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2015 NFL Mock Draft: With The Eighth Pick, The Atlanta Falcons Select...

We're a quarter of the way through our reader-driven mock draft. the Atlanta Falcons are up and grandmasteroz is stepping up to the podium.

Jason Getz-USA TODAY Sports

My face when I realize the Atlanta Falcons are this high up in the draft list:  photo Shocked-Surprised-Falcon.gif

After making the playoffs in 2008, 2010, 2011 and 2012, the Falcons have floundered to consecutive losing seasons, leading them to fire Mike Smith and ushering in Dan Quinn at head coach. Local BRB reader grandmasteroz is in charge of helping them turn the ship around with...

With the 8th pick in the 2015 BRB Mock Draft, the Atlanta Falcons take… Alvin "Bud" Dupree (DE/OLB -- Kentucky).

This was a tough pick to make. The Falcons have 3 glaring issues- pass rush, run stopping, and running the ball. They also have needs for a TE threat and another CB, both of which I suspect will be targeted in the later rounds.

Being the 8th pick, I think it is a little early to go after one of the big backs in the class. The Falcons definitely need someone to be able to run the ball- Steven Jackson, Devonta Freeman and Jacquizz Rodgers combined to average a whopping 3.75 yards/carry last year and between the 3 of them only gained 1,172 yards and 8 TD. Dan Quinn will look to add a running back to the already potent passing attack that he will inherit. This will help to take the pressure off of Julio Jones, Roddy White and Matt Ryan; it should give the offense more balance while having the added effect of making an already potent passing attack that much more effective. Look for the Falcons to take a high profile back in the 2nd to address the other huge need for them.

The next two options were to address the pass rush and stopping the run. On the ground, the Falcons gave up almost 1,900 yards last year. And that is while playing in a division more known for aerial attacks rather than ground games. Danny Shelton could be an option here, though I would suspect that the Falcons will find some mid-round DT to help Paul Soliai out.  I also wouldn’t be surprised to see the Falcons double dip at DT in the middle to late rounds for rotational guys who can help stop the run.

All that’s left is the biggest glaring need for the Falcons- the anemic pass rush. Two players are still on the board that could land in ATL, and both would be a good fit for different reasons. Shane Ray is an absolute monster as a pass rusher. He is a tad bit less athletically gifted than Bud Dupree, but is as relentless and violent of a pass rusher as there is and has become progressively more productive each year in college. Last season, Ray posted 14.5 sacks, 22.5 TFL, and 2 forced fumbles. He was the SEC DPOY, a 1st team All-American and a Hendricks Award finalist, and a Lombardi and Bednarik award semi-finalist. His hands are excellent, and he will need to use them in the NFL to make up for his two biggest weaknesses--his lack of length and his lack of weight. Although I think Ray’s best fit would be in Atlanta as a Bruce Irvin type of pass rush specialist, it was too early to justify taking him. I thought about it long and hard, and had actually written a post and argument as to why Ray would be the best fit in Atlanta. But in the end, the allure of Bud Dupree was just too good to pass up.

Dupree is an athletic freak, and I would say he’s almost on par with Jadeveon Clowney in terms of athletic freakishness. 6’4, 265 lbs., and the guy runs a 4.56 40.  A 138" broad jump and a 42" vertical show just how explosive Dupree is. On top of his elite athleticism, he has a great ability to set the edge against the run, the ability to drop back in coverage and play zone, and has ridiculous closing speed to lay out opposing QBs. Dupree does have his issues--below average instincts, lacking in ideal length (though made up for by his insane athleticism), and though he is a special athlete, he doesn’t have the relentless motor that Shane Ray has. Dupree is still very raw as a pass rusher, but his flexibility gives Quinn the option to run multiple fronts and move Dupree from DE to OLB and back at his whim. With Quinn as his coach, expect to see Dupree improve in his pass rushing moves and ability, and look for opposing QBs to dread facing this guy.

In a division that features Drew Brees, Cam Newton, and presumably Jameis Winston, Dupree’s versatility and explosive athleticism will give Atlanta the pass rush they so desperately need.

