Atlanta Falcons Mock Draft buzz: Dallas Turner or Rome Odunze at No. 8 in the 2024 NFL Draft

Falcons are in a great position at No. 8.

Alabama's Dallas Turner
Alabama's Dallas Turner / Kevork Djansezian/GettyImages

The Atlanta Falcons have a new head coach, a new quarterback and have given their fandom a reason to get excited about the 2024 NFL season. 

With the hiring of Raheem Morris and jolting the start of NFL free agency with the signing of Kirk Cousins, the Falcons are showing the NFL that they are not a franchise playing around.

In addition to also adding receivers Darnell Mooney and Rondale Moore to an offense that already features second-year running back Bijan Robinson, tight end Kyle Pitts and top receiver Drake London, the Falcons hold the No. 8 overall pick in the 2024 NFL draft and have options.

The top option is adding talent defensively.  Led by Cousins, the Falcons will be able to score points, but if they can build a stingy defense with Morris leading the birds, watch out AFC South!

So, who will the Falcons select at No. 8?  Falcons GM Terry Fontenot will have great options to improve the team on either side of the ball.

CBS Sports Mock Draft has Falcons adding top edge rusher Dallas Turner

With the quarterback in place, CBS Sports’ Tom Fornelli has the Falcons adding to their defense with the selection of Alabama edge rusher Dallas Turner in his latest mock draft. 

What will Atlanta Falcons GM Terry Fontenot do in the 2024 NFL Draft?
Atlanta Falcons GM Terry Fontenot / Kevin C. Cox/GettyImages

The Falcons will probably receive calls to move back in the draft.  If it is a team like the Minnesota Vikings, Denver Broncos or even Las Vegas Raiders, the Falcons could still have a shot at Turner who is one of the top edge rushers entering the draft.

Fornelli writes:

“I could see a team looking to trade up for a QB here if this is how things fall, but instead of going that route I have the Falcons adding what they view as the top edge rusher in the class in Alabama's Dallas Turner. The addition of Turner and Atlanta's moves in free agency suddenly make the Falcons a team to be reckoned with in the NFC South.”

With all the talent the Falcons have on offense, adding the SEC co-defensive player of the year will give Morris a young, athletic defender to add to the mix.  Coming off a 10-sack season with Alabama in 2023, the 6-foot-3, 247-pound linebacker has drawn comparisons to Brian Burns and will add his own level of disruptiveness to the Falcons’ defense. 

Mel Kiper has Falcons taking the top pass rusher at No. 8

ESPN’s Mel Kiper Jr. also has the Falcons selecting Turner with the No. 8 overall pick, calling it a “paring that makes too much sense”. 

He writes:

“It’s a combo of biggest positional need and best available prospect, as Turner is No. 9 on my Big Board...Turner had 22.5 sacks over three college seasons, and he improved his pressure rates every season. He’s the clear No. 1 edge rusher in this class. New coach Raheem Morris would get the best out of him.”

Blogging Dirty 7-round mock has Falcons adding another playmaker

Like most teams selecting late in the top 10, there will be a chance to draft one of the top 3 wide receivers in the draft. 

As a best player available option, Blogging Dirty’s Scott Carasik has the Falcons adding offensively with the selection of Washington’s Rome Odunze who would give Falcons offensive coordinator Zac Robinson yet another weapon to work with in an offense led by Cousins.

Carasik writes:

“Adding Odunze to a group that includes London, new acquisitions Darnell Mooney, Rondale Moore, and Ray-Ray McCloud, and a re-signed KhaDarel Hodge would give the Falcons six-deep at wide receiver.”

The Falcons can’t go wrong with Odunze at this spot.  With the speed Robinson’s offense will have, adding a physical, big receiver like Odunze will make the offense multi-dimensional in their ability to be an explosive offense, but an offense that can also grind it out when needed.

NFL Mocks had the Falcons selecting J.J. McCarthy, but this was before the team signed Kirk Cousins.  In looking at the team’s needs, it is hard not to agree with the selection of Turner at No. 8.  Even if the team decides to trade back, other pass rush options who would thrive in the ATL is Florida State’s Jared Verse or ULCL’s Laiatu Latu.  A top cornerback option to watch for the Falcons is Toledo’s Quinyon Mitchell depending on how back in the draft they go if they do trade the No. 8 overall pick in the NFL draft.