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NFL mock draft: Atlanta Falcons select Penei Sewell

With the fourth pick in the POD Community Mock, the Falcons select...

NCAA Football: Oregon Spring Game Troy Wayrynen-USA TODAY Sports

With three quarterbacks off the board in our Pride of Detroit Community Mock Draft, the Atlanta Falcons now hold the key to the rest of the draft. Will they draft Matt Ryan’s successor? Will they be the first to grab one of the elite pass catchers in this draft? Or will they throw the first wild card in this draft?

Whatever the Falcons decide to do, it will have a massive impact on the teams that follow, and that very much includes the Detroit Lions with the seventh overall pick. This year, commenter Workdontstop holds the fate of the Falcons as Atlanta’s interim general manager in our POD Community Mock. Before we get into the pick, here’s a look at the board thus far:

POD Community Mock Draft picks so far:

  1. Jacksonville Jaguars: Trevor Lawrence, QB, Clemson
  2. New York Jets: Zach Wilson, QB, BYU
  3. San Francisco 49ers: Trey Lance, QB, North Dakota

With the fourth pick in the POD Community Mock, the Atlanta Falcons have selected Oregon offensive tackle Penei Sewell.

Here’s Workdontstop with the explanation:

The Falcons 2020 season started like it finished, with a five game losing streak. This 4-12 team was a complete disaster. It led to the firing of head coach Dan Quinn and general manager Thomas Dimitroff. This franchise is dealing with its third consecutive losing season.

The offseason led to Alex Mack, Keanu Neal, Damontae Kazee not being to be re-signed and James Carpenter being released. Additionally, the Falcons restructured multiple contracts including Matt Ryan. Ryan is our QB until at least after 2023 season. He will be 36 at the beginning of season, but he still can throw the ball well and with the right play calling, he can lead this team back to the playoffs.

Even though Ohio State quarterback Justin Fields sitting in my face was enticing, it wasn’t the right time. Drafting a quarterback now and having him wait four years to see the field (barring any injury) is a complete waste of time and money.

Down to my selection.

My top draft needs were edge, defense and guard. We are in line to draft the best non-quarterback in the draft. Penei Sewell is not only the best player available, but he also fills a massive hole left at guard. In 2019, Sewell started 13 games and didn’t allow one sack in those games, and in nine of those games, he didn’t allow one pressure or hurry. He still needs to polish his game but I believe putting him at guard with help him tremendously.

Matt Ryan was in distress the entire season. He was sacked 41 times in 2020, and his 70 QB hits was highest among all NFL quarterbacks not named Russell Wilson. What solidified this pick was the tape of the Saints game when Ryan was sacked eight times. That game summed up our entire season and that was completely inexcusable.

Tight end Kyle Pitts, cornerback Patrick Surtain II, and linebacker Micah Parsons were other options I considered.

Erik Schlitt’s thoughts:

I agree with Workdontstop’s thoughts that Sewell might be the best non-quarterback in this class, but drafting him at No. 4 to play him at guard is not something I can get behind.

The Falcons have invested heavily in the offensive line in the past, have four of their five starting positions signed through 2022, and are all under 30 years old. They have used first-round picks on LT Jake Matthews (signed through 2023, PFF grade: 75.5), RT Kaleb McGary (signed through 2022, PFF: 64.3), and RG Chris Lindstrom (signed through 2022, PFF: 77.1), while using a third-round pick on C Matt Hennessy (2023, PFF: 47.7). Yes, there is a large question mark at LG, but as we saw last season here in Detroit, you can fill stater roles inside with Day 2 picks.

I don’t think you can rule out quarterback here, but as Workdontstop pointed out, Ryan’s restructure should keep him on the roster for at least two seasons (through 2022, in my opinion).

From a value standpoint, I believe the Falcons would be best served to grab an offensive skill player here, and they have their choice of the lot. They could add insurance for their former first-round picks at wide receiver as Calvin Ridley is in a contract year and Julio Jones is now over 32 years old. They could also go after Kyle Pitts at tight end and hope to bring back the offensive efficiency that they lost when Austin Hooper left.


What grade do you give this pick?

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