2017 NFL mock draft 1.0: Falcons select Carl Lawson with 31st pick

090515 ATLANTA: Louisville quarterback Reggie Bonnafon is sacked by Auburn defenders Carl Lawson (center) and Dontavius Russell (right) during the second quarter in the Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game on Saturday, Sept. 5, 2015, in Atlanta. Curtis Compton / ccompton@ajc.com

090515 ATLANTA: Louisville quarterback Reggie Bonnafon is sacked by Auburn defenders Carl Lawson (center) and Dontavius Russell (right) during the second quarter in the Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game on Saturday, Sept. 5, 2015, in Atlanta. Curtis Compton / ccompton@ajc.com

FLOWERY BRANCH — By the time the NFL scouting combines ends and teams have made their Pro Day visits, the dust will settle at the top of the draft class.

Despite Deshaun Watson’s great play over the past two college seasons, he is not currently the consensus No. 1 overall pick and is not even the consensus No. 1 quarterback heading into the scouting combine, which starts on Tuesday and run through Monday, March, 6. The draft is set for April 27-29 in Philadelphia.

“He played pretty good against Alabama for two years in a row,” said Gil Brandt, the former personnel executive with the Dallas Cowboys turned broadcaster for NFL SiriusXM Radio. “Although I do think that last touchdown pass was probably a pick play.”

Some don’t think Clemson’s offense translates to the NFL game and that Watson will have to read more than one or two receivers to be successful.

“The first thing I look at in recruiting (a quarterback) is what size hands does he have?,” Brandt said. “I don’t want to have a quarterback that has eight or seven inch hands. I want a quarterback that had 9 and ¾ inch or 10 inch hands, is what I like. We’ll find a lot more about him at the combine. I understand he’s going to work out and that is a good sign starting right there.”

Mike Mayock has Notre Dame’ DeShone Kizer as his top rated quarterback. Others have North Carolina’s Mitch Trubisky as the top rated signal-caller.

“The quarterback conversation this year is a tough one,” Mayock said.

Also, Texas Tech’s Patrick Mahomes and California’s Davis Webb are considered NFL quarterback prospects.

We are projecting that once teams meet Watson, of Gainesville High, and take him through the NFL scouting grinder, that he, like Cam Newton did in 2011, will come out as the top prospect and top quarterback in the draft.

The Watson File:  The record-setting quarterback

September 22, 2016 Atlanta - Clemson Tigers quarterback Deshaun Watson (4) warms up before their game against the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets at Bobby Dodd Stadium on Thursday, September 22, 2016. HYOSUB SHIN / HSHIN@AJC.COM

September 22, 2016 Atlanta – Clemson Tigers quarterback Deshaun Watson (4) warms up before their game against the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets at Bobby Dodd Stadium on Thursday, September 22, 2016. HYOSUB SHIN / HSHIN@AJC.COM

guided the Tigers to consecutive College Football Playoff appearances, and the school’s second National Championship in 2016. The two-time Heisman Trophy finalist led the Tigers to 28 wins over his final two seasons. He finished his storied career with a 32-3 record as a starter, best winning percentage in school history for a quarterback. He finished third in ACC history in total offense (12,094), behind only N.C. State’s Philip Rivers and former Clemson quarterback Tajh Boyd. He passed for 10,163 yards and 90 career touchdowns and finished in Clemson history in career completion percentage (.674), passing efficiency (157.5) and total offense per game (318.3). He was a two-time team most valuable player and two-time All-ACC academic team (2015,16) selection. NFLDraftScout.com has him ranked as the third best quarterback in the draft and projects that he’ll be drafted in the first or second round.

Now, with the Falcons picking at No. 31 in the first round, they can sit back and wait for the best defensive player to fall to them or move up and go get Tennessee defensive end Derek Barnett.

Here, in the pre-combine Mock. 1.0, we have them selecting former Auburn standout Carl Lawson:

  1. Cleveland. Deshaun Watson, QB, Clemson
  2. San Francisco. Myles Garrett, DE, Texas A&M
  3. Chicago. Mitch Trubisky, QB, North Carolina
  4. Jacksonville. Jonathan Allen, DT, Alabama
  5. Tennessee. Malik Hooker, S, Ohio State
  6. New York Jets. Leonard Fournette, RB, LSU
  7. Los Angles Chargers. Jamal Adams, S, LSU
  8. Carolina. Ryan Ramcyk, OT, Wisconsin
  9. Cincinnati. Rueben Foster, LB, Alabama
  10. Buffalo. Taco Charlton, LB, Michigan
  11. New Orleans. Marshon Lattimore, CB, Ohio State
  12. Cleveland. Alvin Kamara, RB, Tennessee
  13. Arizona. Mike Williams, WR, Clemson.
  14. Indianapolis or  Philadelphia (winner coin flip). Derek Barnett, DE, Tennessee
  15. Indianapolis or  Philadelphia (loser of coin flip). Dalvin Cook, RB, Florida State
  16. Baltimore. Takkarist McKinley, DE, UCLA
  17. Washington. Solomon Thomas, DE, Stanford
  18. Tennessee. Sidney Jones, CB, Washington
  19. Tampa Bay. Charles Harris, DE, Missouri
  20. Denver. Garrett Bolles, OT, Utah
  21. Detroit. O.J. Howard, TE, Alabama
  22. Miami. Tim Williams, LB, Alabama
  23. New York Giants. Tre’davious White, CB, LSU
  24. Oakland. Quincy Wilson, CB, Florida
  25. Houston. Cam Robinson, OT, Alabama
  26. Seattle. Dan Freeney, OG, Indiana
  27. Kansas City. Jabrill Peppers, SS, Michigan
  28. Dallas. David Njoku, TE, Miami
  29. Green Bay. Christian McCaffrey, RB, Stanford
  30. Pittsburgh. Corey Davis, WR, Western Michigan
  31. Atlanta. Carl Lawson, DE, Auburn
  32. New England. T.J. Watt, LB, Wisconsin

tempap_17037087361579-nfl_mezz_1280_1024The Falcons Cheerleaders made the trip to Super Bowl LI.

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