2013 NFL Draft: 5 Players the Atlanta Falcons Could Select With First Round Pick
5 Possible Atlanta Falcons First Round Picks
The Atlanta Falcons have a first round pick for the first since 2011 when they picked Julio Jones (pictured above), and they will need to be prudent with this pick as they are slated to pick 30th overall. With several defensive needs and a couple of possible offensive holes to plug, the choices seem to be wide open for the Falcons.
Atlanta will probably be more focused on defense with their first round pick, and it wouldn't surprise many to see them trade up for one of the premier defensive players in this year's draft.
With the loss of two cornerbacks--Dunta Robinson (released), Brent Grimes (free agent)--the secondary may be a primary target for a first round pick. With a very deep class at cornerback, and a better than average class at safety, it would be hard for the Falcons to make a bad pick in either direction.
There are also issues to be addressed on the defensive line at both the tackle and end positions, and with the direction the league has taken on offense as of late, a team can never have too many good linebackers.
Atlanta also has to consider how to fill the spot at center that had been occupied for 14 seasons by Todd McClure, who announced his retirement during the offseason.
With so many different positions in need of some attention, it would be hard to argue with any of the following players as a first round pick for Atlanta, and all of them could potentially be immediate starters and impact players for the Falcons.
#5: Barrett Jones, Center - Alabama
The last time the Falcons had a first round pick, they picked a guy from Alabama named Jones in 2011. That seems to have worked out pretty well so far, so picking Barrett Jones this year could continue that trend.
Jones is listed as the No.2 center in the country by many draft experts, and has certainly shown his worth in his time with the Crimson Tide, having played all four offensive line positions and winning the Outland Trophy in 2011 as a left tackle, and then the Rimington Award as the nation's top center in 2012.
The Falcons do have Peter Konz, who was their first pick last season, and spent most of the 2012 year playing at right guard. Adding Jones to the offensive line mix would create competition at several positions, and it could end up with either Jones or Konz taking the bulk of the snaps at center.
Jones is a longshot for the Falcons to take at the 30th pick however, as he's looked at as a potential second round pick, and is still wearing a boot from a foot injury he suffered at the end of last season. He'll rely on game tapes and his interviews to convince teams of his value.
#4: Damontre Moore, Defensive End - Texas A&M
It's no secret that one of the things Atlanta plans to focus on this season is generating a better pass rush. John Abraham was released and Osi Umenyiora was brought on. Atlanta still has a couple of young DE prospects, but that's not to say that if the right guy fell in their lap they wouldn't take him.
Damontre Moore is the end most likely to fall around the 30th pick, and the Texas A&M standout was no slouch at all. Having backed up NFL star Von Miller, and then stepping into the starting role in 2011, Moore has had plenty of experience against both Big 12 and SEC offenses.
Moore had a career year for the Aggies in 2012, earning first-team All-SEC honors while being the team leader in tackles (80), sacks (12.5), tackles for loss (20.0), quarterback hurries (8) and blocked kicks (2).
#3: Sheldon Richardson, Defensive Tackle - Missouri
Sheldon Richardson probably wont fall as low as the 30th pick, as right now he is predicted to go around 15, but with moves and trades in the first round, anything is possible. If Richardson should fall, the Falcons would be remiss not to take him.
Some Falcons fans who also happen to be UGA fans might remember Richardson's "old man football" comments when referring to the style of play in the SEC. While he was proven wrong in his assessment of college football's best conference, he certainly didn't do anything to hurt his own draft status in 2012.
Richardson set a number of career highs at Missouri last season, including 75 tackles, 10.5 tackles for loss and 4.0 sacks, as well as three forced fumbles, a blocked kick and a 60-yard fumble return.
This is one of the players that the Falcons could make a trade up to grab, as a space-eater who can be as disruptive on the defensive line as Richardson is exactly what Atlanta needs.
#2: Alec Ogletree, Outside Linebacker - Georgia
The Falcons could actually luck into one of the best players in this year's draft class. Alec Ogletree had been looked at as a potential Top-10 pick until his arrest during the offseason for DUI.
With all the focus on alcohol and drug related problems from last season, any blip on the radar such as a DUI arrest can cause a team to think twice before picking a draft prospect. Ogletree had been suspended at Georgia once before for a violation of team rules, so there is a bit of a cloud over his head.
Beyond that, Ogletree is one of the top athletes in the 2013 draft class. He began at UGA as a strong safety, and excelled there until the team asked him to convert to the outside linebacker slot.
He's not quite the pass rusher that his teammate Jarvis Jones is, but Ogletree's combination of incredible closing speed and freakish strength make him one of the top linebackers in this year's draft.
Ogletree is a must-grab for the Falcons if he falls to number 30, and a good prospect for trading up maybe 10 slots to grab if Atlanta chooses to go that route.
#1: Desmond Trufant, Cornerback - Washington
Cornerback is a position the Falcons are going to look hard at during the draft, and it wouldn't be a surprise to see them even trade up to a Top-10 pick to grab a Dee Milliner or Xavier Rhodes. But if the Falcons choose to remain patient, then Desmond Trufant would be the next best defensive back available.
Trufant has already met with the Falcons brass at the Flowery Branch facility, and several mock drafts have him being the one Atlanta has pegged on their big board.
The 5'11 corner was a four-year starter at Washington, and holds a prime NFL pedigree, as his two older brothers--Marcus Trufant (Seattle Seahawks) and Isaiah Trufant (New York Jets)--are currently playing in the league. Some draft experts say that Desmond may be the best athlete of the three brothers.
During his junior year, Trufant tallied two interceptions along with 16 passes defended, but saw a decline in his senior year stats only because teams had a tendency to stay away from his side of the field.
The Falcons need an impact corner who can step in and learn on the go, and Trufant, with his fluid footwork and body control, could be just that man.