I love the rationale there at the end. Matt Ryan is in that second tier of NFL quarterbacks, but he's shown the ability to take over games and make players around him better. If Atlanta can get their defense to match their offense's potential, they should be good to go with Dan Quinn's defensive background.

Bud Dupree was recently selected by us at #16 in SB Nation's blogger mock draft, not to mention profiled by our very own Brett Kollmann. Needless to say that if the Falcons do take Dupree, the fierce rivalry between our two teams will only intensify.

Superb writeup by grandmasteroz. Coolbreeze3 is up next. Your pick is due by 7 PM CT tonight.

Player Drafted
1. Tampa Bay Buccaneers hlc1221 Jameis Winston QB FSU
2. Cleveland Browns (From Tennessee) Caprock High Football Leonard Williams DE/DT USC
3. Jacksonville Jaguars AFBuzz Vic Beasely OLB Clemson
4. Oakland Raiders HTown5 Amari Cooper WR Alabama
5. Washington Redskins BriceMcCainHOF Randy Gregory DE/LB Nebraska
6. New York Jets WotanTX Marcus Mariota QB Oregon
7. Chicago Bears DaJarBot Dante Fowler, Jr. OLB Florida
8. Atlanta Falcons grandmasteroz Alvin Dupree DE/OLB Kentucky
9. New York Giants Coolbreeze3
10. St. Louis Rams El Torito
11 Minnesota Vikings Puma028
12. Tennessee Titans (From Cleveland) Huggy The Bear
13. New Orleans Saints UTBawse23
14. Miami Dolphins Bleyd
15. San Francisco 49ers fredy05
16. Houston Texans BRB Masthead
17. San Diego Chargers traviscogg
18. Kansas City Chiefs Zach_The_Gamecock
19.Tennessee Titans (From Cleveland via Buffalo) Huggy The Bear
20. Philadelphia Eagles
21. Cincinnati Bengals Free Range
22. Pittsburgh Steelers bigralph
23. Detroit Lions BostonianToro
24. Arizona Cardinals bt20
25. Carolina Panthers TexanStro
26. Baltimore Ravens Three and Out
27. Dallas Cowboys Roll.Texans.Roll
28. Denver Broncos BNew417
29. Indianapolis Colts Schaubshank Redemption
30. Green Bay Packers FeedEmToTheWolves8099
31. New Orleans Saints (From Seattle) UTBawse23
32. New England Patriots MD.Texan


Pick Due By...
9. New York Giants Coolbreeze3 4/9 @7 p.m.
10. St. Louis Rams El Torito 4/10 @Noon
11 Minnesota Vikings Puma028 4/10 @7 p.m.
12. Tennessee Titans (From Cleveland) Huggy The Bear 4/11 @Noon
13. New Orleans Saints UTBawse23 4/11 @7 p.m.
14. Miami Dolphins Bleyd 4/12 @Noon
15. San Francisco 49ers fredy05 4/12 @7 p.m.
16. Houston Texans BRB Masthead 4/13 @Noon
17. San Diego Chargers traviscogg 4/13 @7 p.m.
18. Kansas City Chiefs Zach_The_Gamecock 4/14 @Noon
19.Tennessee Titans (From Cleveland via Buffalo) Huggy The Bear 4/14 @7 p.m.
20. Philadelphia Eagles 4/15 @Noon
21. Cincinnati Bengals Free Range 4/15 @7 p.m.
22. Pittsburgh Steelers bigralph 4/16 @Noon
23. Detroit Lions BostonianToro 4/16 @7 p.m.
24. Arizona Cardinals bt20 4/17 @Noon
25. Carolina Panthers TexanStro 4/17 @7 p.m.
26. Baltimore Ravens Three and Out 4/18 @Noon
27. Dallas Cowboys Roll.Texans.Roll 4/18 @7 p.m.
28. Denver Broncos BNew417 4/19 @Noon
29. Indianapolis Colts Schaubshank Redemption 4/19 @7 p.m.
30. Green Bay Packers FeedEmToTheWolves8099 4/20 @Noon
31. New Orleans Saints (From Seattle) UTBawse23 4/20 @7 p.m.
32. New England Patriots MD.Texan 4/21 @Noon