The Atlanta Falcons should spend their first four picks addressing two positions heavily to fix the roster at key spots. The best way to build a roster when stuck up against the cap is to get affordable, average-level players at the cheaper positions on the roster and then draft the expensive ones.
In this case, the very expensive positions of wide receiver and pass rusher are where the Falcons should do their double dipping. With some help from the mock draft machine that our friends at The Draft Network set up, we run down a fun mock draft situation where the Atlanta Falcons have a double dip at two different spots in the 2022 NFL draft.
Round 1, No. 8 overall: EDGE Kayvon Thibodeaux, Oregon
Player comparison: Chandler Jones, Arizona Cardinals
The first pick in this 2022 Atlanta Falcons mock draft is easy. Atlanta needs to build their pass rush with a true premiere pass rusher like Kayvon Thibodeaux. If he falls to No. 8, they should be sprinting to the podium for the best edge rusher in the draft. Thibodeaux has some of the best pass rushing skills in the draft and could develop into a true 15-plus sack guy in the future. The Falcons would finally have their premiere pass rusher with this pick.
Round 2, No. 43 overall: WR Drake London, Southern California
Player comparison: Keyshawn Johnson, New York Jets and others
With all the questions surrounding the whole Calvin Ridley situation and with no one else really on the roster at wide receiver outside of Frank Darby, the Falcons need some depth at the position that can fit what Arthur Smith likes. Drake London is a large, long, and strong wide receiver who can attack the seams and middle of the field, and burn a team deep. London would be an instant No. 1 if Ridley is gone.
Round 2, No. 58 overall: EDGE Myjai Sanders, Cincinnati
Player comparison: Trey Hendrickson, Cincinnati Bengals
Adding Myjai Sanders to the combination of Kayvon Thibodeaux and Adetokunbo Ogundeji would give the Falcons three long, tall edge rushers who know how to use their frames and attack opposing quarterbacks. With Sanders able to lead a pass rush in his own right, the Falcons could roll out multiple waves of talented edge defenders in a rotation with little drop off while keeping everyone fresh.
Round 3, No. 74 overall: WR John Metchie, Alabama
Player comparison: Roddy White, Atlanta Falcons
Assuming Ridley comes back, Metchie would be a great fit for the Falcons as a No. 3 to start with before taking over for Ridley when he leaves. If Ridley is gone, Metchie has all the tools to be a great No. 2 for Drake London. He can get open easily and allows the Falcons to have a receiver who can win in the same ways that Roddy White used to. Metchie should be a great third down guy early and often.
Round 4, No. 112 overall: OL Alec Lindstrom, Boston College
Player comparison: J.C. Tretter, Cleveland Browns
The Falcons need some interior line competition at center and guard. Chris Lindstrom is Alec Lindstrom’s brother, and he was a fringe Pro Bowl player for the Falcons this past season. Matt Hennessy and Jalen Mayfield were mediocre this past season and the Falcons would love to have someone who can come in and compete and add to the chemistry on the offensive line. Alec Lindstrom would do that.
Round 5, No. 150 overall: RB Dameon Pierce, Florida
Player comparison: Mark Ingram, New Orleans Saints
Atlanta needs to get the running game sorted out long term. But focusing resources on a running back early in the draft isn’t worth it. Adding a talented running back like Dameon Pierce to help build the depth is the right way to go. Pierce is a strong interior rusher who can add a level to the Falcons running game in those short yardage situations. Pierce may never be a starter, but he should be an impact player on the Falcons for years.
Round 6, No. 188 overall: CB Jermaine Waller, Virginia Tech
Player comparison: Justin Bethel, New England Patriots
Additional corner depth is needed in Atlanta. Jermaine Waller was a perfect complement to Caleb Farley as an outside boundary corner in college. He would be a great fit for the Falcons schematically as a taller boundary corner who can pattern match with the bigger receivers in the NFC South. However, early in his career he’s going to play primarily special teams.
Round 6, No. 211 overall: S Smoke Monday, Auburn
Player comparison: Jayron Kearse
The Atlanta Falcons round out this 2022 NFL mock draft with another DB. Atlanta needs depth at safety and on special teams. Smoke Monday has not only the coolest name in the draft, but he’s also the best option for them late in the third day. He can come in and compete for playing time on special teams right away, and eventually learn to play a true box safety role in Atlanta to complement Richie Grant — if they don’t believe Jaylinn Hawkins is the guy.