10 draft picks to put the Falcons back on top

FLOWERY BRANCH — The Falcons are in the final stages of setting their draft board for the NFL draft, which is set for May 8-10.

They start offseason conditioning today. We’ll have some media access on Tuesday.

Also, several of the top prospects including UCLA linebacker Anthony Barr, South Carolina defensive end Jadeveon Clowney and Buffalo linebacker Khalil Mack are scheduled to visit Flowery Branch next week.

The Falcons have also been connected to all of the top tackles in the draft in Auburn’s Greg Robinson, Texas A&M Jake Matthews and Michigan’s Taylor Lewan.

It’s clear that they are going either edge rusher or offensive tackle in the first round of the draft.

After that, the Falcons still have many other needs. Here’s how they see the draft working out for the Falcons, who have 10 picks.

Here is who the Falcons should take with their 10 picks:

Round 1 – No. 3 overall (Projected trade) – Greg Robinson, OT, Auburn: He’s consider the most athletic tackle in the draft. He has the highest ceiling.

Round 2 – No. 37 overall – Dee Ford, DE, Auburn: Ford terrorized tackles in the SEC last season as he finished the regular season with 12.5 tackles for loss, including 8.5 sacks. He was named to the coaches and Associated Press’ all-SEC team. He was the arguably the best player at the Senior Bowl. He solidified his draft status at the Tigers Pro Day. He had a 35 1/2-inch vertical, 10-foot, 4-inch long jump, he lifted 225 pounds 29 times on the bench press and 4.59 on his first 40-yard dash attempt and 4.53 on his second. “They said 4.53,” Ford said. “Some said 4.4 and half. But it’s all good. I’m just glad that I got out there and ran.”

Round 3 – No. 68 overall – Telvin Smith, LB, Florida State: Smith, 6-foot-3, 218 pounds, helped the Seminoles win the national championship. The Lowndes product was the team’s leading tackler with 90. He ran the 40-yard dash in 4.54 seconds at the combine,

Round 4 – No. 103 overall – Kenny Ladler, S, Vanderbilt: Ladler, who played at Stephenson High before going on to star for the Commodores, was an all-SEC selection. He has a nose for the football. He was the only FBS player last season with five interception and five forced fumbles.

Round 4 – No. 139 overall (compensatory) — C.J. Fiedorowicz, TE, Iowa:  Fiedorowicz played in the Senior Bowl and was named the most outstanding tight end/wide receiver. He completed his career with at least one pass reception in 31 straight games, which ranked second among active FBS tight ends. He played for the Hawkeyes as a true freshman in 2010.

Round 5 – No. 147 overall – Terrance West, RB, Towson State: In 2013: West scored at least one touchdown in all 16 games for the Tigers. He also ran for more than 100 yards 12 times and had four 200-plus-yard games. West, who is 5-foot-9, 225 pounds, is the seventh rated running back in the draft.

Round 6 – No. 182 overall — Anthony Steen, OG, Alabama: He started the last two season for the Crimson Tide.

Round 7 – No. 220 overall – Jemea Thomas, S, Georgia Tech: The hard-hitting defensive back and play both safety and cornerback. He attended the Falcons’ locals day.

Round 7 – No. 253 overall (compensatory) – Kasim Edebali, OLB, Boston College: He’s a native of Germany. In 2013, he had 67 tackles, 15 tackles for loss, 9.5 sacks, five passes broken up, three forced fumbles and two fumble recoveries.

Round 7 – No. 255 overall (compensatory) – Branden Thomas, OG/O/T, Clemson: This is a pick for the future and a steal at this point. The Falcons had him in the Senior Bowl. He suffered a knee injury during his private workout with the Saints.

FALCONS’ DRAFT BOARD

–A look at Louisville LB Preston Brown

–A look at Iowa TE C.J. Fiedorowicz

–A look at Texas OLB/DE Jackson Jeffcoat

–A look at West Virginia RB Charles Sims

–A look at Auburn DE Dee Ford

–A look at Brigham Young OLB Kyle Van Noy

–A look at Arizona State OLB/DE Carl Bradford

–A look at UCLA OLB Anthony Barr

–BLOG: A list of the confirmed players at LOCALS DAY on Tuesday

–BLOG: FSU linebacker Telvin Smith visited the Falcons on Monday

–Falcons check out Towson State RB Terrance West, CB Jordan Love (UGA transfer)

–MyAJC ($): Eye-test vs. Tape-measure test: Falcons must trust their eyes during draft prep. 

FALCONS REWIND

–Blog: Falcons are not switching to a 3-4 defense front, they’ve been using it for past 2 seasons

–Blog: New jersey numbers picked; Devin Hester to wear No. 17

–Blog: Falcons awarded three compensatory picks

–Blog: Lamar Holmes was a performance-pay leader in 2014

–Blog: Umenyiora will return in 2014, no restructured deal

–Blog: Falcons release FB Bradie Ewing

–Blog: Falcons WR Roddy White owes Mercer fan some prime tickets

–Blog: Falcons owner Arthur Blank engaged to be married.  

–Blog: Former Falcons WR Kevin Cone to work out for Carolina

–Blog: Falcons re-sign defensive tackle Peria Jerry

–Blog: NFL to move forward on cleaning up ‘on-field’ language

MEET THE FREE AGENT SIGNEES

–MyAJC ($): Falcons spend $80 million in free agency to buy toughness

–Las Vegas doesn’t like Falcons’ free agency moves

–Falcons Free Agency Tracker — Falcons have committed $107.36 million to salaries 

–Q&A with PR/KR/WR Devin Hester

–Q&A with Falcons right guard Jon Asamoah

–Q&A with Falcons defensive end Tyson Jackson

–Q&A with Falcons defensive tackle Paul Soliai

2014 NFL DRAFT CENTRAL

–Mock Draft 1.0: Falcons trade out of sixth spot to land Pryor and Ebron

–12 teams who could draft UGA star Aaron Murray

–Louisville LB Preston Brown to work out for the Falcons

–Louisville DE Marcus Smith to work out for the Falcons

–MyAJC ($): OT Greg Robinson, DE Dee Ford shine at Auburn’s Pro Day

–VIDEO: Tackle Greg Robinson on Auburn’s Pro Day

–VIDEO: Running back Tra Mason on Auburn’s Pro Day

–Blog & VIDEO: Clemson QB Tajh Boyd has stellar Pro Day showing

–VIDEO: Clemson WR Sammy Watkins on his Pro Day


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