Friday, September 9, 2022

Atlanta Falcons 2023 NFL Mock Draft Roundup 2.0

Throughout the year and leading up to the 2023 NFL Draft, we will update our Atlanta Falcons Mock Draft Roundup showing picks for the Atlanta Falcons from several prominent sites and draft analysts.

The following are picks in recent mock drafts for the Falcons:

CBS Sports - Wilson (9/7)

2. C.J. Stroud, QB, Ohio State

This isn't an indictment of Desmond Ridder, but instead the realization that the Falcons would like to get out of the "picking in the top 10" business. Landing a bona fide franchise QB is the best way to do that.

The Draft Network - Crabbs (9/5)

2. Anthony Richardson, QB, Florida

Surprise! I'll tell you this... if Anthony Richardson plays to the standard that he set this weekend against a very good Utah defense, I have a hard time believing the NFL will showcase any level of restraint with his evaluation. The dude was like Superman against the Utes. I'll be honest, I came into this season needing to see more from Richardson. "He's only thrown 66 pass attempts, I need a bigger sample size," I said. Well, I got one. And boy was that a fun display.

Is this a bit of a knee-jerk reaction? Probably. But he's got a head-to-head showcase against Will Levis this weekend (which I expect Florida to win) and September is the time of year when early narratives are carved. So why is Atlanta ready to take a quarterback? Because Arthur Smith won't have much time to fix things if the Falcons regress to owning the No. 2 overall pick in year two of his regime after trading away Matt Ryan.

Sporting News - Iyer (9/3)

4. Myles Murphy, EDGE, Clemson

The Falcons have might have snuck away with a franchise QB answer in Desmond Ridder so they should be focused on taking the best defensive player available. There's limited dropoff from Anderson to Murphy, another explosive producer in getting to the QB.

SI - Hanson (8/31)

1. Will Anderson, EDGE, Alabama

While it wouldn't surprise me if the Falcons drafted a quarterback—Ohio State's C.J. Stroud or Alabama's Bryce Young—even after drafting Desmond Ridder in the third round last April, Anderson enters the 2022 college football season comfortably ranked as my top draft prospect and Atlanta is still early in its rebuild process. Rookie edge defenders Arnold Ebiketie (38th pick in '22) and DeAngelo Malone (82nd) will help improve a pass rush that generated a league-low 18 sacks last season, but Anderson would give his hometown team a true difference maker. Anderson, who played his high school football less than 30 miles from Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Hampton, Ga., led the nation in QB pressures in each of the past two seasons—60 in '20 (as a true freshman) and 81 in '21, per PFF stats. Anderson's not just an elite pass rusher, he's also an outstanding run defender as well.

The Athletic - Baumgardner/Tice (8/31)

3. Jalen Carter, IDL, Georgia

Atlanta might feel a lot different about its quarterback situation in four months — rookie Desmond Ridder has played some good football so far this preseason, albeit primarily behind presumed bridge starter Marcus Mariota. The Falcons would love nothing more than to have Ridder take off so they wouldn't have to worry about where they land in another QB derby next spring. If that happens and Atlanta has a chance to take arguably the best defensive lineman on Georgia's historic 2021 national title defense (you read that correctly), then general manager Terry Fontenot can send in this pick without blinking. If Ridder struggles, Atlanta could be in great position to take another QB swing.

The Draft Network - Weissman (8/29)

2. C.J. Stroud, QB, Ohio State

While the Falcons did select Desmond Ridder relatively early in last year's draft, I expect them to still be in the market for their franchise QB of the future. The team finds their man here in Ohio State's CJ Stroud.

Stroud is a playmaker who possesses very good accuracy and deep-ball arm strength. He got better after every game he played last season and with another strong year, he could cement his status as QB1.

Pro Football Network - Fragozza (8/27)

2. Jalen Carter, IDL, Georgia

Outside of A.J. Terrel, the Falcons' defense is devoid of youthful talent. So, why not give them possibly the best defensive player in the draft?

Three Georgia defensive linemen came off the board in the first round last April. One even went first overall. But Jalen Carter is better than all of them. He consistently penetrates the pocket and is a scheme-independent DT. Carter is truly a top-three talent with twitch, power, and length.

ESPN - Reid (8/25)

5. Bryce Young, QB, Alabama

Rookie Desmond Ridder has been a bright spot this preseason, and Marcus Mariota is set to be the early starter, but neither quarterback has Young's upside. Young's slender 6-foot-1, 194-pound frame will be a never-ending talking point, but he has all of the requisite traits to be Atlanta's next franchise quarterback. Young enters the season as my QB1 after throwing for 4,872 yards and 47 touchdowns in 2021. The moment is never too big for him, and he plays the game with the same heartbeat, no matter the magnitude of the game.

MORE TEAMS: All NFL Team Mock Draft Roundups

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