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Thursday, April 17, 2014
Analyzing Kiper Mock 4.0: Falcons

By Vaughn McClure

The fun behind mock drafts is opinions can change on a daily basis.

Such has been the case this year with mixed opinions about the quarterback class as well as the top pass-rushers.

Everyone, however, seems to agree South Carolina defensive end Jadeveon Clowney is the most physically gifted and dominating player in the draft, which is why he should be the No. 1 overall pick. But until the Houston Texans actually come out and declare Clowney as their guy, the speculation will continue.

ESPN draft guru Mel Kiper's latest mock draft is out now, and there's an interesting change in relation to the Atlanta Falcons. Kiper seemed to be in favor of the Falcons selecting Texas A&M offensive tackle Jake Matthews with the sixth overall pick. But he changed direction this time around, selecting Michigan's Taylor Lewan for the Falcons, with Matthews dropping to Buffalo at No. 9.

The way I view it, the Falcons wouldn't go wrong with either of the three top tackles: Lewan, Matthews or Auburn's Greg Robinson. A scout told me early in the process he would choose Lewan over Matthews. If the Falcons had their preference, they probably would love to have Robinson fall to them just based on his tremendous upside.

However, the nastiness and toughness the Falcons are in search of this offseason is exactly what Lewan would bring to the team. There have been questions about a misdemeanor assault charge he's facing, but that shouldn't scare any team away. Lewan just needs to bring that same kind of fight to the field, and he will.

I firmly believe the Falcons will target protection in the first round rather than pursuing a pass-rusher. In the second round of Kiper's latest mock draft, he has the Falcons selecting Auburn pass-rusher Dee Ford. Todd McShay made the same pick last week. If Ford falls out of the first round and to the Falcons, it would be a steal.