Without question, my favorite part of Rivers' selection for the Atlanta Falcons was that he e-mailed it to me back on March 29th, with an introductory line of "I'm about 99% sure that this guy won't go off the board before I pick, so I'm going to go ahead and submit it now." The man is a seer. Read on to see who he preemptively deemed a Falcon three weeks ago.
With the 30th pick of the 2013 BRB Mock Draft, the Atlanta Falcons select Jordan Reed (TE--Florida).
Based on my viewings, while I'm not ready to declare Reed the next Aaron Hernandez, I think he has a very good chance to be that type of weapon in the NFL. He's a matchup nightmare, and while he hasn't shown consistency with his blocking in the NCAA, I feel like he has the raw physicality to do this at the NFL level. Good coaching and good game-planning will turn Reed into a nightmare for defensive coordinators.
So why Atlanta? First of all, I think they're pretty set at most positions, so they have the luxury of taking a high-risk pick here. The weak point right now is probably cornerback, and not only do I not like any of the cornerbacks on the board from a pure value perspective at this point, but there are still plenty of adequate free agents out there at the position.
Secondly, this pick has a chance to elevate their offense from very good to stratospheric. Atlanta used a lot of three-reciever sets last year, but the dirty little secret is that Harry Douglas has pretty much been a disappointment. He finished 76th of 82 qualifying receivers in DVOA and 75th in DYAR. So despite the fact that Douglas was essentially drawing single coverage at all times next to Tony Gonzalez, Julio Jones, and Roddy White ... throwing at him was a complete waste of time. The Falcons also had a lot of trouble in the run game, where Michael Turner and Jacquizz Rodgers had trouble generating yards between the tackles. Reed comes in with the potential to make the Falcons more multiple AND play out of a bigger formation, meaning he could upgrade both sections of their offense. How much success have we seen the Patriots create offensively with guys like Brandon Lloyd and Deion Branch outside with their pair of tight ends? Reed won't automatically turn the Falcons' offense into that kind of force, and Matt Ryan (while good), is no Tom Brady ... but this is the New England offensive blueprint with, oh by the way, the best one-two receiving punch in the NFL on the outside.
Reed gives the Falcons insurance for Tony Gonzalez's inevitable departure in the long-term and potentially elevates their offense into one of the best units in the league in the short-term. It's risky, but this is the kind of move I pound the table for. The Falcons can cobble together enough defense to win a Super Bowl next year if these pieces gel like I think they can.
Rivers is nothing if not bold. What's more, we're sure to see a pick like this from some team in the latter part of the first round. TDC and the San Francisco 49ers are on the clock.
1. Kansas City Chiefs--Luke Joeckel (OT--Texas A&M)
2. Jacksonville Jaguars--Eric Fisher (OT--Central Michigan)
3. Oakland Raiders--Sharrif Floyd (DT--Florida)
4. Philadelphia Eagles--Dee Milliner (CB--Alabama)
5. Detroit Lions--Jarvis Jones (LB--Georgia)
6. Cleveland Browns--Keenan Allen (WR--Cal)
7. Arizona Cardinals--Chance Warmack (OG--Alabama)
8. Buffalo Bills--Geno Smith (QB--West Virginia)
9. New York Jets--Dion Jordan (DE/OLB--Oregon)
10. Tennessee Titans--Ezekial Ansah (DE--BYU)
11. San Diego Chargers--Lane Johnson (OT--Oklahoma)
12. Miami Dolphins--Barkevious Mingo (DE/OLB--LSU)
13. Tampa Bay Buccaneers--Tavon Austin (WR--West Virginia)
14. Carolina Panthers--Star Lotulelei (DT--Utah)
15. New Orleans Saints--Sheldon Richardson (DT--Missouri)
16. St. Louis Rams--DeAndre Hopkins (WR--Clemson)
17. Pittsburgh Steelers--Cordarrelle Patterson (WR--Tennessee)
18. Dallas Cowboys--Jonathan Cooper (G--North Carolina)
19. New York Giants--Bjoern Wagner (DE--Florida State)
20. Chicago Bears--Tyler Eifert (TE--Notre Dame)
21. Cincinnati Bengals--Kenny Vaccaro (S--Texas)
22. St. Louis Rams--Jonathan Cyprien (S--Florida International)
23. Minnesota Vikings--Arthur Brown (ILB--Kansas State)
24. Indianapolis Colts--Xavier Rhodes (CB--Florida State)
25. Minnesota Vikings--Jesse Williams (DT--Alabama)
26. Green Bay Packers--Tank Carradine (DE--Florida State)
27. Houston Texans--Datone Jones (DE--UCLA)
28. Denver Broncos--Desmond Trufant (CB--Washington State)
29. New England Patriots--D.J. Hayden (CB--Houston)
30. Atlanta Falcons--Jordan Reed (TE--Florida)