With The 24th Pick In The FanIQ NFL Mock Draft, The Atlanta Falcons Select...
Here are the picks so far:
1. Detroit Lions - Aaron Curry, LB, Wake Forest
2. St Louis Rams - Eugene Monroe, OT, Virginia
3. Kansas City Chiefs - Jason Smith, OT, Baylor
4. Seattle Seahawks - Matthew Stafford, QB, Georgia
5. Cleveland Browns - Micahel Crabtree, WR, Texas Tech
6. Cincinnati Bengals - Michael Oher, OT, Mississippi
7. Oakland Raiders - BJ Raji, DT, Boston College
8. Jacksonville Jaguars - Everette Brown, LB, Florida State
9. Green Bay Packers - Brian Orakpo, DE, Texas
10. San Francisco 49ers - Jeremy Maclin, WR, Missouri
11. Buffalo Bills - Brandon Pettigrew, TE, Oklahoma State
12. Denver Broncos - Aaron Maybin, DE, Penn State
13. Washington Redskins - Andre Smith, OT, Alabama
14. New Orleans Saints - Malcolm Jenkins, CB, Ohio State
15. Houston Texans - Clay Matthews, LB, USC
16. San Diego Chargers - Rey Maualuga, LB, USC
17. New York Jets - Mark Sanchez, QB, USC
18. Denver Broncos - Brian Cushing, LB, USC
19. Tampa Bay Buccaneers - Michael Johnson, DE, Georgia Tech
20. Detroit Lions - Tyson Jackson, DE, LSU
21. Philadelphia Eagles - Knowshon Moreno, RB, Georgia
22. Minnesota Vikings - Darrius Heyward-Bey, WR, Maryland
23. New England Patriots - Paul Kruger, LB/DE, Utah
The Falcons are in need of help on defense, period. Through attrition and the mistakes of past regimes, Atlanta has holes at defensive tackle, linebacker, safety and probably defensive end. It's going to take an intelligent, defense-heavy draft to solve those problems.
I'm not going to lie, the 24th spot has been tormenting me all off-season. The two guys I could potentially pick here--OLB Clint Sintim and DT Evander Hood--could both be considered slight reaches. When you're a team that needs to fill needs with the best players available at those spots, however, I think it makes a lot more sense. Some are predicting TE Brandon Pettigrew in other mock drafts, but he has already been taken, and I'm rejecting him because the Falcon offense is already pretty dynamic, and it's clear that the D needs a boost.
In the end, I'm going with Clint Sintim, as I consistently have through each mock draft I've participated in. Sintim has experience in a 3-4, which the Falcons do not run, but he's got the strength and ability to be a force on the outside in a 4-3. I'm not that worried by his average combine numbers or the concerns about his ability to play the pass because the tape tells a tale of an athlete with plenty of speed, and the Falcon coaching staff has already proved they can work with someone's weaknesses. I would expect Sintim to step in and start sometime during his rookie season, and I think he would prove to be a true value pick for the Falcons at 24.