Look around at most mock drafts and the consensus seems to be that the Falcons have no intention of staying at the sixth pick, and for good reason. General Manager Thomas Dimitroff has shown no hesitancy in making aggressive moves for players he likes and this year just so happens to feature one of the most hyped athletes in draft history - Jadeveon Clowney. Unfortunately, we're not factoring in trades, so for this purpose I can't suggest Dimitroff offering a package of "All The Picks along with Mike Smith's summer home" to St. Louis in order to move up.
There's really not much to say about the 2013 Falcons because they just plain sucked at playing football. An NFC favorite before the season started, Atlanta managed to hit the 3-bar jackpot of disappointment: Injuries, poor player performance, and bad coaching (although Mike Smith has done a fine job, three line coaches were fired after the season).
The result was a humiliating 4-12 finished that left the franchise and its fans looking for answers. Losing Julio Jones to a broken foot early in the year certainly didn't help, and Roddy White, the team's other dynamic wide receiver, battled ailments like knee, hamstring, and jerk-itis all season long. The other side of the ball wasn't much better. The team let John Abraham walk in free agency the prior off-season who then went on to record 11.5 sacks with the Cardinals. Abraham's departure wasn't the sole reason the Falcons defense fell to 27th in the league, but it left them without a key playmaker who brought consistent pressure.
Speaking of pressure, the other area that plagued the 2013 Falcons was protecting Matt Ryan. The franchise quarterback got outright pummeled last year, taking the 3rd-most sacks in the league (44) behind only Ryan Tannehill and Joe Flacco. When you're paying your quarterback $100+ million like the Falcons are with Ryan, that's not a good thing. Because of that factor, their draft pick in this situation is a no-brainer.
With the 6th pick in the 2014 NFL draft, the Atlanta Falcons select:
Player: Greg Robinson
Position: Offensive Tackle
Year: Sophomore (RS)
Remember this enthusiastic (yet hilariously awkward) head bob that Arthur Blank performed in the NFL's ‘Play 60' commercial?
Now imagine that with even more vigor, because that's exactly what he'll be doing should Greg Robinson fall this far. Not only does Robinson fit a position of need for Atlanta, but some have described him as the second best overall player in this draft behind Clowney. And while the Falcons would love to get Clowney or Khalil Mack (who are both off the board at this point anyway) to add a dynamic defensive player, Robinson protects the team's most important asset - Matt Ryan.
The 6'5 320 lb. Robinson is an absolute behemoth and plays like a bulldozer with nitrous - violently punishing opponents in passing downs and mauling them in running situations. It's hard to make comparisons with players who have never stepped foot on an NFL field before, but the fact that scouts are comparing Robinson to Larry Allen speaks well of his prospects. So congratulations, Atlanta. Your quarterback will live to see another day.
Round One Summary
|1||Houston Texans||Blake Bortles||QB||Central Florida|
|2||St. Louis Rams||Jadeveon Clowney||DE||South Carolina|
|3||Jacksonville Jaguars||Khalil Mack||OLB||Buffalo|
|4||Cleveland Browns||Johnny Manziel||QB||Texas A&M|
|5||Oakland Raiders||Sammy Watkins||WR||Clemson|
|6||Atlanta Falcons||Greg Robinson||OT||Auburn|