Round 2, No. 44: Trenton Simpson, LB, Clemson
At the top of the second round, the Falcons go back to the defensive side of the ball, adding another athletic freak in Clemson linebacker Trenton Simpson. A true off-ball linebacker, Simpson is a mean run defender who uses his size and speed to stifle the opponent’s rush game. At the NFL Combine, Simpson ran a 4.43 40-yard dash, tied for the seventh-fastest time by a linebacker in the history of the event.
Simpson’s speed doesn’t just appear on a track, however, as the Clemson product dominated in college with his quickness and physicality. With 137 total tackles and nine sacks over his final two seasons in college, Simpson showed that he can perform well as a tackler over the middle of the defensive front seven.
In Atlanta, he would excel as an interior linebacker in the 3-4 defense, although he might have to put on a little bit of weight to be as effective as a run-stopper against larger and more physical opponents. Pass coverage will also need to improve at the next level, but Simpson is a great option for the Falcons in this mock draft, as he adds some size, speed, and athleticism to the defensive front to be better against the run in the future.
Round 3, No. 75: Jonathan Mingo, WR, Ole Miss
While this year’s draft class isn’t particularly deep at the wide receiver position, that doesn’t mean there aren’t any mid to late-round prospects who should have teams excited. Look no further than Ole Miss’s Jonathan Mingo to find a day-two receiver who could have a first-round impact early in his NFL career.
In college, Mingo did not have the type of production that screams NFL wide receiver, but after putting up 51 receptions, 861 yards, and five touchdowns in his final season, it is apparent that Mingo’s athleticism can translate to production on the field. At 6′ 2″ and 220 pounds, Mingo possesses a great combination of size, speed, and strength, clocking in a 4.46 40-yard dash and 22 reps on the bench press.
In the pros, Mingo projects as a tough, physical slot receiver, and would be a great pairing next to last year’s first-round pick Drake London. With Mack Hollins and Scotty Miller penciled in as starters, Mingo would have the opportunity to contribute early and often for a young Falcons offense. Atlanta uses the mock draft to add competition to their wide receiver room.