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2017 NFL mock draft: Atlanta Falcons select Budda Baker

The Super Bowl losers start anew with a play-making safety prospect.

Washington v Stanford Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images

The pain from the Super Bowl loss hasn’t likely left the Atlanta Falcons’ fans nor their players. But time heals all wounds. The Falcons hold the 31st pick in the NFL Draft and Pride Of Detroit commenter nrs001 will use that pick to help get the Falcons over the hump. With the pick, nrs001 has selected safety Budda Baker. Here is the reasoning for the pick:

“This was a difficult decision for me. If the Super Bowl lasted three quarters in length, the Atlanta Falcons would have a trophy and be selecting one pick later. The big debate amongst Falcons fans and pundits was what is the greater need: right guard or an edge rusher? This defensive heavy draft took away many options on my board like Taco Charlton, Haason Reddick, and T.J. Watt.

Prospects left that I considered included Tim Williams from Alabama and Charles Harris from Missouri. Williams has limited tape on him as a situational pass rusher. He has also admitted to failing drug tests at Alabama. Harris was slow off the ball in college and wasn't as productive when he switched schemes. I considered Tyus Bowser, but Falcons have Brooks Reed and Bowser will have a learning curve ahead of him.

So who did my decision come down to? I really wanted Forrest Lamp to fill the hole at guard. With Lamp off the board, I don't feel as if there is another guard worthy of this spot. So it came down to three guys: Caleb Brantley from Florida, John Ross from Washington and, of course, Budda Baker from Washington.

I liked Ross in the sense he could immediately fill the Devin Hester type role by returning kicks and playing receiver for this high-flying offense. He has had knee injuries that scared me a little, but boy is he quick.

Brantley is a monster in the middle. He has drawn comparisons to a poor man's Aaron Donald. He has been known to jump early and didn't have much production in terms of sacks, and the Falcons just signed Dontari Poe to a one-year deal.

This is why I went with Budda. Let's put it out there, he is undersized and "you can't teach size.” However, Budda is extremely explosive and has great speed. He is good at reading quarterbacks and has good ball skills. He doesn't often leave his coverage assignment. What really tipped the scales for me was his ability to go through receivers in an attempt to jar the ball loose. He played strong against Alabama and has drawn comparisons to Tyrann Mathieu. He will immediately compete with Ricardo Allen at the free safety spot, who has been described as serviceable. He will get lots of opportunities to prove himself in Dan Quinn's defense.”


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