Falcons Take Defender with ‘Crushing Mentality’ in New 3 Round Mock

Jamien Sherwood

Douglas P. DeFelice/Getty Images Evan Hull of the Northwestern Wildcats runs against Jamien Sherwood of the Auburn Tigers on January 1, 2021.

On Friday Pro Football Focus (PFF) offered its three-round mock draft for the entire NFC South, headlined by the Atlanta Falcons selecting Florida tight end Kyle Pitts No. 4 overall.

Never mind that one analyst recently called the Falcons a “golden spot” for a young quarterback … and that Atlanta has just one quarterback—Matt Ryan—on its roster … or that new general manager Terry Fontenot has indicated he wants to “stack good quarterbacks.”

PFF likes Pitts to Atlanta, in part because “Pitts is arguably the best all-around receiving option in the draft,” writes Seth Galina.

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“Pitts is different,” adds Sam Monson of PFF. “He is a tweener without the negatives. He is the best pure tight end in this class, but if he had never played inline at all and was coming into the draft as a 6-foot-5, 245-pound ‘X receiver,’ he would be the best wide receiver available in a historically great class. He would be seen as Calvin Johnson 2.0.”

Indeed all of that helps explain why Pitts has said the Falcons seem “pretty interested” in drafting him.


The Falcons Address Needs in Rounds 2 and 3

After going the “best player available”-route in the first round, PFF has the Falcons addressing an “absolute position of need” in the second round.

“The Falcons can’t get generate quarterback pressure to save their lives, so they take the high-upside [edge rusher] Jayson Oweh to save them. Oweh might be a bit of a reach in the first round, but he fits a perfect need in the early second round,” writes Galina, who notes that Oweh is “such a dynamite run-stopping defender, using elite quickness on his way to a whopping 21 run stops and an 89.8 run-defense grade in 2020. That grade was good enough for third-best in the country among edge defenders with at least 100 run-defense snaps.”

On the other hand, Oweh is “not quite the developed pass rusher you might want at this pick,” concludes Galina, which is an argument for the Falcons looking elsewhere for pass rush help, despite the Penn State product’s exceptional athleticism.

Finally, in the third round PFF has the Falcons taking safety Jamien Sherwood (Auburn) at No. 68 overall.

“The 2020 season was really his only campaign as a full-time player, so teams would like to see more snaps on tape, but he showed flashes of the modern safety/linebacker hybrid,” notes Galina, as well as what PFF describes as a “crushing mentality,” one that Sherwood attempts to explain below:


The Rest of the NFC South

As for the other teams in Atlanta’s division, PFF has the Carolina Panthers selecting Alabama QB Mac Jones at No. 8 overall, followed by Alabama offensive lineman Landon Dickerson in round two and cornerback Benjamin St-Juste (Minnesota) at No. 73 overall.

Then PFF has New Orleans taking cornerbacks with its first two selections—Asante Samuel, Jr. (Florida State) and Ifeatu Melifonwu (Syracuse)—followed by linebacker Jamin Davis (Kentucky) at No. 98 overall and wide receiver Amari Rodgers (Clemson) at No. 105 overall.

As for the “barely any holes to fill” Tampa Bay Buccaneers, its defensive lineman Christian Barmore (Alabama) with the last pick of the first round, and then tight end Pat Freiermuth (Penn State) at No. 64 overall, followed by safety Divine Deablo of Virginia Tech in round three.

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