Todd McShay is an NFL Draft analyst for ESPN. He's released his first 2022 NFL Mock Draft, and he has the Atlanta Falcons taking a puzzling pick in the top 10.
Because the draft order is in flux week to week, McShay uses ESPN's power index to set the order. That gives the Falcons the No. 8 overall pick instead of No. 9 (where they are currently picking by record).
McShay has the Falcons selecting Alabama Crimson Tide wide receiver Jameson Williams with the No. 8 overall pick in a move that will give long-time Falcons fans some Thomas Dimitroff flashbacks.
A main reason the Falcons roster is so barren, in our opinion, is Dimitroff's propensity for over spending on offensive skill players.
McShay says all the right things about the Falcons before making the wrong pick for this team.
Will the Falcons upgrade in the trenches on either side of the ball? Atlanta is by far the worst in the NFL with just 16 sacks, and its offensive line is allowing pressure at the NFL's ninth-highest rate (31.7%). Could quarterback be the move after the Falcons opted to use the No. 4 pick on tight end Kyle Pitts in 2021, rather than get a QB of the future? It's a tough call, but I see them riding Matt Ryan -- who has played well -- another year, adopting a "best available" strategy here for a roster full of holes and then addressing QB in a better-stocked 2023 class.
And best available right now might just be Williams, who has tons of speed, elusiveness as a ball carrier and sure hands. His 1,445 receiving yards, 15 TD catches and 21.3 yards per catch all rank in the FBS' top five. Paired with Pitts and Calvin Ridley (who is out right now to focus on his mental health), Williams could do damage. - Todd McShay
There's no guarantee Ridley returns next season, which would leave an even bigger hole at the wide receiver position. Even still, we say the Falcons can't afford to go wide receiver given the other glaring holes on the team, including both lines of scrimmage and the secondary.
McShay has Notre Dame safety Kyle Hamilton sliding to No. 9 to the Jets. The Falcons, we believe, would do well to land the former Marist High School product if he's available.
And then there is this: Starting linebacker Steven Means is rated the worst outside linebacker in the NFL of 111 eligible by Pro Football Focus. His backup Brandon Copeland is rated 110th, and the Falcons are going to pass on Michigan's David Ojabo, who falls to the Philadelphia Eagles at No. 10?
Yes the Falcons need at least one more wide receiver next season.
Yes Jameson Williams is a terrific talent.
No, the Falcons shouldn't be drafting him in the top 10 while ignoring impact players at greater positions of need.
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