Scouting Report

Okudah is ranked to be the best of the best at cornerback in this year’s draft class and projected to go at the No. 4 spot.

Okudah made a name for himself coming out of high school, ranking No. 8-overall and a 5-star recruit. He only continued to improve as a Buckeye.

He saw the field early as a true freshman in 2017 and played in all 14 games recording 19 tackles, one pass breakup. After the season Okudah underwent shoulder surgery. The same season, Okudah’s mom lost her fight to lymphoma.

After not starting a single game in 2018, he still tied for the team lead in pass breakups with eight and also recorded 34 tackles.

Okudah blew it out of the water in 2019, his last season as a Buckeye. He starting all 14 games and earned recognition as first-team Associated Press All-American, first-team All-Big Ten, and Jim Thorpe Award finalist honors. He led the Buckeyes with three interceptions and nine pass breakups as a junior, also posting 35 tackles and two forced fumbles.

Prior to declaring for the NFL draft, Okudah wrote a letter to his late mother:

“I’m excited and I’m ready.

I’m ready to take my place within the lineage of elite Ohio State cornerbacks, and proud Ohio State alums. I’m ready to keep challenging myself, to keep grinding for more, to keep working as hard as it takes to accomplish my goals. I’m ready to provide for Karen and for the rest of my future family — to help these next generations of Okudahs reach their full potential, like you helped me reach mine.

But most of all? Looking back, when you left….. I was just a kid. And now I’m ready to be a man.

Now I’m ready for greatness.

I’m ready to be my mother’s son.” 

(The full letter can be read at The Players Tribune)

Whoever lands either of these guys will be lucky, very lucky.

READ NEXT: Dan Quinn Believes Falcons Already Have a No. 1 Cornerback


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