We're back with pick No. 30 in the 2013 Niners Nation NFL mock draft. The 49ers pick will be next, coming up around 5 or 6 this afternoon. We'll wrap up the first round Friday morning, follow that up with a review of the whole round, and then get moving in to the second round.
The Atlanta Falcons are now on the clock, and their Niners Nation GM is socalisteph. With the thirtieth pick in the 2013 NFL Draft, the Falcons select Cornellius "Tank" Carradine, DE/OLB, Florida State.
Explanation: Atlanta puts priority on OL, but I find more need and value in their two glaring holes, i.e., CB and DE.
The Falcons lost Brent Grimes to free agency and Dunta Robinson was cut. It leaves Samuel (starter) and McClain (slot). CB is an immediate need for Atlanta and they will pick one up. However, at position 30, Dee Milliner and Xavier Rhodes are off the table. While I projected Trufant would still be open (an option now moot), he would not be the right piece for Atlanta. Atlanta runs mostly zone. There's a significant difference in skills needed to play CB in one system or the other. Robinson had difficulty adjusting and they are not likely to go down that road again. Sure Nolan likes man, but I am not privy to his game plan or priorities. By Atlanta's metric, Banks or Taylor has a better shot in its secondary.
Atlanta picked up the younger version of John Abraham, Osi Umenayiori, but he's not an every-down player. If they added a pass rusher to Umenyiori and Bierman, it would shut down a significant amount of plays. Tackling isn't what it used to be, because teams no longer practice and perfect good contact (out of fear players will get hurt during practice). Teams draft players with tackling skills before they enter the league.
For this reason, I love Tank Carradine, DE and Alex Okafor, DE. Textbook tacklers. Both have the ability to fit into Nolan's scheme, easily coached to key and diagnose quickly. More importantly, they possess the square ability to tackle. Carradine tore his ACL in November. Otherwise, he would've been a top-10 pick. He toys with OLs and has considerable explosion. His potential outweighs the risk. Carradine is recovering ahead of schedule and will return to 100% (per AP's PT). Okafor is gritty and could start immediately, but he has some trouble with bigger OLs. I read Lane Johnson stated Okafor was the "best pass-rusher" in college. Tough decision, but Tank Carradine is my pick for Atlanta. He has more value and huge potential.
Trevor Woods: Steph is correct that if "Tank" had not suffered an injury, he would be higher on the draft board. This is a position of need for the Falcons, and they also get a player who has a high ceiling. Carradine is a smart player with a high motor and a lot of strength behind it. A cornerback could be a choice here, possibly Jamar Taylor, or as Steph mentioned, Alex Okafor. Another position of need for the Falcons is inside linebacker, but no player would be worthy of getting here with Arthur Brown and Kevin Minter both off the board.
Nick Chiamardas: I think SoCalSteph just hit a home run. The Falcons have a real need at defensive end and are able to snag perhaps the best true 4-3 end in the draft. I had the pleasure of watching Tank Carradine play the last two years at Florida State. Tank tallied 11 sacks and 13 TFL in 2012 and was an absolute force opposite Bjoern Werner. He has a rare combination of size 6-4 276lbs), speed (4.75 - prior to knee injury), and strength (32 reps at FSU pro day) and really gets after the quarterback. Perhaps even more impressive to scouts has been Carradine's work ethic post-ACL surgery. The surgery was performed by the famous Dr. James Andrews and Carradine has been rehabbing the knee three times a day for five days a week since. In fact, he's expected to have a full workout later this month (4/20) just five months after injury.
Niners Nation Mock Draft, Round 1
- Kansas City Chiefs -- Star Lotulelei, DT, Utah [Explanation]
- Jacksonville Jaguars -- Geno Smith, QB, West Virginia [Explanation]
- Oakland Raiders -- Dion Jordan, DE, Oregon [Explanation]
- Philadelphia Eagles -- Luke Joeckel, OT, Texas A&M [Explanation]
- Detroit Lions -- Eric Fisher, OT, Central Michigan [Explanation]
- Cleveland Browns -- Dee Milliner, CB, Alabama [Explanation]
- Arizona Cardinals -- Kenny Vaccaro, S, Texas [Explanation]
- Buffalo Bills -- Ezekiel Ansah, DE, BYU [Explanation]
- New York Jets -- Chance Warmack, OG, Alabama [Explanation]
- Tennessee Titans -- Sharrif Floyd, DT, Florida [Explanation]
- San Diego Chargers -- Lane Johnson, OT, Oklahoma [Explanation]
- Miami Dolphins -- Jonathan Cooper, OG, North Carolina [Explanation]
- Tampa Bay Buccaneers -- Xavier Rhodes, CB, Florida State [Explanation]
- Carolina Panthers -- Cordarrelle Patterson, WR, Tennessee [Explanation]
- New Orleans Saints -- Barkevious Mingo, DE/OLB, LSU [Explanation]
- St. Louis Rams -- Sheldon Richardson, DT, Missouri [Explanation]
- Pittsburgh Steelers -- Jarvis Jones, OLB, Georgia [Explanation]
- Dallas Cowboys -- D.J. Fluker, OT, Alabama [Explanation]
- New York Giants -- Alec Ogletree, ILB, Georgia [Explanation]
- Chicago Bears -- Tavon Austin, WR, West Virginia [Explanation]
- Cincinnati Bengals -- Arthur Brown, ILB, Kansas State [Explanation]
- St. Louis Rams -- DeAndre Hopkins, WR, Clemson [Explanation]
- Minnesota Vikings -- Keenan Allen, WR, Cal [Explanation]
- Indianapolis Colts -- Datone Jones, DE, UCLA [Explanation]
- Minnesota Vikings -- Desmond Trufant, CB, Washington [Explanation]
- Green Bay Packers -- Damontre Moore, DE/OLB [Explanation]
- Houston Texans -- Justin Hunter, WR, Tennessee [Explanation]
- Denver Broncos -- Bjoern Werner, DE, Florida State [Explanation]
- New England Patriots -- Margus Hunt, DE, Southern Methodist [Explanation]
- Atlanta Falcons -- Tank Carradine, DE/OLB, Florida State